So, Shamus wrote the first 50k words of a science fiction book, and then declared that he could never work on it again. I saw an opportunity to write a community story, but didn't really get any takers.
So I did it myself, more than doubling the length into a 120k word novel with an intentional arc and ending. I tried to stay as true to the spirit of Shamus' work as I could, while also making a number of alterations to the original text.
I've sent various versions to Shamus, but he's too busy to read it in depth. The most rigorous feedback I've gotten from him is as follows (I hope he doesn't mind me sharing this, but he can always nuke it since it's his forum anyway)
I'm curious about the same things, so if any of you get any insights on these topics, I'd be glad to hear about them.Shamus wrote:This is amazing. You've gone in a radically different direction from anything I'd imagined. I haven't read the whole thing, but I've been skimming my way through.
Before you sent this to me I wondered: If this story was released, would anyone be able to see the seams? Could they tell where I stopped and you started? Then I realized that I'd already released my half of the book, so anyone that read that would know.
But still, this has gotten me thinking about how we consume and invent stories. We often divide stuff into "authentic" (stuff written by the original author) and "inauthentic" (fan fiction). I wrote an entire fan fiction novel myself, and I'm aware of how strange this line can be. People who never played System Shock before were far more receptive to my book than people who were familiar with the source material. Their understanding of the original work changed their perception of my story. Would that work in reverse? If someone was told that the game was based on my book, would they dislike the game for its "inaccuracies"? (Setting aside the fact that the game is hard to find, looks terrible, had a horrible interface, and the gameplay hasn't held up over time.)
My own version of the novel uses very few characters from the first half. Rin doesn't really talk to the other crewmembers. The whole story takes place on this alien world and the only person we see again is David. My book ends shortly after returning to Earth. It's entirely possible that your version, which is tied more to the first half of the book, would seem more plausible as the "true" ending.
I haven't read enough to give you useful feedback on what you've done, and I keep getting caught on, "This never would have occurred to me!" I don't have much in the way of feedback, except to say I don't think you're doing anything obviously wrong or bad. I realize that this isn't really useful, but this is a strange experience for me and it's hard to read objectively.
I'm still planning on doing one more pass through the text with a fine toothed comb (word choice, improving the scan, adding illustrations, etc), but I don't foresee the big bones of the story changing much. I've done more than my fair share of critiquing others writing in the past, so here's your chance to make me eat my words. I know you want to (and I can take it) so tear it up and don't hold back!
Oh, and if you do bother to read through the whole thing, or simply skim it and toss some feedback into the thread, thanks in advance! Also, please feel free to use this thread to discuss the original text (or your own head-canon) without reference to my version.