Sliding Doors SF

Jo Zebedee

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#1
Years ago, Bowler1 was the first to suggest I should have told Abendau from Kerra's perspective rather than Kare's - and he hasn't been the last to suggest that. Anyhow, this morning I was musing more on this and wondered what would happen if she had been the person in Kare's position (the survivor of a set of twins with a specific gene set).

I wondered about writing a sister piece with her as the antagonist, but set in the same world and against the same political backdrop as Kare's story was.

Would that be interesting, do you think? Or just plain daft?
 

SilentRoamer

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#2
Orson Scott Card did something similar with Enders Game / Enders Shadow where Enders shadow was a retelling from the point of view of a different character.

I think it worked really well, there were a few inconsistencies but overall I think each novel benefited from the other.
 

Jo Zebedee

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#3
Orson Scott Card did something similar with Enders Game / Enders Shadow where Enders shadow was a retelling from the point of view of a different character.

I think it worked really well, there were a few inconsistencies but overall I think each novel benefited from the other.
I liked that too. This is slightly different: he was telling a story that went to the same place from a different point of view.

Here I’m telling one that starts at the same place but goes somewhere different. Kare won’t exist: Karia will instead. So I expect most of the Abendau series to diverge almost completely...
 

Brian G Turner

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#4
So I expect most of the Abendau series to diverge almost completely...
If you really must revisit an existing story from a different angle, why not give it its own setting and characters? That way you can be more ambitious and break free of any limitations from the original story.

The better read fans may realize you are holding a mirror to your original story, and the lesser read fans won't be able to complain of continuity problems. :)

I'm sure the universe is big enough... :)
 

night_wrtr

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#5
I haven't read your story, Jo - yet, but I do like the idea in theory. If it goes a different direction, I would say go for it. However, one of the things that put me off from Peter Brett's Demon Cycle was the feeling of already established events being retold from another character.
 

Jo Zebedee

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#6
If you really must revisit an existing story from a different angle, why not give it its own setting and characters? That way you can be more ambitious and break free of any limitations from the original story.

The better read fans may realize you are holding a mirror to your original story, and the lesser read fans won't be able to complain of continuity problems. :)

I'm sure the universe is big enough... :)
I could do - and have a few ideas for doing so. But I like the experimental nature of this and the questions it raises.
I haven't read your story, Jo - yet, but I do like the idea in theory. If it goes a different direction, I would say go for it. However, one of the things that put me off from Peter Brett's Demon Cycle was the feeling of already established events being retold from another character.
I don’t think that will be a danger - I expect the stories to diverge quickly and significantly.

Partly I like this because history is made up of people and they affect events. I’d like to explore how events would change based on differing approaches .
 

Phyrebrat

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#7
I'm speaking from my gut here (hence the bubbling:) ) as I've stillllllll not read your stuff but I think it's a great idea, Jo.

Not only would it be interesting, but I imagine it would be so helpful to you as an author, just exploring all those nebulous little changes that might occur à la Chinese Whispers. I started writing a weird fiction short a few years ago about a bus crash that was reported from the POV of 3 passengers, the driver and 2 pedestrians. It was a real eye-opener and I could see this kind of exercise being of substantial use in workshopping.

(also it'll be nice for me when I finally get round to reading A, W&W & IC to not have to wait ;) )

pH
 

tinkerdan

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#8
If I catch your reference it seems the movie was about how decisions might shape the way a persons life took shape.

What you are proposing sounds more like how would the shape of a persons life affect their decisions. And since you mean to divorce it mostly from your other work it really sounds like an intriguing notion. It might in fact be an examination of both sides.
How decision shapes destiny and how destiny shapes decision. And where you draw the line and how that might affect the character's agency.
 
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#9
Having books that look like the same series with the same characters but completely different continuities sounds like a difficult sell for a writer that is still gaining steam. I would think it would require a dramatic device within the story that comes up often enough to keep the divergence clear to the reader and very different titling and cover format so fans can see the connection but folks who have read other books aren't tripped up.

It might work to have Kerra dream Kare's life from the original story, remarking to herself on her absence from it. But there should also be an event of great import to Kerra that causes the divergence in the first place - some sort of "psionic storm" or something that breaks reality, kills young Kare and causes a shift in Kerra's personality.

Mainly, I see a marketing problem.
 

Jo Zebedee

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#10
I'm speaking from my gut here (hence the bubbling:) ) as I've stillllllll not read your stuff but I think it's a great idea, Jo.

Not only would it be interesting, but I imagine it would be so helpful to you as an author, just exploring all those nebulous little changes that might occur à la Chinese Whispers. I started writing a weird fiction short a few years ago about a bus crash that was reported from the POV of 3 passengers, the driver and 2 pedestrians. It was a real eye-opener and I could see this kind of exercise being of substantial use in workshopping.

(also it'll be nice for me when I finally get round to reading A, W&W & IC to not have to wait ;) )

pH
I'll write it nice and slowly :D (I think, tbh, Abendau is not up your street. But I think you'd dig the quiet horror in Waters.)

If I catch your reference it seems the movie was about how decisions might shape the way a persons life took shape.

What you are proposing sounds more like how would the shape of a persons life affect their decisions. And since you mean to divorce it mostly from your other work it really sounds like an intriguing notion. It might in fact be an examination of both sides.
How decision shapes destiny and how destiny shapes decision. And where you draw the line and how that might affect the character's agency.
Yes - they will have the same destiny since that's part of the original trilogy; that the remaining twin has the destiny to fulfill. But how would differ and agency would be completely different.

