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The secret is out

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Last year I blogged about a sequel I wrote to my favorite book by my favorite author. He never "exactly" wrote sequels, never did for his earlier work, and he died in 1988.

I'd always wanted a sequel to a few of his books written in the 50s, particularly "Citizen of the Galaxy".

So, last spring, for my own benefit, I had some time and wrote that sequel. A member of the Board of The Heinlein Society agreed to read it, and responded that I "must" pursue publication. He thought it was that good.

For my own benefit, I "stole" some cover art and made a draft on Amazon so I could print a copy for my own library. What I didn't know is that Amazon will publish those draft pages, damn them!

So I'm reading the "Heinlein Forum" Facebook page a few days ago, and here is someone who has seen the draft page on Amazon and is wondering how they can read my sequel! I have to find out that other people can see my draft out in the open by reading that someone else has seen it. Surprise, surprise! Grrrrrrr.

So I've spent a few days answering questions on the subject in that Facebook thread, and since it's now out in the open ... by the abominable act of Amazon showing something they shouldn't show ... I suppose there's no reason to keep it under my hat any longer.

Here's the gist of it. Robert Heinlein is a several time winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards, and his nickname is "The Dean of Science Fiction". I wrote a sequel on a whim, because I wanted more of the story and that was the only way I would ever get it. It amounts to fanfic (85K words of fanfic LOL). I asked a prominent member of The Heinlein Society if he'd be interested in checking it out. He did, and gave me pretty much a rave review.

"Who'd a'thunk it?" I sure didn't. You simply don't follow up a writer like Robert Heinlein and have a big time Heinlein guy tell you it's so good you should "Go for it". Heinlein fans are a tough crowd. I know that, because I am one and I'm hard to satisfy. I mean, if I can never publish it, that makes a writing career worthwhile.

More information came out in that Facebook thread. The Board member asked me if I'd mind if he shared it with others. No duh ... sure! LOL A couple of people I didn't even know had read it showed up in the thread to support my book.

I'm stuck in purgatory. Heinlein fans who have seen the book "in Beta" seem to enjoy it, and I can't get the Heinlein Prize Trust, who owns the IP, to even answer an email. LOL But if that's as far as it goes, that's OK. I got my sequel, I've had appreciative feedback from other Heinlein fans, and I learned a LOT while writing that book. I can smile either way.

* BTW, if there are any Heinlein fans reading this who'd like an "unofficial beta read" of the sequel, PM me with an email address. It's legitimate for me to make it available to beta readers to ascertain opinion on if it's worth continuing to pursue a license, so let me know if you'd like to see it.

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  1. PiP's Avatar
    Life is full of surprises, vranger! Your sequel must be very well written to get tha approval of so many fans on FB. FB groups are hard to please at the best of times ... Let's hope the Heinlein Prize Trust eventually answers your email!
  2. vranger's Avatar
    I suppose it's the old diametric of confidence versus humility.

    If you're normally a duffer on the golf course, and you go out and shoot par one day, you know you hit that sweet spot. You don't have to wonder about it, you counted the strokes.

    An author doesn't get such a definitive immediate gauge of performance. Normally we write something and wring our hands until we start to get approval. I've got to admit I thought I was hitting the sweet spot paragraph by paragraph. If I didn't think the book would measure up, I'd have never asked a Board Member to read it. Not much satisfaction in spending weeks diving into beloved material just to have someone reply how far it descends into the realm of crap. LOL

    There has been the suggestion for me to change the character names, "scrubbing off the serial numbers", and publish it. It's not a suggestion I approve of. I replied that if I can't get in the front door, you won't catch me trying to sneak in the back.

    I mention that to explain the comment of one gentleman I didn't know had access to the manuscript:

    It was however the sequel we have all wanted, and I would buy a paper copy with the names changed and a wink to Heinlein fans per John's suggestion. I would be happy to write a great review under any title without any suggestion of a sequel to CotG.

    For a guy who's always managed to publish "under the radar", it's hard to know what to do with reactions like that. LOL
    Updated March 30th, 2021 at 09:43 AM by vranger
  3. Gumby's Avatar
    What a wonderful surprise for you! Sounds like you wrote it simply for the love of the story and people who crave for that story to go on have found some hope in your work. Nice.
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