I’ve got a new treebook to offer the world: Seas of Ernathe, my first novel and the beginning and the end of the Star Rigger universe to date. The beginning, because it’s the first novel I wrote in that world (or any other world), and the end because it’s set farthest in the future in the chronology of starship rigging. That might seem a little odd, but so it goes with story writing. I actually created star rigging in a short story, “Alien Persuasion,” which later became the starting point of my second novel, Star Rigger’s Way, published in Galaxy in 1974, I think it was. That came before I’d even considered attempting a novel.
Seas of Ernathe came about because of an odd opportunity for a new writer—I wrote it because of a rejection letter for a completely unrelated story. I’d been submitting short stories to a number of markets for years, including to the late Terry Carr, editor of a prestigious anthology series called Universe. He’d been responding with encouraging rejection notes. In this case, he sent back a story called “Love Rogo” (later published in the triad Future Love, edited by Roger Elwood). In his note, he said the story wasn’t right for the book he was doing, though he liked it, and would I be interested in possibly writing a novel—with an advance up front, if I could send him a sufficiently interesting outline and three sample chapters?
Would I? I dropped into my chair in front of my Olympia portable typewriter and started pounding… well, not so much the keys as my forehead. Novel. Novel. What could I write a novel about? I had recently sold “Alien Persuasion” to Galaxy, and starship rigging was in my head. Well… well… what if… well… what if they lost the ability to rig ships? Who knows how or why? It would have to be much farther in the future, maybe because of some breakdown in galactic civilization. I didn’t know. But I just started, eventually, to type. And what I typed was Seas of Ernathe. (That’s a silent “e” on the end, by the way. It’s pronounced Ernath.) And this story told us, not how they lost the art of rigging, but how they made a start at getting it back.
Well, now you can read it! On paper! And not in the cheesy-looking Laser Books edition, which was its first publication. In fact, it now has gorgeous cover art by Chris Howard, who also did my Starstream edition covers for The Infinite Sea, The Reefs of Time, and Crucible of Time. Okay, it’s the same art that’s been on the ebook for a while, and in fact provides the backdrop for my website. But it’s gorgeous, nonetheless, and you can hold it in your hands. The type layout is by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff.
Right now, it’s available at Amazon. Soon it will be available elsewhere, as well.
My goal is to get all of the Star Rigger books back into treebook print in time to make a complete Star Rigger set available for holiday gift giving. Wish me luck!