Friday, June 05, 2009
Empty Cup at the Well Of Memory
So, I was poking around, cleaning up files and I came across the original ms for a space opera novel I wrote fifteen or so years ago, The Forever Drug. (Which title, oddly enough, somebody else used for a fantasy novel a few years later, as I found when I googled it.)
Been out of print a long time, and I haven't looked at it since it was published. I remember writing the book, and that it was a sequel to Spindoc. The main character, I recalled, and soon as I saw her name, his lover. But as I started to read the first couple of pages, I realized I didn't remember much else about it.
Ten pages in, I had jogged my memory enough so I could remember crafting the scenes, that always comes back, but by and large, that was it. The plot, other characters, setting, some of the terms I had created? If was as if I was reading a book written by somebody else.
Of course, after sixty-odd novels, I might be excused if some of them seem to run together -- I never could remember all the titles without having to work at it. (Though it does make me wonder if I'm getting to the place where I can hide my own Easter eggs, a thing about which I have some concern, given the genetics in my family in re Alzheimer's -- my father; his mother; her mother ...)
The second thing that struck me, and this is not meant as an ego-trip, was how much I enjoyed reading the thing. I was on a panel once with Ursula LeGuin, and somebody asked us, when we reread something we had written long ago, if we were struck with how unformed it was, relatively speaking. Ursula said, Well, actually, I'm usually surprised with how good it seems to be ...
That would be natural, because I've usually written the kind of books I'd like to read, had somebody else written them. Every so often, though, I'd come across a phrase or line and marvel at it. I wrote that? Huh.
I came across this line:
"The ship, as all starships did, used the somewhat enigmatic Rhomberg-Morrison Pull Through FTL Drive, a miraculous engine that ate light years and shat mere hours ..."
I didn't remember writing that one, but I have to say, I impressed myself. Hey. That's not bad. I wish I'd thought of that line -- oh, wait. I did ...