The Waiting Game and Research

The wait for a decision on Descent: Death continues, and as it will probably be around April when I know it’s like waiting for Christmas all over again – as a naughty boy. My parents used to tell me when I was a kid that Santa went around with two sacks, one full of presents, one full of coal. Good kids got the presents, bad kids … well, you know. Only once did I get the coal, and that was a joke from my Dad when I was twelve, but I’ll admit I was a total mongrel at that age. So, anyhow, it feels a bit like that now.

In the interim there’s enough to get on with, all the background research for the second book in the series, Descent: Diaspora. With science fiction it’s an interesting thing, research; some of it is firmly in the region of fact that can be researched, part of it is speculation or extrapolation based on research, and a large slice is pure imagination. It runs against the old mantra of ‘write what you know’, although I’ve heard many a source say you should ‘know what you write’ instead; which is a slight, but important, variation.

So with that in mind, later in 2023 I am spending a bit of time in Europe and (hopefully) the Middle East, and during that I will be spending a few weeks in, around, and at refugee camps and settlements. For all of it, all that will appear in Descent: Diaspora will be the feeling or atmosphere of those places and people and, with a bit of hard work, readers won’t have any idea there was any research involved at all; all they will get is the sense of reality in an imaginary world.

And that’s the point of research, the 99% of the iceberg you don’t see; it’s there, takes ages, but in the end it’s unobtrusive and just about invisible. In a similar way, the research will consume about a year or more, and the actual writing a few months. What you see in a few hundred pages is no real reflection of the work gone in.