All Things Begin And All Have An End
The title is a quote from To Guard Against the Dark; endings being on my mind, it seemed apropos to have my characters ponder them as well.
Let me hasten to add this is a good thing. A wonderful thing, in fact, yet we have an itch about endings, don’t we? A—worry. Unlike a story’s beginning and midst, where possibilities multiply and we can imagine joy ahead or tragedy, our hearts racing with suspense and hope that anything could happen, but who knows? Till the end, when we do. The story’s done and whatever happened, we can’t rewind it to try again. (Well, yes, we can, but the original author’s intention will stick in your head, trust me.)
You can see all this in the stunning cover artist Matt Stawicki created for the book, revealed here for the first time.
It’s perfect. Ominous and uncharted, the way the future looks to us during dark times. Those who’ve read The Gate to Futures Past will be nodding because I left the characters in the darkest of places, without hope at all.
Really? This is me, folks. I run on hope. I believe in effort and ultimate triumph, in the good inside us—and the oft-accidental mutual self-interest of certain aliens in groups—and I insist, I truly do, that my endings leave you with… possibilities. Hope.
To Guard Against the Dark is the ending of this nine-book, three trilogy series, make no mistake. Every page is climax and denouement, the resolution of assorted vast and intricate perils along with the solving of smaller puzzles. It’s also a romp, revisiting favourite moments and characters of mine–yours too–from the earlier books. Huido’s back. And the Drapsk. And… you’ll see.
There’s quite a bit to cover. After all, I’ve spent two decades (plus) on the story of Sira and Morgan, the Clan and the Trade Pact. Why? No particular reason, though in hindsight, I may have been lingering in the middle, entranced by possibility. For that time and more, they’ve been part of my life. Even when writing (egad!) nine very different other books, I’d drift back and ponder Sira and Morgan’s adventures before falling asleep at night. Make notes during the day, as fun bits occurred to me. You see, I’ve known how their story ends—if not the detailed nuts and bolts—for fifteen years. Loved what I knew, by the way. Loved that speculative leap from my underlying “what if?” of an intelligent species’ reproductive behavior being manipulated to enhance a vital inherited trait, to the point that could doom them all. Big concept, filled with—possibilities.
(Really loved writing about the Trade Pact, aliens, starships, and that blue-eyed captain. No hiding that at all. Ah, Morgan.)
Loved writing Sira from the inside, first person, to share how a character with such potent power could achieve a new perspective: inspired by others to change; to be a leader; to value friendship, tolerance, and yes, love itself. We meet her as intimates within her reality, sharing self-doubt, grief, longings, and significant struggles with starship plumbing. Through the eyes of others, especially Morgan, we meet the Sira who personifies the struggle of her kind. She’s larger than life, compassionate and brave, the nexus around which the future—the end—will form.
Hard to let go.
Not, I’d remind myself, if I did it the right way. Wrote to an ending worthy of the characters and the readers who’d been with them from the start. A Thousand Words for Stranger, my first novel, was the first SF read for a goodly number of people who’ve told me so, people still reading SF and my work. All things begin…
And all have an end. Not, please no, my writing. By the time this is posted I’ll be starting my vacation with that dear little blob, Esen—I mean hard at work on my next biology-based SF, Search Image. Yes. Work. (winks) There’s more to come, from Night’s Edge and toads, to totally new worlds and stories.
Not ready, quite yet.
I’m writing this post the morning after typing “The End” to Guard, finished what I had to say about Sira, Morgan, and the gang. I did cry during the final hour of typing. Sobbed, I freely admit. As I’d hoped—and planned–they were tears of joy because of the story.
What I hadn’t expected were the tears from knowing this was THE end.
How familiar, how real, those tears felt.
Then, I knew. Like many of my colleagues and friends, I’m at the point in life where parents, aunts, and uncles are slipping away, the people there at my beginning and, being fortunate, through the middle of my story too. I’m getting better at endings. I care about them, not only as a storyteller, but because I’m living them. We all are.
We all will.
Making it a special opportunity, to begin something larger than you are, to enjoy the middle thoroughly, then, above all, to finish what you started.
Then, well, put the bow on top and hold it out as a gift. What else?
I’ve always loved a thumping good ending to a story. Here’s my gift of one, to you.
And, because the future should hold possibilities, even the last page? DAW Books and I offer those readers who’d like to write their own adventures in my Trade Pact universe the chance to be in my anthology The Clan Chronicles: Tales from Plexis. Have at it! Details on the website and open to all, www.plexis.czerneda.com.
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