My escape, your escape

Effugium, which is Latin for “escape,” was the name of a space vessel constructed in the early years of the twenty-first century by eccentric tech mogul and cult leader Richard “The Prophet” Kryuss, founder of Krytech Industries.

After a mysterious force announced its intent to remove all human life from Earth within ten years’ time, Kryuss funded the Effugium project with his own money, for the purpose of transporting himself and his followers to their new home, the dwelling place of the Creators.

Originally the prototype ship for a scrapped Krytech recreational space cruise line, circumstances demanded Effugium undergo a full refit in order to facilitate the demands placed upon it by several hundred passengers embarking on a multigenerational voyage to a distant planet Kryuss called “The Promised Land.”

Effugium is also the title of my upcoming book. It is an anthology of interconnected short stories spanning 200,000 years of post-Earth human history.

It’s my Childhood’s End. It’s my Foundation. It’s the beginning of my Dune. It’s the Silmarillion to my upcoming Lord of the Rings.

Presented in chronological order, each story focuses on a different time period and provides the reader quick, intimidate glimpses into the lives of the characters inhabiting each one.

Effugium is about the resilience of the human spirit, as well as its ceaseless propensity for self-destruction. It’s man versus alien, man versus machine, man versus nature, and man versus himself.

The organic data storage and communications system known as Terrestrially Regenerative Enhanced Extranet, or T.R.E.E., was originally conceived by Richard Kryuss as an alternate, regulation-free means of online access. Trees and plants would store and transmit information encoded within their DNA molecules to form a vast communications network amongst each other via roots connected by fungal mycelia.

Somewhere along the line, though, T.R.E.E got a little too big for its britches.

Despite how sinister that sounds, this is not dystopian science fiction. let me be perfectly clear: You’ll never catch me writing a science fiction book with hope absent from its core.

Besides Effugium’s underlying message imploring readers to appreciate the here and now and cherish the time remaining, the following things, and more, can be found within its pages: An expedition through a hostile alien jungle, a sentient pink goop, found all throughout the universe, that can fold space at will and operates as a single collective consciousness, a terrorist attack in the heart of a city on a distant world, a harrowing mission back to Earth to retrieve a hidden artifact of great historical significance, a few unhinged androids, and lots of bees.

Effugium is a ship, a book in which said ship appears, and finally, a personal goal.

I’ve been off work for a month on disability after undergoing an emergency medical procedure. During that time, I’ve finished writing the final chapter of my book and begun the process of thoroughly proofreading and editing it.

I sat down in front of the computer every morning and worked on it, treating it like a job. I’ve had a taste of what it’s like to be a full-time writer, and I like it. I like it a lot, and I will achieve that goal, someday. I have to, and that’s all there is to it.

When I nearly died on July 2, the final chapter of the book I’m still here to tell you about remained unwritten. I didn’t know how to draw things to a close. The answer came to me as I lay in my hospital bed thankful to be alive. I was breathing. I could see the sun coming in through the window. I was laughing, albeit with great pain, and making others laugh when they came in to check on me. I was doing things that dead people don’t get to do anymore. I’d been given another chance at life, and my prayers of gratitude were abundant. I knew then that I had an unfulfilled purpose on Earth, and the ending of my book wrote itself.

I will make my own Effugium, my own escape. I’m more convinced than ever that writing for a living is what I was meant to do.

Don’t believe me? Think I’m just deluding myself like everyone else with the same goal? Stay tuned. I’ve already begun outlining a full-length novel based upon the character of Caldo, whose “Time Remaining” blog posts between stories provide the narrative glue that binds this project together into a single cohesive work. I’ve got more ideas beyond that. I’ve finally created a universe of my own, and I can’t wait to play in it and flesh it out even more.

I write cinematically, meaning that I visualize everything I write as a movie, down to camera angles, score and sound effects.

I remember the feelings I used to get as a kid going to see movies like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, E.T., Superman, 2010 and Back to the Future, as well as television shows like Star Trek, Doctor Who and The Twilight Zone. Those were magic to me, and they made me believe in them, fully and un-ironically, before I became a bitter and jaded adult.

I remember the excitement of reading Choose Your Own Adventure and Encyclopedia Brown books. I remember devouring, in fourth grade, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and being completely enthralled by it. I remember reading The Swiss Family Robinson and almost being able to smell the salty air of the sea.

I remember seeing the images on the pages of comic books come to life.

I remember going to Cape Canaveral as a child and dreaming of being an astronaut, viewing it as a fully achievable goal.

I bring those feelings to the surface and I put words to them. That’s how I write. I don’t try to write like other people anymore. I write like myself without inhibition, without stopping to ask myself what people will think of my words. I’ve come to realize that my place is not to write what people want, but to tell people what they want, because they oftentimes don’t know.

I’m here to be a Ray Bradbury, a Mark Twain, an Edgar Allen Poe. God didn’t spare my life so that I could throw some slick, pretentious bullshit together that’s just like everyone else’s slick, pretentious bullshit. I am nothing like anyone else, and the sooner you come to believe that, the more you be able to gloat when everyone else figures it out. I can’t take credit for the gifts I’ve been entrusted with borrowing during my brief existence, though. They didn’t originate within me, and they’ll find their way to someone else when I’m gone. I am but a vessel.

I made the cover at the beginning of this post because I wanted something simple, elegant, and old that evoked curiosity. I didn’t want glossy, spandex-suited future people crouched in action poses under a big bold-fonted title and firing laser guns. That’s not science fiction to me. That’s boring.

I write with the wonder and innocence of a child, and the vocabulary, insight and intelligence of an adult. And that’s Effugium. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and I hope that I can successfully evoke those long-buried childhood feelings of belief and hope in all who read it. I want to help you escape. Take my hand…

8 thoughts on “My escape, your escape

  1. YES!! I just hope I’ll be able to have a physical copy of it, Patrick. And you’re right, you AREN’T like those other guys. You’re better. There’s a reason why I’ve said on multiple occasions to multiple people that I fully believe when you write that (this) first science fiction full-length book, you WILL be my favorite author. You’re amazing. And I get so tired of people putting the moldy-oldies up on pedestals as if contemporary writers could somehow never be as good as they were. Bullshit. We can be (and often ARE, in my opinion) better. I hope that you will be able to be the full-time writer you were meant to be. I believe THAT with everything I am…. and that’s not something I say to just anyone.

  2. Weeeeeeeeell, I would never diss the greats. I do think it’s possible to write a book or a song or make a film that’s as good as what we consider “the classics,” though. I just think that people often don’t even try to reach for that because they see it as unattainable. By stating this things, I’m reaching. I want to create something touches people the way the classics do. It’s not that I believe I’m there yet, but I want to be, and to me that’s preferable to settling into some neat little niche right alongside everything else. It’s all about reaching. That’s what’s missing from all the writing advice people so cavalierly toss out there. Nobody says “reach for the stars.” They say “Pick a box, climb inside, and don’t ever leave.” They’re leaving out the most important part, in my opinion. When I sit down to read a sci-fi book it’s usually a really old one, because I can identify with that “reaching” factor. They were trying to do something different.

  3. You’ve pretty much read it already, anyway. Now the followup will be about the exiled humans on the world ship. People from Galenia go out there to check it out and bring back a few of them, Caldo warns them it’s a bad idea but they don’t listen, yada yada yada, drama ensues. He also warns them against integrating their transplanted(the trees originally brought from earth)TREE system into Galenia’s vegetation because it will spread beyond their ability to control. All kinds of things will go wrong and once and screw up their whole planet and whatnot, and only one “person” can stop it all.

  4. Oohhhh that sounds intriguing! I look forward to reading the book as a whole.
    (But don’t forget to send me your edited story for the static Dreams project too!!)

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