Bob Anderson and I are working on #33 DEEP STAR, the fourth book we have done together in the SURVIVALIST series, and, as you may know, we have done three short stories featuring characters from the SURVIVALIST. We also have collaborated on another series of books, THE ROURKE CHRONICLES. Like many long distance collaborations, we’ve had a few rocky spots to work out along the way but I think most wrinkles have been by now ironed out. To bring back a series of books that has been dormant since 1993, with most of the original characters intact and many new ones introduced, is not an easy task, especially when the creator of the series is no longer there to lend a hand.
Jerry had been interested in bringing back the SURVIVALIST saga a few years ago but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. He had had a great many adventures lined up for the gang, but he was never able to use them because of the confines of the genre we were originally in. Our publisher at that time didn’t have a line of science fiction but, they did have space to fill in the men’s adventure section of bookstores. The whole idea of the Eden Project, underwater cities, and advanced cryogenics were more or less slipped into the “men’s adventure” books when no one was looking. We always thought of the series as science fiction with a lot of adventure.
I read a reader comment that, “Jerry would roll over in his grave if he knew where the series was being taken.” The SURVIVALIST is going right where he and I outlined it a long time ago. Jerry was a huge science fiction buff and always wanted to let loose with aliens and evil clones and the like and Bob and I, guided by what Jerry had in mind, are letting his ideas fly.
Another thought Jerry and I had when mulling over what life would be like for the Rourkes was how we would deal with their modern technology. We had explored this in the original series in episodes dealing with the underwater city of Mid-Wake where medical procedures were now advanced to the point where many common diseases were eradicated such as Cancer but, there was still no cure for the common cold. In this updated series, John Rourke still drives a truck when more advanced vehicles are available and people still fly on commercial airplanes to get from one place to another while some others prefer alien spacecrafts. As with any civilization emerging from the ashes, the basics that make life comfortable and worth living may not so much evolve as try to resemble possessions from our not too distant past. Some things change and improve over time and some things don’t.
Human nature, we thought, was something that would not change over time. Over the course of hundreds of years of rebuilding a world destroyed by war and mistrust and greed, would we expect a new world inhabited by perfect people who loved and cared for each other? Wars, unholy alliances and evil, as well as politics, still reign in this new world and a line has been drawn between good and evil. No matter how far away we travel, both in time and space, we bring with us part of our home. You CAN bring it with you.