Guest post by Gordon Phillips

Guest post by Gordon Phillips

Guest post by Gordon Phillips

Renegades from the Time War was written, in part, years ago. (I have, like many writers, I believe, a crèche of hundreds of stories, short-story to novel length, in various stages of completion.) Specifically, this story began with a scene that arose by combining two ideas.

The first was an image from Tolstoy’s War and Peace, in French-occupied Moscow, where a number of Russian citizens and soldiers are made examples of, being shot by firing squad. It is a brilliant if harrowing scene; particularly powerful is the depiction of a young Russian soldier who, even as he is being tied to the take seems confused about what is happening to him, to the point where he dies in that state.

The second idea was the conception of space-time portals as presented in Heinlein’s Glory Road, and how predatory villains without scruples use these portals to gain access to innocents: nubile young women or strapping youths, to have their way with them. Heinlein mentions such reprobates only to comment that such individuals are routinely executed when caught.

Curiously, I found the idea of the use of such portals to gain access to sexual partners very erotic. Yet I dislike anything to do with rape, since I abhor assault, sexual or otherwise. But couldn’t there be some situations in which such a visitation might be welcome?

My mind returned to that condemned soldier. His life couldn’t be saved by such a portal, since that would disrupt the time stream of history. But couldn’t he be offered one final sexual encounter, a satisfying release that might make his state of mind more accepting of his fate? This was the beginning of my story.

Initially it was a short story. But when several of my friends asked me questions about the sort of world that would lie behind this technology, I began developing Renegades from the Time War, in which there was a Time War, an idea I thought intriguing, and certain individuals who, being caught up in this war, wanted out — thus becoming renegades.

The published novella tells the story of two characters, from opposite sides of the Time War, who meet and fall in love, but then must face the reality of their situation. This allowed for a number of plot twists, and a satisfying story, I thought. But those reading it were also intrigued by the possibility of other stories set in the same world. One suggestion was to tell the story of two secondary characters, lovers in Renegades, Jamal and Enzo. Then there was the question of those high up in the hegemony of either side. How such individuals contributed to the onset of the Time War. What part did their passions play in this?

The Time War world, with its politics and technology, is rich in story possibilities. I am currently working on some of these, so that Renegades from the Time War is just one of a series of such tales. And, though it was first written, like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in the Narnia series it will not first chronologically in the Tales from the Time War.

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