I haven’t settled down on which novel I will write next, but one strong contender is the sequel to Dyson’s Angel. I ended Dyson’s Angel on cliffhanger after finally gathering all of my characters together into one place. I actually worry a little that some readers might be disappointed in the structure of the novel, as I intentionally structured it to be closer to a television mini-series event than a single monolithic novel. I pictured somewhere around 6 episodes, each focusing on an aspect of Zau/Heraxo, Moira, and their growing crew of oddball characters, culminating in the majority of the crew being assembled and ready to take on the first major mystery of the series.
The purpose of this post is to help me sort through my thoughts on the sequel to Dyson’s Angel. If you haven’t read the first novel yet, you should probably head over to Amazon and purchase (or rent for free!) a copy before reading on. There will definitely be spoilers in the remainder of this post.
So, with one final spoiler warning, let’s dig in to…
Where We Stand
Dyson’s Angel closed on a cliffhanger. The final words of the novel are Zau/Heraxo unanimously saying, “We fear we have made a terrible mistake” after utilizing their jump drive to penetrate the defenses of the Spire.
That was a risk. I already ended Burning in the Void on what some readers perceived as a cliffhanger and have never written a sequel, so I didn’t want to repeat myself. The difference is that Burning in the Void was intended to be a standalone novel with a shattering, painful end which left the story open for potential sequels, but was a fully self contained story. Dyson’s Angel is intended to be the first book in a series of at least four.
Moira spent much of Dyson’s Angel building relationships with other characters. She had nearly accepted her loss of Zau and was well on her way to developing a working relationship with the hybrid Zau/Heraxo personality, but with Estha offering her access to a parthenogenesis device old wounds are reopening. She cannot go back to Covington for a while, despite the lucrative contracts available there. Abrigeist is likely unsafe as well, given that a citizen of that zone has used her to transfer a significant mass of unregulated midges to multiple zones. She also owes the Takni Gothren a big favor. The armies of New Libertalia will be after her after the destruction of Seth Ascendant.
The unstable personality matrix known as Zau/Heraxo is still broken, but after experiencing the trauma of the failed jump and meeting the various other intellects at the Takni Gothren temple, the ship has a strong urge to fix itself. The presence of the extrusion is even more of a wrinkle in Zau/Heraxo’s plans, providing them with a companion which is both more powerful and more mysterious than themselves.
After failing to gain entry into the Spire, Dyson is undergoing something of a personality crisis. He is used to being the smartest person in the room, if not the zone, and now he has had to depend upon Zau/Heraxo to gain access to the Spire. Them there’s the matter of his mother arriving as a swarm of unregulated midges. While Dyson and his mother have not had anything like a healthy relationship in years, he never imagined that she had been replaced by a hostile intelligence… if that’s even what happened.
Having spent its entire existence shepherding Dyson from one project to another, Gamayun has mixed emotions towards Moira and her companions. It is grateful to them for breaking Dyson out of his Spire obsession, but concerned about what their long game might be. For now, he’s going to be carefully watching over his charge.
Now fully born and capable of communicating with the other residents of the ship, the extrusion is faced with the crisis of what to do with itself. The extrusion has already helped Zau/Heraxo calculate how to manage its power on a difficult jump. It is capable of “reading” the minds of everyone on the ship.
You thought I’d forgotten about him, didn’t you? After breaking out of prison, the leader of the Azi Zoo will return.
After successfully manipulating Moira into delivering the midges to Dyson’s lab, Evangeline’s uploaded mind has coopted all of the midge swarms in Zone Spira. What is her plan? Why couldn’t she send the payload directly to Zone Spira if this was her plan all along? That’s a matter for the next book…
I’m working on the outline now and have a pretty good sense that this book will be even better than the first. There will be a lot more twists this time, some explanation for the (intentional) loose ends of the previous novel, as well as a few events which may put the entire Shell in danger.