The TranzCon Series

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I got the idea for the story more than a decade ago, but in those days I was working either full-time or close to full-time so there were months, or even years when it just sat on the back-burner waiting for the TLC that was only available on the rainiest days of winter. Gradually I cut back on work, and the less I worked, the more I wrote. Eventually I self-published what I now know is just the first book of the series.  It’s title in those days was “TranzCon”. I circulated it to friends, acquaintances and a number of sci-fi book clubs (and there were even a few sales of the Kindle e-book version) but it never got anywhere. And that’s a shame because the majority of people who read it said how good it was, and some are anxiously awaiting the next book.

I got a lot of useful feedback though and I learned from it. The main points were:

I got a lot of useful feedback though and I learned from it. The main points were:

  •  At 226,000 words the book was too long
  1.  The main part of the story took too long getting going
  •  There were too many subsidiary threads
  •  There were too many people

Some readers said they disliked the way the threads of the story were interleaved, but when I suggested to them that the alternative would be to create 100 pages of chronologically correct and informative guff they had to read before they were allowed to start the “main story” they did at least think about it even if they didn’t actually change their minds. An amusing point is that one of the “praise points” awarded to Ancillary Justice (by Ann Leckie) is for the way the separate threads of the story are interleaved (I knew all along I was doing something right).

So, there was scope for improvement. In the autumn of 2014 I felt inspired and just two weeks later I’d completed a major re-write to produce something very close to the version of the book I’ve published today.  I chopped out some of the subsidiary threads, took out quite a few of the people, and jumped into the action much sooner.  A useful spin-off was a reduction in length to 170,000 words.

It only remained to throw in a different title and a striking new cover, and that’s Female 22.  I hope you like it.