January has been an important month for setting up the relaunch of the Warpmancer Series. I have been gauging interest, talking to other writers, and most importantly, rewriting and editing Fall of Zona Nox.
This update serves as touching base for new, old, and unconverted fans of Warpmancer alike. I hope it intrigues and interests all as I discuss the status of the rewrites, my thoughts on the series.
What is Warpmancer?
If you’ve stumbled onto this blog post and have no idea what I’m talking about, then an explanation may be in order.
Warpmancer was and will be a space opera series set in the far future. Its closest comparisons would be Warhammer 40k, due to its gritty nature and stress on rule of cool, Star Wars due to the scale and breadth of its universe, and Firefly for those good Western sci-fi vibes.
Here’s a blurb for the entire series and universe:
“It is the 36th century of the old Terran Calendar and humanity is spread across the stars. For many Earth is an obscure legend. A dead world, only of interest to ancient historians.
The humanity of the future is mainly concerned with galactic warfare with myriads of alien empires, the discovery of ancient mysteries and the taming of the enigmatic warp energy that infuses all things.
In this future is there a space for humanity among the stars and will we be able to fight for it?”
It was also the first series I ever wrote. And at the time, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. In 2018, I decided to re-write the first book into three. This somewhat worked out, but there were still many things I was doing wrong.
But despite all the problems with the series, there was a great story and world hidden underneath. So, I am persevering to not only rewrite the series again, but also finish it and conclude this epic storyline.
Re-Writing my First Book
Re-writing the first book I ever wrote, again, is an odd process. It is simultaneously agonising and rewarding. Like beating up my childhood while also fulfilling it.
I already re-wrote the book once, in 2018, but this was before I began writing the Kat Drummond Series, which I felt truly skyrocketed my writing and storytelling abilities.
Already in the re-write (72% done!), I am spotting ways of drastically improving the writing, characterisation, and the overall quality of the work. Not to mention the formatting! I really didn’t know what I was doing in 2018. Readers who put up with me then will always have my undying appreciation.
One of the biggest changes I’m making to the book is the removal of passive voice as much as possible. The passive voice created a stilted, almost analytical tone in what was meant to be an action packed sci-fi.
By removing this passivity and replacing it with a faster-paced, succinct writing style, I believe the story will be far easier and more enjoyable to read.
While I cringe at a lot of the things I wrote, I also do often find a passage that I think really shines. Something that really makes me proud to be a writer. Those remain unchanged, as they drip with an essential Warpmancerness that old fans will have come to expect from the series.
Visualising the 36th Century
When I was stumbling through writing and publishing in 2018, I took a lot of bad advice. A lot of it was from readers who didn’t really have the true interests of the series and me at heart. None of these readers were real fans. But rather wannabe writers who wanted to imprint their own visions of the future into my work.
When I first started Warpmancer, I always had a clear idea of a few aspects of its aesthetics. I wanted it to be gritty. To be lived in and stained with thousands of years of violence. And I wanted it to be cool.
For me, the sleek, utilitarian and shiny aesthetic of modern sci-fi was not what I envisioned. I wanted bullets, and WW1 style gasmasks. But a few reviewers mocked this as unrealistic. They wanted laser guns and teleportation. Tesla-style sportscars in space. Not the hulking battleships I envisioned.
Foolishly, I embraced these demands, and the book suffered as a result. It eliminated the uniqueness of the series and made it more cookie-cutter and generic. And most importantly, it wasn’t what I wanted.
With this relaunch, I now understand that this is my vision – shared by readers who truly love the story. As such, I have re-visualised the aesthetics of the series. Much of this is mentioned and implied in the series – but most of it exists inside my mind and hopefully the mind of the reader as they envision my 36th Century.
In the vein of Warhammer 40k, I’m rejecting a clean future, and embracing a gritty aesthetic that aims on looking cool rather than realistic. While not as superbly over the top as 40k, I want an aesthetic that combines historical elements into something awesome and unique.
The main aesthetic choices I’ve gone for is that of World War-era weaponry and ships to influence the design of the weapons and ships of my universe. Particularly that of the Troopers.
These are distinctive and often beautifully deadly looking weapons and ships – and like how Star Wars transformed old guns into blasters, I want to modernise the design of these guns into hypothetical futuristic alternatives.
Ship combat in the books has always embraced a rule-of-cool rather than playing lip service to realism. Broadsides, ramming, and boarding is par for the course for Warpmancer ship battles. As such, my vision for the ships of Warpmancer are a combination of World War style battleships, but with the broadside cannonades of the Napoleon War.
And, of course, I’m re-embracing the aesthetic that started this series in the first place. Troopers wear gas-masks, wear a gritty red and black, and would be equally as home in a trench as they are being dropped from orbit in a combat pod.
Of course, these aesthetic choices are, when not mentioned in the books, a choice for the reader. They’re my vision for what the series will look like in my mind. But no one is required to follow this.
This series is yours as well as mine. And I want you to tell me how you envision the Warpmancer Universe. Let me know in the comments!