October 30 2011, 01:55 AM
Stephen Baxter wrote a Voyager episode outline...
There's a bit of synergy there too...The Voyager episode "Eye of the Needle" led to his collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke on a novel.
Dates of Creation 1996
Reference Number(s) SB/2/1/4
Physical Description 1 item: 1 outline, 1p.
Scope and Content
One episode outline for the television series Star Trek Voyager, dated 1/4/96. This sketch was never eventually submitted to Paramount.
Where Do I get My Ideas From? - The Roots of Manifold
Based on material first published in Matrix, BSFA, July 2001.
August 2001 saw the publication of the third novel of my Manifold series, Origin. Phase Space, a collection of related stories, appeared the following year, but this brought to an end a project which had engaged me, on and off, for fourteen years (!). The seeds of Manifold go all the way back to an unpublished story I drafted in 1987, just about the time I was starting to sell professionally. I was never happy with the story and put it aside. But it contained two elements I liked: an off-stage race of relatively low-tech aliens who used teleport links to beam themselves around the Galaxy; and a quixotic mission to a 'burster', a periodically exploding neutron star ('Burster' became my working title for the piece).
I returned to the story at a loose moment in 1995. I realised that the low-tech-aliens angle was a big idea that could be expanded to a new series, and that I had a number of other unfinished and unpublished tales which could then be fit together to make a new and open-ended saga. So I began to sell a series of stories set in what I called the 'Saddle Point' universe to the American magazine SF Age. These tales were based on the old material and wholly new stuff. 'Burster' itself finished up (heavily re-written) as a story called 'Fusion Summer'.
But after a couple of years of such story-spinning I began to ask myself new questions. How come nobody had advanced beyond lightspeed-restricted teleport gates - why no warp drive? What was keeping them low-tech? I realised that I was touching on the venerable Fermi Paradox: if the aliens exist, how come we don't see them? One possible answer is that it's a dangerous universe out there: maybe Something Heavy regularly slams us all back down to pond life, so nobody gets the chance to advance. That scenario, and the existing stories, would eventually become the second novel of the Manifold sequence, Space.
But I'd meanwhile become interested in other answers to the Fermi question. What if we are simply alone? The thought of mankind growing old alone in a dying universe is pretty desolating. I had prepared an outline for an end-of-time novel along those lines back in 1993; unhappy with its lack of context I put it aside. But now I saw that if I could link it with the Space material, using the same characters in a Moorcockian multiverse, I could start to explore Fermi in an interesting way. And another ancient idea helped me get started: a Brannon Braga-type Star Trek outline I once scribbled down concerning a destiny-changing time paradox ... Thus I had the bare bones of the first Manifold novel Time.
As for the last novel, I wanted to explore 'spooky solutions' to Fermi: what if They are out there, but hiding? Eventually I hit on something suitably paranoid, and yet which would tie together all three books, and Origin was born.
In the course of the books, as usually happens for me, spin-off ideas and sidebars became pieces in their own right; these included my stories 'People Came From Earth' and 'The Gravity Mine'.
So there it is: much reworking of ideas, a general deepening and broadening of thought, and probably a nightmare for bibliographers.
Creative writing isn't a particularly linear process. Over a lengthy career, I suspect writers are drawn back to certain key ideas and themes - obsessions if you like - which they work over and over. The whole thing is kind of bushy, with roots in older material and ideas, and an exfoliation of new stuff. Manifold is unusual in that I've been able to trace the whole process right back to where it started, with that dodgy story in 1987
"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities".