Shadows of Our Fathers Update

Shadows-of-our-fathers_4AWe’re in the home stretch on Shadows of Our Fathers. I have received a cover from Damonza that I absolutely love. Damonza has been an absolute delight to work with. Anytime I have asked for changes, they have delivered, and I am not the easiest person to please. I really do appreciate the three covers they have done.

I plan to do another readthrough of Shadows of Our Fathers this weekend, after the Nebulas, and see if there is anything I can see that needs to be tightened up before release. As with The Goblin Rebellion, there is a lull in the action at the beginning where the plot is being setup for the book. After the devastation of The Goblin Rebellion, I think readers need this kind of lull and rebuild. But I could be wrong. If you’d like to be involved in the final beta reading before launch, let me know. To see how the covers will look together, I’m including small versions below.

What do you think of the third cover? Like it? Love it? Dislike it? Let me know!

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About Rex Jameson
Rex Jameson is the author of the three novels in the Primal Patterns series and half a dozen short stories. An avid history buff and an unabashed nerd with an appetite for science fiction and fantasy, he loves to create complex speculative fiction with layered characters. He earned a PhD in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University and researches distributed artificial intelligence in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. Rex and his wife Jenny live in Pittsburgh where they enjoy hosting family and friends.

10 Responses to Shadows of Our Fathers Update

  1. Looking good. I first stumbled upon Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion back in 2012. Glad to see Shadows of Our Fathers is on its way!

  2. Rex Jameson says:

    Thanks for staying interested after all this time. Cheers!

  3. Richard Meyer says:

    I just got the first two books for kindle. They sound very interesting, definitely nothing like anything I’ve ever read. I’m just wondering why it’s taken so long for book three to come out.

    Thanks

    • Rex Jameson says:

      Well, Richard. That’s a bit complicated. Get ready for my new novel (this post :D)!

      The first two books were written while I was in grad school, during a pretty tough period in my dissertation. My adviser essentially left my university and took a CTO job somewhere else, and I was left with a new adviser who didn’t understand my work in distributed artificial intelligence and wanted me to drop all of my planned PhD final research and start on something much, much less interesting. I wrote the first two novels during that trying time. When you get to the Goblin Rebellion, the distributed AI that the elves like Ganymede are participating in was inspired by the type of large scale AI work I was planning and working on. In a way, I was reaching out from the abyss of my dissertation and letting my imagination taking my research where my new adviser wasn’t allowing it to go.

      I finished my PhD in CS and got a sort of dream job. My 9-5 job is essentially making science fiction into a reality as a distributed AI researcher. I work mainly in unmanned boats and quadcopters, and I’ve been traveling a lot in the past five years around the US, Europe and South America doing demonstrations of 5-25 robotic agents performing distributed AI. The job has been very rewarding and very distracting from working on a novel.

      However, some of my readers have emailed me asking me when the third book would finally happen. As I traveled, whenever I had some downtime, I would pick up the third novel and work on it. The last four or five chapters were written on a long flight back in April 2016 from Italy to Newark. You can read about it here (it’s kind of humorous because it recounts a grown man crying on a plane for 4h+ as he’s furiously typing away at a keyboard next to a line of people waiting for the bathroom).

      https://rex-jameson.com/2016/04/11/shadows-of-our-fathers-completed/

      So, why did it take a full year since 2016 to publish this last novel? There are five reasons, really (only four of which I’ll drone on about here).

      1.) Time-wise, editing this type of book is especially difficult. Each book was written to interleave complex plots with lots of characters, and each book actually has several meta stories interwoven. In fact, the idea “Shadows of Our Fathers” is meant to reflect at least seven different intentionally noticeable meta stories. Ostat’s literal shadow in the focus universe. Sariel’s life in the shadow of his father’s vision for Lucifer. Batarel’s father figure shadow on Sariel. Kisha’s life in the shadow of her father Kimah. The Patriarchal shadow of Kisha’s clan on her decisions and even the Samu. Lucifer’s literal shadow on the demons of Alurabum, including his son. Actually, you know what. Let’s not spoil anything more than I already have. The point is that these books were intended to be written for readers who like to peel back layers, if they want to. There is the action/adventure side of the story that is just meant to be read quickly and leisurely. There is the deeper retelling of the Christian creation mythology in a setting that blurs the line between general relativity and quantum mechanics in a Roger Zelazny-style mesh that is very different from something like string theory. It also interwove my interests in distributed AI. Basically, it was the type of complicated book that I like reading, while, I hope, it was also fun for anyone who just wanted to look at the surface story of Lucifer and Jehovah’s fight.
      2.) Money-wise, editing this type of book is very expensive. The last book’s edit was a few thousand dollars. When I left grad school, I knew I didn’t have the money to do this right. It took years to save up the money I would need to invest in the story to connect the story properly to the metastories and make sure readers didn’t have to get too bogged down in silly details.
      3.) Interest in a third book was low. Sales-wise, the series had no momentum. I might have had 4 to 6 requests in the first year from readers wanting a third book. The numbers ebbed away over the years to where I might get 1 request a year to finish the trilogy. The series was originally planned to have 7 books with the major events of the current third book happening in book 7. But I could not afford the marketing necessary to generate the sales that would have been required to cover the expenses of the third book. If you do end up liking the series, you should definitely thank the few readers who have been poking me every year to finish the series though. Without their encouragement, this may have never completed!
      4.) The cover artist for the first two books stopped accepting commissions and refused to answer any requests or emails from me about trying to find a similar artist for book 3. I approached dozens of cover artists, and all of them said they could not replicate the original style of Lucifer’s Odyssey or The Goblin Rebellion. So, on top of the editing cost, I knew that the cover art cost would be significant as I would need to do not only the new cover but redo all existing covers again with the same branding and style.

