Development of The New Serfdom, which is scheduled for NaNo 2013, is chugging along. Development of Empire of Masks, scheduled for NaNo less than three months away, isn’t chugging. Hmm. The problem is (partly) that I’m finding so much brain food to read that the ideas for TNS are spinning out to infinity, and ideas for new stories are taking up so much mental processing time that I’ve decided the only way to deal with them is to ignore them completely.
The New Serfdom is expanding to encompass not just ideas about individual freedom, but a questioning of the whole idea of democracy and whether it can even survive in a world descending into chaos. But I really hate those dystopian SF stories where some improbable occurrence like a world-wide plague allows the rise of a centralized dictatorial government, which then requires some hero (often a teen-ager with suddenly-revealed powers) to turn the whole thing on its ear and save humanity. In other words, BS wishful thinking.
In TNS, the restoration of medieval-type fiefdoms is just one of many answers to a world where centralized governments have less and less power. Some of the fiefdoms are hell holes, and some are enlightened dictatorships, with every possible variation between those two extremes. The barony that’s central to TNS is an enlightened dictatorship, with all the faults of its very human overlord.
The characters are beginning to come to life as real people, which means that I’m getting hints of how they will relate to each other, and what kinds of conflict and crises will arise. They live in a world that isn’t full of gee whiz gadgets. Instead it’s a mixture of a return to simpler times and adaptations of the technologies that the early years of the 21st century provided and that are still viable and useful.
Working on it is making An Empire of Masks look more and more like a frivolous use of my time. So right now, my inclination is to get TNS ready for a very rough first draft during NaNo, and if I can’t do that, just skip NaNo this year.