The Roman Empire never fell and we are it. A history professor told me that.
He didn't know he was speaking literally.
Rome has not fallen. It has gone underground. It exists as a secret society, keeping its language alive in the fields of law, medicine, scientific taxonomy, and in the Catholic Church. The secret is easily kept. I mean, you think this is fiction, don’t you?
Because Latin is a highly inflected language, you can easily smoke out a Roman mole. He habitually leaves off pronouns when the subject of a sentence is obvious.
Coincidentally, so do I.
Imperial Rome will resurface as a breakaway US colony in the Lambda Coronae Australis system, but not until the twenty-fourth century.
I arrived on planet Earth at the dawn of the space age. I learned the names of the satellites. There were only a handful at the time. (Echo was the round one.) The warranty on the thousand-year Reich had only recently crapped out. TV shows in the day were Combat, Rat Patrol, and Twelve O’Clock High.
I'm a Battle of Britain junkie.
My father fought at Guadalcanal. I command an armchair.
Star Trek came out when I was ten years old. I read Heinlein, Homer, Verne, and Wells. I took astrophysics in college.
I tripped over Alexander while researching my first novel — a way over the top entirely unbelievable character, except that he existed. The man literally changed the face of the planet. Tyre used to be an island.
He's the guy every Caesar wants to be.
Then I got hooked on Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin high seas tales.
From all that, along with a great lot of tequila, Captain John Farragut sprang out of my forehead. And I really did put swords on a space battleship.
Because I cannot write a book without a powerful, conflicted, divided soul, my Roman enemy-ally, the patterner Augustus, manifested as a counterweight at the same time. Beneath the buckler swashing adventure run uncertainties of duty versus conscience, choice and inevitability, and the relative nature of time. Sometimes the answer to an either/or question is yes.
If ever two books were meant to be joined at the spine they are The Myriad and Wolf Star. Each novel is a complete stand-alone work, but each adds a different dimension to the other. I might have called this volume Parallel Lives, but my old frater Plutarch took that title. We shall have words.
Parting shot: The favored style in genre fiction these days is no style. I have one. It's fast. It's choppy. If the character is disoriented, you're right there with him. And don't get too attached to those pronouns.
Permission to board the Merrimack.