Old Man's Blog

Origin of Book 2 of Old Men and Infidels

The first two books of the Old Men and Infidels book series were initially a single story arc and (demonstrating my naivete) a short story, at that. The story grew past short, past novella, past novel and past a Dunesque Sci-Fi novel in a little over six months. In October of 2013, I faced the inevitable and while working in rural Michigan and living in a call-room at the hospital, I bisected the story. The first half, enlarged and improved, follows Malila from naive minion of the Unity to disillusioned rebel. Without divulging any spoilers, in book 2, Malila returns to the outlands and reconnects with Jesse.

How to identify Outland Exile’s genre has been a persistent problem for me. The current batch of dystopian novels are fairly predictable: young heroine battles against repressive forces of a society not of her making and gains victory only after confronting her worst fears. Sadly, Outland Exile can be lumped into this trope as well. I hope to rejuvenate the trope a bit. As many of you know, the basic “variable” that I manipulated in book one was age. In one country the young protagonist is viewed as middle aged, while in the other as an adolescent. The old man is inconceivable in one nation and the “new norm” in the other. What are the consequences of each society’s choice? Malila’s journey from artificially “old” to “young” to “old” and her choices thereafter, constitutes the story for book one. Her journey back to becoming “young” again constitute book 2.

My conceit for the series is to have major characters in the spotlight for primarily two books before retirement. It only seems fair. Characters should grow and experience a personal epiphany as part of the story arc. Most of us experience nary one epiphany in our lives. To call a character back into harness repeatedly, asking them to become enlightened in one direction and then another strains credulity and my poor skills of imagination. Thus Jesse and Malila will be leaving the stage (except for cameos, I presume) at the end of book 2. Those of you that have read Outland Exile will, no doubt, already have divined who is going to graduate from minor to major character in book 2. She will meet an American Rupert and his mucoid minion, Frog. She and her Rupert will be the MC of book 3, still in the outline phase.