(Mock up model of The Intruder from my cover artist Adam Kopala - can't wait to see the finished version.)
Just sent off "The Stars Betrayed" for its second line edit, and so have a little time to spend on other things. So I thought I'd talk a little bit about the ship.
First, though the ship - The Intruder - is important to the story, this is not a simple "man in a battleship goes off to have adventures" space opera. The ship is just a vehicle (pun intended!) for the story. Rather this is a story of lies and betrayal - betrayal at every level. (Though I will not explain that any further since it might spoil the story by giving away some plot elements.) It's about why people will betray others including the ones they love. What will push them to do something almost unthinkable. And what sorts of betrayals can be forgiven. But also it asks the question, is their a longer term price to be paid?
It's also a story about Nietzsche's supermen. As some of you may know I am not a fan of Nietzsche, and I regard his supermen as people akin to sociopaths. People with no moral compass other than what they decide for themselves to be right and wrong, good and evil. That is not in my view a good thing. And when you give such people power, it can become a very bad thing indeed. When you give them ultimate power through say genetic engineering, it can be a nightmare.
Nietzsche himself saw his ubersmench as heroic figures in the ancient Greek tradition. Almost godlike and unbowed. He saw them as a vision of what men should be. He did not seem to accept that men have the impulses of both angels and demons in them. That yes we can be wonderful, true and loving. But we can also be monsters. And when psychologists tell us that one to three percent of our society have sociopathic tendencies, the monster within has to be recognised.
The Stars Betrayed grew out of these disparate ideas and also one further one - that some betrayals, even the most terrible can be forgiven. For example the father desperate to save both his drowning children who can only save one. He has to sacrifice / betray one to save the other, or else lose both.
Yes that can be forgiven. It can be understood even. But the cost of such a decision would be soul destroying for the father. And the question hardly ever asked is what would the sacrificed child think of his father's betrayal? Could he forgive him? Could he understand? Or is it a betrayal too great?
I hope that this book will make readers think about these same issues - as well as hopefully be entertained!