Having books that look like the same series with the same characters but completely different continuities sounds like a difficult sell for a writer that is still gaining steam. I would think it would require a dramatic device within the story that comes up often enough to keep the divergence clear to the reader and very different titling and cover format so fans can see the connection but folks who have read other books aren't tripped up.

It might work to have Kerra dream Kare's life from the original story, remarking to herself on her absence from it. But there should also be an event of great import to Kerra that causes the divergence in the first place - some sort of "psionic storm" or something that breaks reality, kills young Kare and causes a shift in Kerra's personality.

Mainly, I see a marketing problem.
All good points but I think, for sure, she'd be real and Kare would be dead. They'd have to be seen and marketed as, essentially, two different story arcs.

My writing life is basically one big marketing problem. :D
 

AlexH

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#11
I haven't read the original, but I'm a fan of trying different things, so I'm all for this sort of thing. As I'm generally a reader of short stories rather than novels, it'd make me more likely to read both rather than none of them. If they were short stories I'd read them anyway!
 
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#14
All good points but I think, for sure, she'd be real and Kare would be dead
I meant that she would be real, but was just suggesting some textual signifiers that reinforces for the casual reader that this is definitely in a different reality. And that's just because I think you could have a problem with less-than-superfans remaining unaware that these stories are related but incompatible, and you don't want message boards full of "Wait a minute, I read that book. That character isn't dead. Makes no sense, author sucks and I'm done."

I guess I'm thinking of how the Hamilton Dreaming Void stuff is handled.

My father and I like to read the same books, but his ability to keep the rules of different series straight is more normal than people like us that are likely to have a more slavish devotion and would know whether Against a Dark Background is a Culture book or isn't. You want to do the Kelvin reboot thing, but you don't have a Star Trek fanbase to do the work of keeping it all straight.
 
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#15
I have read 2 of the Abendau trilogy and I'm not sure. This is an entirely gut reaction to the idea of messing with the story. As a writer I think it would be an interesting exercise but I'm not sure I would want to read it as a reader.

When I tried something similar with Mayhem (I wrote a series of short stories online) I know the reaction I got wasn't positive from readers.

But then with anything writing related it is possible you can pull it off and it will be the best move you ever made. Why not write a handful of chapters and ask a beta reader or two to read it and for comments?
 

Jo Zebedee

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#16
I have read 2 of the Abendau trilogy and I'm not sure. This is an entirely gut reaction to the idea of messing with the story. As a writer I think it would be an interesting exercise but I'm not sure I would want to read it as a reader.

When I tried something similar with Mayhem (I wrote a series of short stories online) I know the reaction I got wasn't positive from readers.

But then with anything writing related it is possible you can pull it off and it will be the best move you ever made. Why not write a handful of chapters and ask a beta reader or two to read it and for comments?
Yeah, there is that. It might be a lovely idea that I can't nail. I have a few of those in the old do-not-ever-open trunk. :D
 

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#17
I'm personally not a fan of series which throws away pervious works in an attempt to retell the story. Plus if you write other stories in the Abendau universe people might become confused as to which version of that universe it takes place.

As a writer it's hard to put the genie back in the box once an idea has raised its head. If your muse is leading you down this avenue then it's worth exploring.
 

Dan Jones

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#19
Well, as someone who read all the books and enjoyed them, I think it's an intriguing idea, and I also think you'd be able to pull it off well. I do wonder how much the story would be different though, as in: the central premise to the plot would be the same, the principal characters would (largely) be the same, unless Kerra's life went on a wildly different tangent. Difficult to see that happening given Kare was taken under the wing of the Ranger types (sorry, I've forgotten some of the world terminology) with the hive mind - why would that not happen if the story deviates at the precise moment of Kerra's / Kare's death? Rather than a "Sliding Doors" story it could be more of a "multiverse" story, so rather than change one particular detail, the changing of that one detail sparks off a whole chain reaction.

It'd be very difficult to perform the balancing act of creating a world and story that is sufficiently similar to Abendau that the gimmick works, but not so similar that it's a rehash of the same story of orphan being hunted by the Empress, to the same end, which would look brazenly cynical.

Having books that look like the same series with the same characters but completely different continuities sounds like a difficult sell for a writer that is still gaining steam. I would think it would require a dramatic device within the story that comes up often enough to keep the divergence clear to the reader and very different titling and cover format so fans can see the connection but folks who have read other books aren't tripped up.
I also agree with this, especially the first sentence; if I'm being totally honest, if I were you I'd be pushing for new stories, new worlds, new ideas. But I'm not you, so feel free to call me an eejit and crack on ;) - if nothing else it'll be very interesting.
 

The Big Peat

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#20
I have no bloody idea. I've thought about this on and off and still find myself less on the fence and more in some giant sinkhole that has removed all concept of the fence and surrounding terrain. I don't know if I'm interested in this story, whether as a fan I'd rather see something completely new or whether this would be super cool. As a writer, I don't know whether it'd be a good idea - except most ideas are neither good nor bad, merely seen through with passion or not.

So... would you see this one through to the end? Does it stir the passions like your other ideas?

My writing life is basically one big marketing problem. :D
Once you accept that's going to be the case whatever you write, you might as well write whatever the hell you like.
 

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