Author update, part 2: A preview of Travis Corcoran’s next two novels in his Prometheus-winning Aristillus series (and a possible story anthology)

Note: Here is the latest author’s update about Travis Corcoran, and a follow-up to a previous blog post. (Submissions of news and updates from other Prometheus-recognized authors – whether nominees, finalists or winners – are welcome and will be considered for publication.)

By Michael Grossberg

Prometheus-winning author Travis Corcoran recently shared some glimpses into the subjects and themes of two of his upcoming sf novels.

Right and Duty and Absolute Tyranny respectively will be the third and fourth novels in Corcoran’s four-part Aristillus series.

Travis Corcoran wins his first Prometheus Award Photo: Courtesy of author

The novels will continue the story in the future-history series that Corcoran launched with The Powers of the Earth and its sequel Causes of Separation, set partly on the Earth but mostly in a functioning-with-challenges anarcho-capitalist colony on the Moon. Both novels won the Prometheus Award for Best Novel, with Powers winning in 2018 and Causes winning in 2019.

Corcoran reports that he is working simultaneously on both the third and fourth novels in the series, “which are still very libertarian in background,” he said.

Describing the initial books in the series on his blog, Corcoran writes: “The Aristillus Series is a pair of science fiction novels about anarchocapitalism, economics, open source software, corporate finance, social media, antigravity, lunar colonization, genetically modified dogs, strong AI… and really, really big guns.”

For the next two books in the series, though, Corcoran says the focus will shift more towards issues of what Corcoran has dubbed “entryism,” which he defines as the political take-over of institutions.

Right and Duty and Absolute Tyranny also will draw analogies, he said, between “IT hacking, subcultures taking over ‘overcultures,’ digital physics, and ‘AI escape’ (a powerful entity with time to burn overcoming barriers) in the foreground.”

“The commonality of all of these is prying at seams and weaponizing small
flaws in architecture – for good or for ill,” Corcoran said.

Because the next two Aristillus novels are “enormously complex,” they’re going to take some time to complete, perhaps years, Corcoran said.

For instance, he said that he is grappling with weaving together “15 distinct parallel threads” in the novels. Among them: Earth politics, Aristillus politics, labor law, digital physics, constructed languages (what he dubs “conlangs”), the economics of interplanetary trading, conspiracy theories, hacking, consumer economics, and more.

“They’re straining my abilities as a writer, but I’m making forward progress, albeit slowly,” Corcoran said.

Meanwhile, as he continues writing future Aristillus novels and LFS members and other fans continue to wait to read them, Corcoran has conceived a “back-burner project” that could give fans something else in the same future history to read while we’re waiting for the next novel to be published.

Corcoran revealed to the LFS that he has been talking to several “writer-friends” about contributing to a collection of short stories exploring the Aristillus future universe. No publication date has been set yet for that anthology, but we’ll keep you posted here.

Other interested authors, even those as yet unacquainted with Corcoran, who might want to contribute to the anthology are welcome to contact him, Corcoran said. (The best way to contact him is through his blog.)

For more Corcoran updates, check out future posts on this Prometheus blog or on the author’s own Morlock Publishing blog.

Read the previous Prometheus blog post about two other books that Corcoran published in 2021.

* Join us! To help sustain the Prometheus Awards, join the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), a non-profit all-volunteer association of freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans, and help nominate, judge and vote to select Prometheus Award winners.
Libertarian futurists believe upholding and advancing culture is even more important, in the long run, than politics in spreading positive visions of the future, achieving a flourishing society based on cooperation instead of coercion and a better, free-er world (perhaps eventually, worlds) for all.

* Read “The Libertarian History of Science Fiction,” an essay in the June 2020 issue of the international magazine Quillette that favorably highlights the Prometheus Awards, the Libertarian Futurist Society and the significant element of libertarian sf/fantasy in the modern genre.

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Michael Grossberg

Michael Grossberg, who founded the LFS in 1982 to help sustain the Prometheus Awards, has been an arts critic, speaker and award-winning journalist for five decades. Michael has won Ohio SPJ awards for Best Critic in Ohio and Best Arts Reporting (seven times). He's written for Reason, Libertarian Review and Backstage weekly; helped lead the American Theatre Critics Association for two decades; and has contributed to six books, including critical essays for the annual Best Plays Theatre Yearbook and an afterword for J. Neil Schulman's novel The Rainbow Cadenza. Among books he recommends from a libertarian-futurist perspective: Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist & How Innovation Works, David Boaz's The Libertarian Mind and Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.

One thought on “Author update, part 2: A preview of Travis Corcoran’s next two novels in his Prometheus-winning Aristillus series (and a possible story anthology)”

  1. Actually, the word “conlang” has been around for many years now. In “The Art of Language Invention,” David J. Peterson traces it to 29 July 1991, when it was used as the name of a Usenet group devoted to the hobby/art of language creation.

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