Chapter 1 of the Experiment has appeared on the Internet: the first 2500 words of a novel I'm drafting and then posting. It is called Healing Knowledge, and you can find it here, where you can also find a quick summary of what it's about.
Since it's a first draft, it will have some rough edges, the which all of you are invited to consider. Comments are always welcome on any topic related to the ms., in fact, and I will think about making changes based on readers' ideas. Much is up for grabs, including the title, which isn't quite right yet.
You'll also want to weigh in on how much backstory you'd like about the world of Healing Knowledge. It is subtitled "A novel before Greek mythology" because it is set in what is for me a fascinating time, the Aegean Early Bronze Age, circa 2400 BC, about a thousand years before Greek mythology as we know it got its ingredients in the same pot and began to heat.
It's been a great boon to my imagination to work in a time where comparatively little is known about the cultural particulars of a people, though there is plenty of evidence for extrapolating a complete and consistent world. It also helps that I wrote my dissertation on an aspect of the prehistory of Greek mythology.
I expect archeologists and other classics types will find much to disagree with in the choices I have made, but that's why I've chosen fiction. Hemming and hawing over the dating of pot sherds is not my thing. I'd rather look at the big picture, and story is a way to do that.
I was dialing through cable television yesterday and stopped on a C-SPAN taping of an appearance by author Michael Crichton (similar speeches archived here), where he was asked why he wrote about difficult scientific and political issues through the medium of fiction.
First he said, in a smug and deadpan way, that he felt someone other than Congress should get to tell some lies.
But then he said that fiction is a way of dealing with difficult issues where you can explore possibilities in a freer way than in political debate or scientific inquiry. I liked that idea.
My novel does not deal with anything as important as the Human Genome, but there are issues. I will not say anything about them now, because I want to concentrate on the story. I hope it's a good story that makes you want to come back and read more. That's my main goal.
I hope to post often, once a week if possible, and more often when I'm in a flow. Writing a first draft is hard, solitary work, but I have the impression that if I know there is one reader out there-- just one-- who is waiting for the next chapter, I will be able to deliver it. It's very tough for me to be the only one who is waiting for my next chapter to come out. I will always say to myself, "Well, if it's just you, then go do the dishes and the laundry. That's much more important."
See you over on the other side.