www
jamesphogan
com
The Two Worlds
Order by Mail
or Online

Background

From the Introduction

My first book, Inherit the Stars, was published by Ballantine Del Rey in May, 1977. I was living in the UK then, having graduated as an electrical and electronics engineer from the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, and Reading Technical College, and then worked for some years on digital control and instrumentation systems, and then in real-time computer sales with Honeywell and Digital Equipment Corporation. The sortie into writing occurred while I was at DEC, after seeing the movie of Arthur Clarke's 2001. I liked it in many ways but didn't understand the ending, and my subsequent remonstrations to that effect in the office were met with the retort that if I thought I could write something that made more sense why didn't I? This led to an office bet at five pounds a head that I couldn't write a science fiction novel and get it published. The upshot was that I did, and it was, and I made fifty pounds on top of the publisher's advance. Inherit the Stars has been in print continuously throughout the thirty years that have elapsed since, and been translated into many languages.

1977 was also the year that I moved from the UK to Massachusetts, still with DEC, to manage specialist sales training for their laboratory and scientific computing division. It is sometimes said that writing is not so much a hobby or a profession as an incurable disease. By the time I finished Inherit the Stars I had been bitten sufficiently by the bug to launch into two new novels virtually simultaneously. (This was during the period between the last ice age and the invention of the PC, when e-mail was unknown and private trans-Atlantic phone calls were rarities typically indulged in on birthdays and at Christmas. I found that a beginning writer needs a lot of editorial contact, and having two books going in parallel avoided wasting time while waiting for responses via the three-week communications loop to New York.) These next novels were The Genesis Machine, and The Gentle Giants of Ganymede. Discerning readers may have noticed that they were released in consecutive months, April and May, 1978--six months or so after I arrived in the U.S.A.

In Inherit the Stars, I had shamelessly stolen Arthur's premise of a mystery discovered in the course of twenty-first-century lunar exploration, sufficient to arouse the excitement of a goodly portion of the scientific community. Instead of an obelisk, however, the mystery took the form of a space-suited corpse, fully human in all anatomical detail, which further examination reveals to have been there for 50,000 years. The scientific detective story that follows establishes "Charlie" to have belonged to a race christened the "Lunarians," from the planet Minerva, that once existed between Mars and Jupiter. They were descended from hominid ancestors who had been transported from Earth by an extinct race of alien giants known as the Ganymeans, Minerva's original natives, named after Jupiter's moon Ganymede, where the first evidence of their existence came to light. When changing conditions rendered the Solar System uninhabitable, the "Giants" migrated to another star system. In the millions of years that followed, the Lunarians emerged on Minerva as a technically advanced but divided human culture that carried its militarization out into space. In a final, cataclysmic war, Minerva was destroyed. The survivors came to Earth at the time of the Neanderthals, multiplied and prevailed over them, and are finally recognized as the direct ancestors of modern man.

The Gentle Giants of Ganymede picks up at this point, with researchers at the scientific base on Ganymede continuing their investigations of an ancient Ganymean starship discovered deep beneath the ice fields, which provided most of the evidence from which the story of pre- Lunarian Minerva was reconstructed. When the Terrans begin experimenting with equipment recovered from the vessel, a device that they succeed in reactivating turns out to be a signal beacon that attracts a live, functioning Ganymean starship that was sent on an interstellar mission millions of years ago. Through a quirk of relativity physics that came into play following an accident, it has been existing under conditions of extended time-dilation since the era when their kind inhabited Minerva. But their home planet no longer exists. They come to Earth, where they create a sensation, are made welcome, and for six months lead a harmonious existence. It is assumed that the two races will now continue to share the world and a common future. However, that ends when the the Giants depart once more to seek out their own race at a star called the Giants' Star, where the Ganymeans from the Minerva of long ago are believed to have migrated. Many think the story of the migration is a myth. Even if it were true, there is no guarantee that any descendants will still be found there. But the Giants feel compelled to try.

These two books, Inherit the Stars, and The Gentle Giants of Ganymede, were the first two titles in what has since developed into the "Giants" series. In April, 2006, Baen Books re- released them in a single-volume combined omnibus edition entitled The Two Moons. In the Introduction, I promised that there would be a companion volume containing the third and fourth titles in the series. It is The Two Worlds, the book that you are now holding. The two titles that it contains were both written during the 1980s, after I had left DEC to become a full-time writer, been granted permanent residency of the United States, and was free to live and work where and when and how I chose.

I had written two more books during the time I was still with DEC: The Two Faces of Tomorrow and Thrice Upon a Time. After those were done, my thoughts turned back once more to the Giants. The Gentle Giants of Ganymede had ended with a hint that the Giants' Star is not a myth but indeed real and very alive, giving a clear indication of an intended further story to follow. At the end of 1979 I found myself single again, in possession of a car, two suitcases, and a portable typewriter, heading south from Boston for New York, where I was thinking of relocating. I had almost settled on an apartment in a former hotel overlooking Central Park, when I ran into a character called Al, heading the other way--to take a position with my former employer Honeywell, as it turned out--who had lived in what sounded like an identical place, except that it also had a pool, health club, and tennis courts, in Orlando, Florida, for about one sixth the rent. The 2-3 day drive took me about three months; strange things can happen when you're loose, exploring a wonderland like America was--to me, anyway--in the early 1980s. By the time I took an apartment in Altamonte Springs, I had the first draft of Giants' Star finished. It was written in people's kitchens, people's spare rooms, back porches, and motel rooms down the east coast and along the Gulf, and at various circuitous places between. It would be inappropriate to give away too much about it here. Suffice it to say that the Ganymeans who left Earth arrive at the Giants' Star a lot sooner than they expected, and find a thriving civilization on a planet called Thurien. The subsequent opening of direct contact between Thurien and Earth reveals the existence of another branch of the Lunarian race descended from other survivors who were removed to Thurien after Minerva's destruction. Still seeing Terrans as rivals, the"Jevlenese" have been meddling in Earth's history for millennia in anticipation of an eventual day of reckoning, but are exposed through the joint efforts of the Terrans and the Thuriens, with delivery of due come-uppances.

The fourth book in the series, Entoverse, was written at the latter end of the decade, by which time I was married again, raising three children again--three sons this time, in contrast to the three daughters from my first marriage--and living in California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, about three hours drive inland from San Francisco. The team that we gave gotten to know in the first three books arrives at Jevlen, the planet that the Thuriens entrusted to the Jevlenese as their own world, to help investigate a strange craziness that has affected much of the population and resulted in social malaise and general decline. I'll say no more here than that it turns out to be due to one of the strangest alien invasions ever. Along with Giants' Star, it makes up The Two Worlds.

The fifth Giants novel, Mission to Minerva, was released in May, 2005. Since then I have received many appreciative comments, along with inquiries as to if and when we can expect a sixth. So, although there is nothing definite in the works yet, perhaps we'll see a further title. It certainly appears that we need one to make up a third two-book omnibus to complete what would be a handsome set. In the meantime, I hope that this latest addition to the collection will help keep the Giants alive on the shelves for many more years to come, and introduce them to many new readers.

 
Content © The Estate of James P. Hogan, 1998-2014. All rights reserved.

Page URL: http://www.jamesphogan.com/books/info.php?titleID=235&cmd=background