Early last year, after about a year of working for Bohemia Interactive on VBS2, mainly travelling around on airplanes running training courses for military simulations folks, I finally embarked on a project that had been buzzing around in my head for over twenty years.
I'm fairly sure it was the catalyst of working in the simulations field that helped me realize that the time had actually come, and I actually could pull it off, but it had been a long road. When I wrote my first novel, which I started when I was nineteen (it shows its age!), I needed five years of research, which included joining the army and becoming an infantryman, before I could say I had the needed spark to finish it. The relative quality of these projects notwithstanding, no-one can ever say I don't take my research seriously.
The spark for this one came in the form of the Simulation Hypothesis.
I've heard it called a number of things. Theory, argument, hypothesis. It's an old idea, and the Matrix got a good deal of mileage out of it. As a narrative device, you can see it in works like The Truman Show and Dark City, among many others (Source Code and eXistenZ come to mind).
My favourite exploration of it is Nick Bostrom's. Do yourself a favour and read it, if you get the chance (or haven't already). He assigns three propositions equal weight.
On Books In Progress
Zero Hour is an 'Adventure from the NUMA Files' which means following the team of Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala and Paul and Gamay Trout on their adventures.
In truth the main players in this are Kurt and Joe with the Trouts taking a back seat. In fact Dirk Pitt has more of a role in this novel than they do. I'm not sure that is a bad thing, having find roles for four leading characters started to get a little stretched for me in the more recent books.
Back to the story, which could come straight out of a James Bond plot. Genius develops a weapon which taps into zero point energy and causes massive earthquakes. Feeling that the nations of the world have shunned him and killed is daughter he decides to turn the weapon upon them in revenge. It is up to Kurt, Joe and an Australian scientist (female, providing the love interest for Kurt) to stop him, against the clock and against all the odds.
This is a real old fashioned adventure story, a few twists here and there to keep the interest but nothing too demanding. It moves at a fantastic pace, has some brilliant set pieces and a typically over the top villain. There are multiple threads to the story which join up for a satisfying conclusion.
The narrative moves on at a good pace and never gets bogged down in too much exposition. There is the expected need to suspend belief in parts, but really not as much as other stories. This was an easy book to read and had that 'unputdownable' factor that should be expected. Probably one of the better NUMA files novels (which have in my mind always been the poor relation to the other Cussler series).