Yes, I know, a quartet cannot have five books. That would make it a quintet. However, next year at Worldcon75 in Helsinki, the Hugo Awards will be trialling a “best series” Hugo Award. I am not a fan of genre series, especially fantasy ones, and have tried on numerous occasions to read different ones with varying degrees of success. I don’t believe I’ve ever finished one that is longer than a trilogy. It occurred to me if I wrote something new for the Apollo Quartet, a sort of pendant to the four books, a short story perhaps, then the quartet might qualify for this new Hugo category. Of course, I had no illusions about being nominated, never mind winning; but it was a bit of fun and a point worth making, I thought.
So one night, as I lay in bed, I tried to think to think of a story I might use for my “Apollo Quartet 5″… and I had a few ideas… But when I woke the following morning, a completely different idea was there fully-formed in my mind. And the more I thought about it, the more I realised it was perhaps even more of an Apollo Quartet story than the other four, was still completely different to any of them… and yet did everything they did…
And then I looked more closely at the definition for the Best Series Hugo Award, and discovered that, although the length of the work published in 2016 didn’t matter, the whole series had to comprise at least 240,000 words. The Apollo Quartet misses that wordcount by about 150,000 words… Oh well.
But the idea I have for the fifth book is just so good, I’m still going ahead with it.
Obviously, I don’t want to give away too much at this stage… although the title is something of a clue – it’s called Coda: A Visit to the National Air and Space Museum. It will, of course, have a glossary. It has been partly inspired by the works of Paul Park, Augustín Fernández Mallo and James Benning, as well as the Skylab programme, Thomas Stafford’s We Have Capture, and the Salyut space station. It will be published by Whippleshield Books, initially as an ebook and a signed and numbered chapbook limited to 25 copies. I hope to have it available by the end of November. In the New Year, I will put together a paperback edition for sale on the Whippleshield Books website and Amazon.
Finally, a quick note to point out that review copies of Dreams of the Space Age – which contains an original piece of fiction – are still available. Email editor (at) whippleshieldbooks (dot) com if you’re interested in one.