Survival Colony 9
by Joshua David Bellin
Publication date: September 23rd 2014
by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: Science Fiction
In a future world of dust and ruin, fourteen-year-old Querry Genn struggles to recover the lost memory that might save the human race.
Querry is a member of Survival Colony Nine, one of the small, roving groups of people who outlived the wars and environmental catastrophes that destroyed the old world. The commander of Survival Colony Nine is his father, Laman Genn, who runs the camp with an iron will. He has to–because heat, dust, and starvation aren’t the only threats in this ruined world.
There are also the Skaldi.
Monsters with the ability to infect and mimic human hosts, the Skaldi appeared on the planet shortly after the wars of destruction. No one knows where they came from or what they are. But if they’re not stopped, it might mean the end of humanity.
Six months ago, Querry had an encounter with the Skaldi–and now he can’t remember anything that happened before then. If he can recall his past, he might be able to find the key to defeat the Skaldi.
If he can’t, he’s their next victim.
World-building is at the heart of science fiction. A sure sign of a sci-fi stinker is shoddy, inconsistent, or implausible world-building. Even more than in fantasy—where the imagined world needs to be credible but not feasible—science fiction relies on worlds that might actually exist, if not today then tomorrow.
I’m pleased with the world I created in my debut novel, Survival Colony 9. It’s a war-ravaged desert world populated by small, nomadic groups of people—the survival colonies—stalked by a life form that mysteriously appeared on the planet at wars’ end: the Skaldi, monsters with the ability to consume and mimic human hosts. It’s a stark, haunting world where most of today’s technology has been lost, along with people’s memory of the time before. Working closely with my editor, I crafted a world I think readers will find memorable.
And then I decided to write a sequel. And the whole process started all over again.
If you think about successful sci-fi series, the world-building doesn’t stop with Book One. Instead, the author leads readers into an increasingly rich, complex, and surprising world—the same world, often (though not always), but a world that holds mysteries the characters, along with the readers, barely glimpsed in previous books. Think about Katniss discovering District 13 in the Hunger Games trilogy, or Thomas and his friends traveling across the Scorch in the second book of the Maze Runner series. The world has to open up, to reveal more of itself, as the story progresses. If it doesn’t, if no new territory is covered (or uncovered), why keep reading?
So it was back to the drawing-board for my sequel, Scavenger of Souls (and for the third book in the series, which I’ve begun drafting). I had to revisit the world I created, to ask myself: what aspects of that world remain hidden? What happened in Survival Colony 9 that was only partially explained by the characters’ knowledge of the world, and that might be more fully explained once they know their world more fully? What further obstacles does the world hold, even—or especially—obstacles produced by the triumphs of Book One?
I’m just as happy with Scavenger of Souls as I am with Survival Colony 9. I think the world of my second book will surprise and delight readers of my first. But I’ve learned that world-building can be even more challenging in Book Two than in Book One. It’s tricky to create a new world—and even trickier to create a new world that’s a logical extension of the old.
But that’s the way it has to be. The world you’ve built has got to build.
~About the Author~
I’ve been writing novels since I was eight years old (though admittedly, the first few were very, very short). I taught college for twenty years, wrote a bunch of books for college students, then decided to return to writing fiction. SURVIVAL COLONY NINE is my first novel, but the sequel’s already in the works!
I love to read (mostly YA fantasy and science fiction), watch movies (again, mostly fantasy and sci-fi), and spend time in Nature (mostly catching frogs and toads). I’m the world’s worst singer, but I play a pretty mean air guitar. I also like to draw, and you can check out some of my artwork on my website.
Oh, yeah, and I like monsters. Really scary monsters.
Joshua’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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