SHELTERING IN WITH JEFFREY CARVER
Well, not really—we’re still healthy—but here at the Star Rigger Ranch (named for my stories set in the Star Rigger Universe), we’re taking lockdown seriously. For me, it’s not so different; I work from home, anyway. But now I have a coworker, in the person of my wife Allysen, who has taken up station at her rolling computer desk next to my rolling computer desk, both in the dining room. Technically I could go upstairs to my office, but we like hanging out together, so sometimes I stick with my laptop in the common room with one wife, two dogs, and a dangerously close refrigerator. Today, we’re looking out the window at a dark, blustery, rainy Boston day.
I’m a science fiction writer who tends to write long, and slow. Under the current circumstances, I’m finding it harder than usual to work on my novel-in-progress, but I have plenty of other work to do: getting new audiobooks up, finishing new tree-editions of books out of print in their original editions, writing blog posts, etc. My collaborators are all online, in various parts of the world, and somehow we get the work done.
For some reason, my wife and I have become obsessed with keeping the house stocked with chocolate-chip-oatmeal cookies, based on a recipe I cribbed, and then changed, from a Quaker Oats box. Looks like we picked the wrong week to try to lose weight! Alas, more evenings than I care to admit have found me in front of the oven, scooping out fresh batches of cookies. Wait, here’s a batch now, not unnoticed:
Entertainment is a key component of staying sane, when the only trips out are for groceries or to walk the dogs. We started early bingeing on plague movies: Outbreak, The Andromeda Strain, Cassandra Crossing, Contagion. That last one was too freaking realistic, and we decided to move on.
We segued to finally watching Star Trek Discovery, which we had resisted on account of being too cheap to subscribe just for one program. I picked up DVDs of the first two seasons, and as of this writing, we’ve just finished Season One. To be honest, as die-hard Trek fans, we have mixed feelings about Discovery. Visually stunning, with some great actors and characters. I’ll watch Michelle Yeoh in anything, and Sonequa Martin-Green is a wonderful lead. The writing and storytelling we loved somewhat less, with weird-looking Klingons, too many muddled motivations, hard-to-believe elements, and dumb plot points. (My favorite, paraphrased: “Starbase One is a hundred astronomical units from Earth, and over a light-year away, and all we have is warp drive, so I don’t see how we can get there.” Uhhh… did the writer of those lines ever watch Star Trek? Or have any understanding of what those words meant? Sigh. Still, we remember, classic Trek had plenty of bad plots, and Next Generation took three seasons to gel, so… on we boldly go, where no Federation citizen that we’re aware of has gone before!
Star Trek: Picard will be next, when we’re done with Discovery.
Oh, I could easily slip into couch-potato’ing day and night, catching up on all the stuff I’ve been meaning to watch! No, no, that way lies madness. I’ll be really mad at myself if I do that.
What’s been the hardest thing? Besides not seeing friends, except on Zoom? Doing my taxes. Ugh. And I can’t even blame the coronavirus for that. But they’re done now. Better have a margarita and make some cookies to celebrate!
Wait. I already did that.
But look, the sky has cleared! Just in time for the sunset.
My newest work is a two-volume novel! The Reefs of Time and Crucible of Time continue the story told in The Chaos Chronicles—after an eleven-year writing odyssey! (I told you I write slowly. But with this, I outdid myself.)
My work explores a realm somewhere between hard science fiction and space opera, with reluctant heroes, interesting aliens and robots, plenty of humor, and believable female and male characters.
Jeffrey A. Carver is the author of The Chaos Chronicles, including his recently published two-part novel, The Reefs of Time and Crucible of Time. He is also the author of the popular Star Rigger series and the official Battlestar Galactica miniseries novelization. While his work lands somewhere between hard SF and space opera, his greatest love remains character, story, and a healthy sense of wonder. His Eternity’s End was a finalist for the Nebula Award.
Carver has taught writing in a variety of settings, from educational television to conferences to MIT. He lives in the Boston area.
Visit his website and blog, and learn more about his books, at https://www.starrigger.net. Or visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.a.carver.
Buy his latest two-part novel! Available in print and ebook. Choose your favorite store and format: