Back in 1988 Baen Books published the first book of a trilogy by S.M. Stirling called Marching Through Georgia. It introduced an alternate universe in which the Dutch were run out of South Africa by the British, therefore providing a place for American British Loyalists to escape to following the American Revolution. The Crown Colony of Drakia (named after Sir Francis Drake) later received slaveholder immigrants following the US Civil War, other slave owners from the Caribbean and Hessian mercenaries.
Finally, the colony achieved independence and settled and enslaved all of Africa and the Middle East. Following an alternate World War II, the “Domination of the Draka” controlled all of Europe and most of Asia as well as Africa.
Two more books – Under The Yoke and The Stone Dogs – completed the trilogy and could have been the end of the saga. However, an anthology of others’ stories in the Draka universe, Drakas!, came later, and then a sequel, Drakon, followed, taking a Draka across universes to ours to wreak some havoc.
The first three books were later collected into a single volume entitled The Domination. This edition, however, did not contain the appendices Stirling added to the original books covering Domination history, technology, and economics. It is one of the most well-thought-out alternate histories I’ve ever seen. It is also one of the most horrifying, and therefore one of the most gripping.
Why am I talking about this? Because ten years ago I had an idea: I’d write a novel in the Draka universe that concentrates on the pilots who fly the first space missions in the 1950s. In the Drakaverse, a US pilot flies a scramjet-powered vehicle into orbit, narrowly beating the Draka. I’ve read The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe, and I thought a similar volume, showing how an alternate space program with technology a little ahead of ours might have played out, might be interesting.
I wrote about 60, 000 words and then got stalled. I’ve added little bits and pieces since then, maybe another 10,000. Finally I’ve decided to finish the thing. Two things made me decide that.
First, I figured it never had a snowball’s chance of being published. Not only would I have to get Stirling’s permission, obviously, I would most likely have to publish with Baen. I love Baen Books and I have read more of the novels bought by Jim Baen than anyone else over the last 15 or so years. However, I found out from Baen’s web boards that he considered the Draka series too negative – especially for the “good guys,” who held good-old American values.
Jim Baen passed away three years ago. I was saddened by his passing – he was only 62 – but I realized about a year ago that the company might now be willing to publish another Draka novel. It might even mean a reprint of The Domination, which Stirling might be pleased about.
The second thing is that the book never went out of my head. My life is considerably different now than it was a decade ago, and I have a little more free time, at least at certain times of the year. I’ve been collecting information about the technology needed for years, and I decided I should finish the damn thing.
So as I work on it, I will excerpt bits of it here for your reading pleasure. I’m about halfway through editing the portion I have finished, cleaning up some grammar, clarifying some things, and smoothing out some of the timeline. Watch this space!