Despite being a Star Wars fan since I was 10 years old, I have no intention of seeing Rise of Skywalker. Nope, sorry not sorry.
I was initially beguiled by The Force Awakens, only to realize that it was a nonsensical rip-off of A New Hope. Willing to give the franchise another chance, I was burned by The Last Jedi, a movie so cynical, so shitty, it inspired a scathing, book-length takedown by award-winning sci-fi master John C. Wright.
TLJ is so bad, it makes Attack of the Clones look like Casablanca. In fairness to AotC, at least it had this scene going for it:
Walking away from Star Wars—the series that inspired me to write science fiction—feels like disowning a parent or divorcing a spouse you’ve spent most of your life with. But when a relationship turns hopelessly toxic, it’s time to move on.
Instead of going to see Rise, I’ll be working on my next book, Stray Cats, a spinoff to my 2014 end-of-the-world novel Lost Dogs. Ever since Dogs came out, people have told me, “You should do a sequel, with cats.” But every time someone suggested that, all I could think of was this:
That is, until recently.
Stray Cats will feature Pimmi, a black cat who appears in Lost Dogs (Buddy the German Shepherd saves her from being eaten by another dog), and in my latest novel, This Wasted Land (where she cuddles up with Our Feisty Teenage Heroine, Alyx).
Stray Cats will consist of nine interconnected narratives: one based on Lost Dogs, one based on TWL, plus seven more. It’s going to have many new characters (including the fellow below) and many new settings, so that’s why I call it a “spin-off” of LD instead of a “sequel.”
It will be lighter in tone: LD and TWL are heavy, dark, and sometimes downright grim. Stray Cats will be much more of a fun adventure, a thrill ride with a feline friend.
(BTW, have you checked out the TWL Playlist for some kickass hard rock songs, and what they have to do with the story?)
Lest long-time readers worry that Stray Cats will go all Disney on them, fret not: there will be perils, scary moments, and some of the off-the-chain weirdness that my previous novels have exhibited. Have I mentioned that one of the inspirations for Stray Cats is the 1981 cult classic film Heavy Metal? No? How neglectful of me.
Another change from my previous books is that I intend to write Stray Cats very quickly. Dragontamer’s Daughters, my first published novel, took about 7 years to write, and longer to edit, publish, re-edit, and re-publish. Lost Dogs took three years, and This Wasted Land took about four, counting revisions I’ve done since initially releasing it in November 2018.
I’m tired of angsting about and dicking around with my books: I’m 53 and not getting any younger, and there are a lot of stories I want to tell. I used to write very quickly (I wrote a 200+ page novel in the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school), and I think I can train myself to do that again.
My goal is to get Stray Cats written, edited, and published by December 1, 2020. I can’t wait for you to meet Pimmi and Pharaoh; the super-heroine Alley Kat; the Space Sepoy Sabeer Ansari and his young squire Sudra; and two young men nicknamed The Scorpion and The Wolf.
Now, iffn you’ll excuse me, I need to go herd some cats….
Kenton Kilgore writes killer SF/F for young adults and adults who are still young. In his latest novel, This Wasted Land, high-school senior Alyx Williams learns that witches are real when one attacks her and her boyfriend Sam, dragging him off to a nightmare world where Alyx must go to get him back.
Kenton is the author of Lost Dogs, the story of the end of the world as seen, heard–and smelled–by a dog. He also wrote Dragontamer’s Daughters, like Little House on the Prairie…with dragons! With Patrick Eibel, he created Our Wild Place, a children’s book about the joy to be found in exploring Nature. Kenton also published Hand-Selling Books to help authors better their sales.
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