Story behind the story: Instruments of Science

The newest story in my Applied Science series is finally out. The last two should be up in a few weeks. So as usual, here’s the backstory—more unusual than most of ’em.
As some of you may recall, I’ve been working on my novel Brain From Outer Space since forever (needless to say, this year’s been too chaotic to get very far). I wrote the opening to give readers a clear sense of the setting: A 1950s where all the Sf movies of the era actually happened and the Science Investigations agents have to deal regularly with mad scientists, mutants, pod people and other threats (hmm, no wonder I liked Fido‘s approach of treating zombies as a routine problem).
At some point I got the bright idea of turning the opening into a short story. The Steve/Gwen storyline was largely self-contained (though it pays off later in the book) so by trimming back Dani’s role and cutting out everything else, I had a workable short. I sent it around with lots of rejections, then sent it to Big Pulp, which bought it. Not only that, they suggested a whole series of stories set in the same world.
Believe it or not, I didn’t immediately go Yeah! I sat down and thought hard whether I could actually come up with 12 shorts using the same setting. I didn’t want to do 12 Steve/Gwen vs. mad scientist stories and I doubted anyone would want to read them if I did. But with some suggestions from Bill Olvisi at Big Pulp, I shaped up a list of stories: First “rogue science” case (Atoms for Peace) Dani coping with a mutant attack (Claws That Catch), Steve and Dani meeting (Blood and Steel) and some stories that were just stories rather than turning points.
And now, after nine stories, we finally catch up to the original (retitled as the whole series is now Applied Science). So, yay!

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Filed under Brain From Outer Space, Story behind the story, Writing

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