      The result was that 3 combined with 2 and 4, especially, meant that the sales of the series could not afford the several thousands of dollars that I knew were going to be necessary to complete the series in both editing and new covers. Word of mouth had been too low to get a third book in reader hands, and I had to save up a lot of money to complete the third book in the way that I wanted. Sure, I could have taken shortcuts and not paid for editing or finished the series with a premade cover or something. However, I have a really good career and I am both a perfectionist and a very stubborn person. What I did instead was fund the completion of the series out-of-pocket so that I could move on to my next series (it could either be the Winter Phenomenon Series, a two book series on Cahokia, or a space opera about crime and time dilation in space). Or maybe a different series, but hopefully one that is easier to write and write quickly at lower cost.

      My hope is that all of this time and money will help end the series in the best possible way for readers.

      • Richard Meyer says:

        Thanks for taking the time to respond with that long explanation. I’m glad you were finally able to complete the third book after everything you went through. I can’t wait to get into the first one. I’m a member of a couple of book clubs on Facebook and if I like it I’ll recommend it to the other members. šŸ–’

      • Rex Jameson says:

        Well, thanks for picking up both of the books! I’m going to keep Lucifer’s Odyssey free and The Goblin Rebellion at 0.99 for at least the rest of this month and possibly most of next month. So, feel free to share that if you find the books fun and interesting. I may also release Shadows of Our Fathers at $0.99 for the first month or two, just to give everyone a chance to pick it up really cheaply. After a couple of months, I expect all three books to go back up to 2.99 or 4.99. We’ll see.

  4. Richard Meyer says:

    I finally started Lucifer’s Odyssey. I’m at chapter 4 and I like it so far. It’s definitely different and I can’t wait to see what happens throughout the story.

  5. Rex Jameson says:

    Thanks for diving in! Feel free to ask any questions here. Lucifer’s Odyssey is definitely the toughest to digest of the series, unfortunately. My developmental editor was really focused on show and not tell, and for a science fiction series that blurs the lines between reality, time, and traditional christian figures, that can be tough for many readers to swallow. In the 6th edition, you at least have the prologue and a lot of “tell” that describes how the brothers see each other. Most of the bad reviews on Amazon are essentially upset at how my editor cut almost all of the telling, so people came into the book with almost no setting.

    BTW, if you do have an Amazon version with a messed up Table of Contents on Kindle, contact them and ask for a fresh download (if these directions don’t work: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/A1RGGPBKDR1BPZ). There was an error in the source document upload for both Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion on Amazon for 6th and 2nd editions, respectively. If Amazon doesn’t give you an updated download, you can also download the free version of Lucifer’s Odyssey on Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/84851). Smashwords provides a mobi version which is the Kindle version. The Goblin Rebellion on Smashwords has always had a functioning Table of Contents too.

  6. Richard Meyer says:

    I don’t know what was messed up about the table of contents but it seems ok to me. I clicked on a couple chapters and it took me to them.

    I do have a question. What is pattern magic?

    • Rex Jameson says:

      That could take an entire blog post. I try to explain that a bit more in the bonus chapter in Lucifer’s Odyssey, which describes in more detail what the primal pattern is and how it projects universes. But here’s the succinct definition: pattern magic is any process that modifies the primal in some way to affect a projected universe.

      There are several examples throughout the series. The most basic pattern magic is a chaos bolt and it involves piercing the underlying primal pattern, which projects all universes and also stores a humongous amount of pure energy/matter. The chaos bolt is essentially a release of some of the energy pent up in the primal pattern. More complicated pattern magic involves modifying the primal pattern is some way, usually as it pertains to yourself, to augment something in the pattern itself. There’s a part in the books where a speaker amplifies his voice without a microphone using pattern magic. This person has learned how to tap into the primal and modify his own soul to be louder across ALL projected universes and then erase that augmentation. In the book, it’s child’s play, but in the book’s reality, it actually took some doing and is dangerous. Some forms of pattern magic would be like trying to do gene splicing and dna mutations by yourself. As usual, the easiest things to do are the most destructive (chaos storms, chaos bolts, etc.) and the hardest things are constructive (augmentations, being able to see into the projection itself, etc.)

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