Fast-paced action, engaging characterization and page-turning adventures. Dave Dickingson of Astroguyz says: "The Diving Universe, conceived buy Hugo-Award winning author Kristine [Kathryn] Rusch is a refreshingly new and fleshed out realm of sci-fi action and adventure." RT Book Reviews has called it "classic space opera." Analog says, "Boss, as much historian as salvager, reminds one of a Poul Anderson or Gordon R. Dickson protagonist. This is definitely a fun universe to visit: dive in!" The Diving Universe novellas have been selected as Readers' Choice winners three times by readers of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. The Diving Bundle offers a chance to catch up with this compelling series with the first six novellas, in order: Diving into the Wreck, The Room of Lost Souls, Becalmed, Becoming One with the Ghosts, Stealth and Strangers at the Room of Lost Souls.
How recursive, right? A bundle within the bundle. But there's a method to my madness. My popular Diving Universe started from a series of international award-winning novellas, first published in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Some readers prefer the novellas to the novels. See if you agree. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
"There's adventure, suspense, intrigue, and not a few surprises, all in Rusch's quick, light prose. Boss, as much historian as salvager, reminds one of a Poul Anderson or Gordon R. Dickson protagonist. This is definitely a fun universe to visit: dive in!"– Don Sakers, Analog
"This is classic sci-fi, a well-told tale of dangerous exploration. The first-person narration makes the reader an eyewitness to the vast, silent realms of deep space, where even the smallest error will bring disaster. Compellingly human and technically absorbing, the suspense builds to fevered intensity, culminating in an explosive yet plausible conclusion."– RT Book Reviews Top Pick on Diving into the Wreck
Rusch delivers a page-turning space adventure while contemplating the ethics of scientists and governments working together on future tech.– Publishers Weekly on Diving into the Wreck
The Old Way
AT A CONVENTION several years ago, the editor who would eventually buy the novel Diving into the Wreck for his brand-new book line told me he wasn't sure if he should buy the book. His concern? That the first two parts of the novel had originally appeared in Asimov's SF as novellas. It didn't matter to him that both novellas had won the Asimov's Readers Choice award for the best novella of the year. Or that they had received international awards as well.
He worried that the previous publication would taint the novel somehow.
I leaned back in shock. Even though he professed to know the science fiction field, he apparently did not know it at all. In sf, it's customary to publish short pieces before the longer work appears. Books from Nancy Kress's Beggars in Spain trilogy to Connie Willis's time travel novels had appeared in short form first, as did parts of Joe Haldeman's classic The Forever War or one of my very favorite pieces (in both forms), Daniel Keyes' Flowers For Algernon.
That this young editor thought it unusual to publish a book after the shorter works appeared showed how little he knew the field. I had to coach him on ways to market to book—using the novellas as a hook, not as a detriment. Yes, readers had seen parts of the book, but not all of the book. And readers would buy the novel in part because they wanted to read the rest of the story.
I write out of order, and I never know what pieces of a story I have until I finish that segment. I initially thought "Diving into the Wreck" was just a novella, even though I knew what the Dignity Vessel was and how that myth/legend had come about.
I had no idea the story was tied to "The Room of Lost Souls" until Boss started narrating that novella to me. Then I wrote what I thought was the next novella, but couldn't finish it. That novella turned out to be the opening section of the novel City of Ruins, which does not stand alone. I had to back up and figure out what was going to happen next to finish the first Diving novel.
I learned years ago that it's more fun to tell myself stories to complete my world-building than it is to write a "bible" or some kind of background material. "Becoming One With The Ghosts" started as a way to explain the opening of City of Ruins to myself. Parts of the novella are in the novel, but not in the same order. (My mind is a jigsaw puzzle mess.)
As I wrote that book, I needed to figure out what mission Coop had just completed. So I wrote "Becalmed" which, so far, isn't in any of the novels. I suspect some day it will be.
"Stealth" circles back to a character we first meet in "Diving" the novella—Squishy. "Stealth" is her story, just like Boneyards is, in part, her story. "Stealth" let me explain Squishy to myself. (And yes, parts of "Stealth" are in Boneyards in different form.)
"Strangers at the Room of Lost Souls," introduces a new character who becomes quite influential in Skirmishes, the fourth Diving novel. She's got a role in several books, I think. "Strangers" was fun to write because it's a companion piece—literally—to another novella called "Encounter at Starbase Kappa," which Asimov's will publish in its October/November 2013 issue.
Both novellas get sewn together in Skirmishes, and they're so closely related that I didn't feel right offering Sheila Williams of Asimov's both novellas. That's why WMG Publishing did "Strangers" as a standalone volume before Skirmishes came out.
There are two other novellas in the Diving universe as of this writing, and neither of them are parts of novels (yet). The first, "The Spires of Denon," was an Asimov's cover story in 2009 (and a finalist for the Readers' Choice award). WMG reprinted the novella in 2011. I have no idea to this day how "Spires" fits in the overall set-up, although I trust that I'll figure it out.
The other novella, "The Application of Hope," appeared in Asimov's in the August 2013, issue. The novella shows what happened to Coop and his team from a brand-new perspective, which is one that I'm quite excited about. "Hope" will become a standalone WMG novella sometime in 2014.
The novellas are fun—and the readers seem to like them. So far, the Diving novellas have won three Asimov's Readers Choice awards and have been nominated for three others. They've received two prestigious UPC awards in Europe, and have been reprinted in several different languages. They've provided the inspiration for covers for Asimov's as well as Esli Magazine in Russia. And they've helped me figure out what I'm doing next.
I know there will be other Diving novellas long before I'm done telling the story of Boss and her group. I have several planned, plus I have a lot of world building to do, so I know that even more will crop up. The neat thing about writing novellas first is that element of surprise. Did I know that Coop had visited the Room of Lost Souls? Yes, but I didn't know when until I wrote "Strangers" Did I know that Squishy hated stealth tech? Yes, but I didn't know why until I wrote "Stealth."
Boss herself started as a mystery to me when I wrote "Diving." I still don't know her real name. She won't tell me—or anyone else it seems. It doesn't feel quite right to call her Boss either, since that's not how she thinks of herself. But that's what everyone else calls her, so I use that shorthand when I'm not writing about her.
The Diving universe is constantly evolving, both on the page and in my own imagination. I'm glad you've decided to join me on the journey—and I hope in a few years to do another bundle of "Diving" novellas. I'm already three novellas into that bundle, and I'm sure there will be more. I just don't know when the others will appear—or what, exactly, they'll be about.
Fortunately, WMG Publishing understands how the novellas and novels work together. It's fun to continue a science fiction tradition—writing both long and short in the same series. I hope to do this for many years to come.
—Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Lincoln City, Oregon
August 16, 2013