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Martian Knightlife
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Background

As a teenager, I devoured the original "Saint" series, written by Leslie Charteris mostly through the 1930s. Although in many ways probably a bit too idealistic and "English" for modern tastes, the combination humor, heroics, and the inevitability of better breeding and principles winning in the end were a great stimulant for the growing-up years and could usefully be stirred more into the procession of dismal role models offered by so much of today's fiction. I talked about them at times to my sons, and then one day was surprised to see a small collection of them (still available from amazon.com) on the bookshelf int the youngest, Joe's room. "I thought I'd try them," he explained. "They're great."

A few days later, Joe and I were driving somewhere, when Joe suddenly said, out of nowhere, "Why don't you create a space-going Saint?" As I got to thinking about it, I decided the idea had merit. Imagine a future in which the pendulum has swung; humanity has recovered from its current technophobia and become a vigorous, growth-driven culture expanding outward across the Solar System to create habitats on moons planetary surfaces, among the asteroids, and places in between. The degree of cultural diversity that this could engender is probably unimaginable to anyone of our limited experiences. Whatever predilections a group or a cult feel inclined to follow, pursuing whatever political ideology, economic model, religious conviction, social experiment, to recreate a period or style of history -- or simply get away from all the rest -- it can build, buy, lease, or steal its own world, far from where it can affect any who might object or disagree. Now set an adventurer of and independent and individualistic bent loose in such an environment, and the basis is there for any kind of story you want to tell. I put the idea to Eleanor Wood, who liked it, and we pitched it at Jim Baen over dinner one night in New York. Jim's response was, "Let's do it," and the result was Kieran Thane, otherwise known, from his initials, as the "Knight." This book contains two connected stories, both of which take place on Mars. Writing them was a lot of fun. I'd like to develop them into a series.

 
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