So, the wait is over. I heard back from the fine folks at Angry Robot about my submission for their Open Door. The response is that Cities of Light just isn’t ready for prime time yet.

Upon reflection, I can see why. There’s just something that’s too standard about it. Even changing the names and natures of the races that emerge in the middle of the narrative, it still boils down to a hero’s journey through a fantasy land with elves and dwarves in it. I still think the themes of xenophobia, propaganda, and the potential of the individual to overcome both can be explored quite well in this genre, but a shift in focus and setting may be required. I do have some ideas for a rewrite that could make it more interesting, less generic, and worth the time to read, but I don’t want to keep circling back to the same idea all the time.

So Cities of Light goes on the very back burner. The back back burner if you will. On the back burner ahead of it is Captain Pendragon and the Planet of Doom. I have most of my characters nailed down and the outline has taken shape. I plan on beginning to write this thing within a week, because I still think it’s been a while since a new raygun gothic story and setting have come along to offset all the gritty realism that has seeped into sci-fi. Don’t misunderstand, I love the aesthetic of Blade Runner and Firefly and the new Battlestar Galactica, but I love the look, feel, and energy of Flash Gordon and John Carter just as much. And I think it’s entirely possible to tackle big ideas and themes while having whiz-bang zapping fun.

With those back burners filled, you may be wondering, what’s on the front burner? That would be Cold Iron. I’ve retained the services of a graphic designer for the cover, and feedback on the test read continues to be positive. In the meantime, I want to look into what Amazon, B&N, and other vendors do to their offerings in terms of DRM and other shenanigans. I don’t want to saddle anybody interested in my work with stuff they don’t want. As a consumer, my experience with Amazon has been overwhelmingly positive so far, but what I don’t know could be bad for potential readers.