Late last year I signed a contract with Tor Books (through agent Bob Diforio and Tor editor Jim Frenkel) for a science-fiction trilogy based on my long-running S'hudonni Mercantile Empire stories that have appeared (mostly) in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. These stories focus on a benevolent, but worrisomely powerful, S'hudonni prince who comes to Earth to open up our planet for trade with the other planets in the mercantile group. This is Earth a decade forward from now and the newest mass-medium is the sweep, a technology that allows the journalist to wear an apparatus that sends streaming messages through embedded receptors in his brain. At the receiving end, the audience members wear receivers that allow them to seem to be completely inside the brain and body of that sending journalist, so it feels like they are the ones asking the questions of the famous athlete, or the top politician, or the current top celebrity actor. One of the first journos to get equipped with this new technology is an ex-pro basketball player who is trying to construct a career after injuries end his playing days. It turns out he's very good at it, not only doing interviews but allowing the audience into his private life, as well, including his relationships with a series of attractive women who have learned that he is the avenue to global publicity.
When S'hudon comes to Earth our journalist is hired to be the promotional voice of these new visitors. The pay he receives is more than money; it's a series of incredible gifts from Earth's new masters. It all seems great, but over time our journalist begins to ask himself if he's selling out his friends, his country, his world, for the enormous gifts that S'hudon can offer. There are great wonders and amazing things given by S'hudon to certain people on Earth. But is the price too high?
I turned the novel in recently and it's now in the editing process. I'll keep you updated on when you might get to see it in stores. And while it's going through these editing steps I'll be starting on the second book in the trilogy, which has to do with life in a very, very different place.