I fully realize and take complete responsibility for the fact that afterterra.com has been dormant for the latter quarter of 2019. It has been dormant as a blog and as a hub for everything to do with my flagship science fiction series. I could point to a number of reasons that played into this, such as participating in NaNoWriMo, or my haphazard personal life, or in prioritizing my next novel over publishing anything on this here site. At the end of the day, these things are excuses. If I had the passion to update my site, I would have found the time and found a way.
Does that mean I don’t care about this site? Not at all. Do you stop loving a family member or stop caring about a friend if you lose touch for weeks or even months? No. Daily life has a way of pulling you away from remembering such priorities, especially if you have to work to survive. For some of us, the escape from reality’s crushing pressures becomes its own full time job, a way to recover and regenerate from the demands of an arbitrary “real” existence. The energy needed to maintain “real” life and the energy needed to recover from living it leaves precious little for the things we really want to do.
That leads one to make a choice. You can either piss and moan and blame reality, society, other people, whatever, for this dilemma, or you can face yourself and understand that perhaps a reshuffling of energies and priorities is in order. “You either believe in yourself or you don’t,” as James T. Kirk once said. This idea can extend further into whatever endeavor it is you are striving to achieve. True, the world is full of shit. Society has more ills than I can properly cover in a single blog, and there is some legitimate blame to go around as to why so many of us toil and slave away and never get to make a living doing what we want to do instead of what we have to do. But you can only ride the blame train for so long before you have to take responsibility for your own actions, or inactions. When I was at one of my lowest points in all of life and had become disillusioned with almost everything—to the point where I became supremely vulnerable to she who in retrospect was the biggest abuser I’ve ever encountered—I eagerly blamed my job, society, my country, even my family for my woes. I never asked to be born into this miserable world, I never asked to be a citizen of a country that is destroying itself piece by piece. But I can acknowledge that these things are beyond my control, and say, “look, this is the hand I’ve been dealt. Others have done more with less.” Because they believed in themselves, and in what they were doing, and they refused to allow life’s mundane bullshit to stop them from achieving their goals.
What do I believe in with After Terra? I believe that I can give you, a science fiction audience (or alternatively an audience that loves character-driven adventures), something you have been craving for a long time: a spiritual successor, the next torchbearer for Star Trek, Star Wars, Farscape, Firefly, et cetera. I’m writing for those of you, like me, who don’t believe for a second that science fiction is a dead genre, but merely one that has been lacking a touchstone for a generation or longer, one that is waiting for a watershed in the 21st century. I’m writing for those who are sick of rehashes, remakes, who are tired of the supposed leaders of modern creative media flushing good storytelling down the toilet in favor of lens flares, shoddy writing, mysteries that go nowhere, explosions, and weird camera work.
Some have advised me that when I have been low, I should focus on writing for myself. Well, I can write for myself until I am green in the face. It doesn’t matter when I have something that I am writing for an audience, and not an audience of one. So I have stumbled, I have made a lot of screw ups. Unlike some authors, I choose not to hide these things in an attempt to appear austere. Don’t let anyone delude you otherwise; there is no magical curtain between authors and non-authors. We aren’t any different from you, fundamentally, except perhaps for an excessive capacity for enduring criticism, rejection, judgment, ridicule, and disappointment. In other words, we’re masochists. So, I know I am going to make more mistakes down the line. Some of you out there, whether because you have a legitimate reason to not like what I do or because you’re a troll, aren’t going to contribute anything positive to the journey. Maybe you’ll be a nice person that I can agree to disagree with, or maybe you’ll be a fucking asshole. I can’t control that. But if I can create a living, breathing universe for you fellow sci-fi lovers to get lost in and enjoy, one that isn’t going to stab you in the face like some other promising franchises have, then it’s all worth it.