Having just been killed in a mysterious shuttle explosion, Gethin Bryce is back to uncover what happened. An unusually gifted investigator with the InterPlanetary Council, Gethin is tasked with seeking out the truth behind unexplained anomalies that lie outside IPC control.
His investigation takes him from the luxurious enclaves of Earth’s elite, to the battered Wastelands beyond civilization’s protective thrall. Linking up with an inquiry team from a planet-spanning corporate powerhouse, he also befriends a grim and reluctant outlander who has an important piece of the puzzle—evidence of a sadistic entity which threatens not just civilization, but all life...
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About the Author
The author of the historical fantasy series Rahotep, Trent is also a Baen Fantasy Adventure Award finalist and Writers of the Future winner. His nonfiction works have also appeared in Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Humanist, and UTNE.
Combining a fascination for history with a unique vision of the future, Trent’s novel Ten Thousand Thunders is the beginning of an exciting new science fiction universe.
Trent lives in New England, where he works as a novelist, screenwriter, and poet. His website and blog are located at www.briantrent.com.
Baen Fantasy Award Finalist
Writers of the Future Winner
Apex Magazine Story of the Year Winner
What is the book about?
TEN THOUSAND THUNDERS tells the story of a future directly threatened by its past, when humanity has achieved astounding technological prowess while forgotten threats fester in the shadows. A tremendous amount of my professionally published short fiction is set at various points along this future timeline: TEN THOUSAND THUNDERS is where it all begins. It’s the story of humanity’s odyssey from a shattered world into the galaxy.
What are the underlying themes?
TEN THOUSAND THUNDERS is an examination of human society and potential through the filter of future history. In the past, we’ve seen civilizations like the Roman Republic or Hellenistic Greece which, while advanced in so many cultural areas, were nonetheless capable of astounding savagery and inhumanity. We see the same paradoxes even today.
Where can we find other examples of your work?
My short fiction appears in the world’s top science fiction markets and anthologies: Analog, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and more. My website contains a comprehensive list and available links.
How do you go about building a future history?
There are enough monochromatic futures; I wanted to depict a future of bright colors and visceral paradoxes. Differing from the grimy noir of cyberpunk (which I do love), I’m trying something different here: a future world somewhere between utopia and dystopia. I took a lot of my visual cues from ancient Greece and Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Is there any advice you can give someone starting to write?
You’ll often hear people say, “Never give up!” But without a strategy and a methodical dedication to the craft, that advice is useless. It’s about learning from the masters of the genre, seeing how the greats do it, and then experimenting with one’s own voice and direction. It’s about learning the industry and how to work within it. It’s about reading and researching, growing and evolving.
Why science fiction?
Science fiction is the exploration into an exquisitely unknown country. What I love about the genre is that its speculations tend to based in the probable: the “science” part is an essential part of the definition and scope. The genre serves the dual purposes of lighting hopeful beacons into the future, as well as sounding the warning bells that we might consider heeding on that same journey. It’s about possibility, and so much of it comes back to H. G. Wells (the pessimist) and Jules Verne (the optimist). Technological possibility is just one of many paths; there are social and cultural elements as well. And the good news is that there’s so much great science fiction being written today! The genre is evolving as it always has, pushing into new areas and pathways, building off of the latest discoveries and theories. It’s a spectacular industry to be a part of it, filled with wonderful people and exquisite works.
Where did you write?
I write whenever an idea, an observation, a snippet of dialog, or a character occurs to me; a notebook is never far from my grasp! The vast majority of my writing is done in my home office, however, where I dive straight into composition without initial outlines. Having said that, I develop pages and pages of backstory, so that I know the full cultural, technological, political, and historical details of the worlds I write about. A lot of that detail never directly makes it into the final product, but it still sort of seeps in, as if by osmosis, and lends (what I hope) is a sense of reality. World-building is one of the great joys of writing for me. My office is crammed with books and notes, dossiers on fictional characters, and futuristic timelines.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I do a tremendous amount of reading, chiefly nonfiction, in the areas of history and technology. I’m interested in why things happen and how things work. I do a fair amount of traveling and love to know the details and background of old cities, their architecture and artwork. I counterbalance my writing with ample time outdoors hiking, kayaking, skiing, and spelunking. I like meeting and interacting with people, visiting museums and galleries, attending lectures of experts in various fields. Mostly, I love learning about the world I live in, and wondering how that world will change.
Did you find it hard to write? Or harder to edit your own work?
I know enough writers to have come to understand that I’m in the rarity when it comes to my feelings on editing: I love it. I look at editing in sculptural terms: the polishing of the work until the rough edges are smoothed away. Editing is an integral part of the creative process. Getting things down on the page is only the beginning.
The hardest part of writing is beginning a story. Staring at the glacial whiteness of an unwritten page can be discouraging. For that reason I usually save the beginnings for later composition; I write as scenes occur to me, and then methodically set the gears into place, constructing the layers of plot and winding it up into the overall narrative.
How do stories occur to you?
Sometimes it can start with a question, like, “What will the future of social media be?” or “How will X technology affect our day-to-day lives?” for me, though, it’s usually a setting that forms the entry point into a story. My short fiction has been set on floating colonies on Venus to the canyons of Mars to a hollowed-out asteroid. For TEN THOUSAND THUNDERS, it was a single image: a man who has just been killed is opening his eyes again, back from the dead… and it’s just part of the new normal. Plagues that wiped out millions of people can today be cured with a pill; what happens when death is just a minor inconvenience? What kind of society and worldview grows from a reality like that?
What are you writing now?
I’m hard at work on the second volume in the TEN THOUSAND THUNDERS series, which moves the story of humanity’s expansion to Mars and the Asteroid Belt. I’m also working on the next book in my RAHOTEP historical fantasy series.