What a mess. Don’t get me wrong, I love this new book. And a lot of the feedback I’ve been getting from beta readers is largely positive. Except for the one who didn’t like the sex scenes. Or the one who thinks there’s too much cussing. Or all of them who are lost because they don’t have the entire Vinestead Anthology completely memorized. That’s why I don’t write sequels. And yet, I think I did this time. And that’s a problem.
I used to think that setting all of my books in the same universe would make things easier. Readers would come into a new book with all the backstory and timeline firmly set in their mind. It didn’t occur to me that Brigham Plaza would be a reader’s first introduction to the Vinestead Universe.
The numbers came shooting out of the darkness as code scrolled by in his periphery. He thought back to a night twenty years prior when he’d sat in a Greyhound terminus in Austin with a code cube and shivered as he dumped six months of memories and accumulated code. All of his subroutines, all of his new powers, gone. It was a small price to pay to be rid of the memories of Natalie.
Okay, that’s a lie. It totally occurred to me. I just didn’t realize how hard it would be to summarize the events of past books in the first few chapters of a new story. And though it would solve all of my problems just to put some notes at the front, that feels like cheating. I’m totally going to do that, but I won’t feel good about it.
Brigham Plaza takes place in 2019 (Vinestead Timeline), twenty years after the events in Xronixle and three years after the events in Perion Synthetics. It brings together characters from both of those books and joins them with a new set of hackers who will end up playing a pivotal role in the events leading up to Hybrid Mechanics.
It all fits together. If only you could see it as clearly as I do.
Kaili had gone to Perion City with the goal of driving Perion Synthetics into an all-out war with Vinestead International, but somewhere along the way, she had lost sight of the bigger picture, of a hacker landscape undergoing a massive cultural shift. The caricature of an overweight script kiddie trying to hack an ATM from his mother’s basement had been relegated to history. The previously passive and physically unimpressive hackers were now augmenting themselves with cheap Vietnamese tech bought in the black markets of cities like Margate, Umbra, and Lakon.
Thankfully, I’m not worried about any of this backstory business right now. That’s not the point of the Draft 1 revision. What is the point? To rewrite the book and insert hints about the twists and turns at the end of the book at the beginning of the book so it all pays off and makes me look like I knew what I was doing the entire time.
Well, that and some continuity upkeep. It’s basically a smoothing process, filling in some cracks to make everything flow a little better. Once this draft is done, the real, real work will begin.
There will be tears. Maybe some gentle sobbing.
It will be worth it in the end, though. There’s some great new stuff in this book, a lot of references to the old days only a few people will get and appreciate. And really, narrow-casting to two readers is what cyberpunk noveling is all about, right?
Shane Whitbook, Tanzy remembered, was the Sysop of I.C.E. BBS and went by the handle Savage online. He had a reputation across most of the boards as a real tight-ass who ruled I.C.E. with an iron fist. Most people who signed up for his BBS were kicked and banned within a couple weeks for violating some obscure rule. Some didn’t even make it a day.