Whether to write a sequel to Hollow Space: Venture is a decision I have been mulling over for the past year. Should I write the follow-up or not? Should I find a co-writer or not? And often the loudest of these thoughts: what would Steve want?
For those who don’t know, I wrote this book with a dear friend and an amazingly talented writer. Steve Godden, aka T.F. Grant, sadly died shortly after we published our co-authored book. I’m thankful, however, that he got to enjoy the book’s success.
But, once he had passed, what was I to do?
You see, HS:V was more than just a co-written book. It was, and remains, more than just a title in my backlist. It now represents my connection with Steve and a reminder of the huge amount of fun we had writing the book. It was unlike any other book I’ve ever written before, or will likely write again.
The collaboration between us was crazy, difficult, energising, and most of the time, rather special. Steve and I were very different writers. I’m an outliner, he was a ‘pantser’ (one who writes by the seat of one’s pants with no planning).
Working with him and melding our two processes created a unique experience and a unique book. To say that HS:V is daunting to follow is an understatement.
The pressure of getting it right, retaining the voice and energy that we had captured is too high. No matter how I approach it, it’s not going to be the same. The story will only be half-completed as I don’t have his input or incredible creative imagination. If I were to attempt to complete the story we had set out to write, I know in my heart it would be inferior.
It cannot ever be what we both would have wanted.
So I’m left with only one course of action: to not attempt to complete what would ultimately be a weaker version of our story.
I’m going to leave it as-is. Unfinished. Incomplete.
Hollow Space represents a moment in my life. A time when the creative forces aligned and something fantastic (at least to me and Steve) came out of it. I’m not going to diminish that by cobbling together an inferior end.
The way I see it—Steve was unfinished. I’ll likely go unfinished. It’s the way of the world. No piece of art is ever finished; it’s just abandoned at an appropriate time, and for me, this is the right time to abandon this story, to let what is already there in HS:V to stand on its own, incomplete, a glorious fragment.
So I’m sorry to all those who really wanted to know what would happen next to Tai, Bookworm, and the rest of the gang. I’m sorry that you won’t find out what is on the so-called dead planet, and I’m sorry that all the questions raised in HS:V won’t be answered.
The truth is, neither Steve nor I knew the answers. We ourselves would have only known when we would have started to write it. That can never happen now, so we’re all in this together, wondering, pondering, what does happen next?
The answer of course is: we will never know.
But we have HS:V to enjoy and appreciate in its own right. We have a shining gem of Steve’s soul right there on the page and that’s enough. It will not be weakened. There will be no more Hollow Space. And I’m sorry.