A couple years ago, my friend Kelly Sedinger — better known in these parts as “Jaquandor” — decided it was time to stop thinking about that novel he wanted to write and get busy actually writing the thing. So he did, in a display of dedication I can’t help but find enviable, given my own ineffectiveness in such matters. He assigned the project a tongue-in-cheek (but actually quite appropriate) working title, Princesses In SPACE!!!, and he documented the whole process of writing, editing, and shopping the manuscript around to agents and publishers on his blog, Byzantium’s Shores. And then he wrote a sequel. And now he’s in the planning stages for a third volume, with some thoughts on extending his trilogy into an entire series. And he’s also got a couple of unrelated book-length projects in the works. Go, Kelly.
I was privileged to be asked to read drafts of the first two Princesses books, and I enjoyed them immensely. They’re rollicking space-opera adventures whose trappings echo many of the landmark movies and stories we genre fans of, shall we say, a certain age grew up with: vast galactic empires, fallen civilizations, ancient mysteries, an unknown world to explore, and at the center of it all, two young girls beginning to discover abilities they didn’t know they had and a heritage they couldn’t have imagined. Kelly very deliberately planned this story to be an antidote to the anti-heroic, downbeat tone that has had popular culture in a headlock for the past decade or so, which I call “grim ‘n’ gritty” and he has dubbed (rather more colorfully) “the grimdark”; in other words, the Princesses saga is old-fashioned fun, with noble (if flawed) heroes who want to do the right thing, even when it’s not always so clear what that is. It’s a story that makes you feel better about people rather than worse.
After much exploration of his options, Kelly’s decided to go the independent route and self-publish his saga. To wit, he’s set up an official author website (ForgottenStars.net) that is separate from his regular blog, and he’s releasing tidbits of information about the first book, building toward its actual release on November 12. The site went live yesterday, with a post about the difficulties of naming one’s creation and a clever book trailer that reveals, at long last, the actual title of both the series and the first individual volume. (I’ve known the real title for several weeks… but I have to admit, it will always be Princesses In SPACE!!! to me. Hope you don’t mind, Kelly!)
It’s an exciting time for him. He’s betting that the monstrous box-office success of Guardians of the Galaxy this summer might signal that the time is right for more lighthearted (but not necessarily lightweight) sci-fi storytelling, and I hope he’s correct, both because I’d like to see more of the sort of stories I actually like, but also because it would be great to see a friend of mine be in the right place at the right time and succeed in a major way. (And also, if I may toot my own horn a little, to know that I had some small part in making it happen, since I was one of his beta readers!)
If any of this has piqued your interest at all, why don’t you hop over to ForgottenStars.net right now and take a look around. And for your convenient reference, here’s a schedule of what materials he’s planning to release and when: