Endings

I’ve been busy lately, short stories mostly, but I’m also at work on the ending of a novel in progress set in the very near future. Like most such sf novels, it constantly flirts with being a thriller. But every good thriller’s got to end with the status quo. Nothing ever changes except the girl James Bond screws during the closing credits. Order is restored; the genie is back in the bottle. In science fiction, it seems to me, the resolution isn’t to put the plot genie back in the bottle, but to end in a changed world. That’s why I’m always drawn to sf tropes, which are all about change, though endings are trickier. The near future thriller is tempted to comfort, to rein in the future. The sf story has to end with greater uncertainty. Most annoying, I imagine, to the devoted thriller reader.

I just learned of another sort of ending, that my novel The Watch will be remaindered in June. It’s had a good run, coming out shortly after 9/11. Peter Kropotkin has been very, very good to me. Of the four novels Jen Brehl and I did together, this is probably our best, controversial ending and all.  The highest honor the book received in my mind was being chosen by Greenhill School to be read by their upper school.  My visit to the campus was one of the best times I’ve ever had as teacher and writer both.

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