From a post to ALT.BOOKS.DAVID-WEBER dated December 26, 2001:

The Great Vanishing Crucian Mystery

    Subject: Re: The Shiva Option - webscriptions update now Terran allies
From: Sunburn44 Sunburn444@netscape.net
Date: 12/25/2001 10:02 PM Eastern Standard Time >Message-id: <3C293E78.9EAFEC58@netscape.net>

But if they existed and we KNOW they are there wouldn't they get at least a tiny mention. I'm saying David and Steve didn't mention it because they weren't created. I don't have the starfire manuals but what if those races weren't created yet (in 1992?) when Insurrection the first of the Starfire novels was published? that's my theory on why they aren't mentioned.

heh nice quote.

-Sean

     

    Daniel wrote:

    On Mon, 24 Dec 2001 18:16:36 GMT, Sunburn44 [Sunburn444@netscape.net] wrote:

See that's the thing, I dont remember the Crucians, Ophiuchi, or Gorm being mentioned in Insurrection AT ALL.

Why would you expect to? They don't have a part to play in it? The only race other than humanity that has something to do there is the Khanate.
Otherwise it doesn't concern the other races.

Daniel

     


     

    Okay, confession time.

    The Crucians had been invented (in a vague and hazy sort of way) when Insurrection was written, but they had not been developed. And then they got lost in an authorial haze.

    The exact sequence of events in the writing of the novel and the creation of gaming elements in the Starfire universe can be a bit confusing even for those of us who were there, so I don't suppose it should be surprising that it confuses others!

    The novel Insurrection was written in 1989-1990 by Steve White and me. It was not then intended as a novel at all. Rather, I was working with the original Task Force Games, the owners of the Starfire game, on what (eventually) became The Fourth Interstellar War (although not without massive tribulations which we will not go into here). The rule system I was working with then was basically the original one with new tech systems added, which left more than a bit to be desired, and the future history which underpins the Starfire universe was at a much earlier and cruder stage of its development.

    At the time I went to work on ISW4, I had completed a master map of explored space for the Terrans, the Tabbies, the Ophiuchi, and the Gorm, but the Star Union of Crucis was a vague "this warp point connects to it" sort of thing. The warp point which finally connected to it happened to be the one called Anderson One in IDG and TSO, and I had noted in my working tech bible for the game that that system was/would be (depending on one's temporal perspective) ceded to the Star Union as its point of contact with the other races of the Grand Alliance of ISW4.

    Like the Tabbies, the Crucians remained neutral during the Terran Civil War, closing their borders to all units of either side. Thus the entire "Anderson Chain" was as much a dead letter for direct contact between the Rump Federation and the Rim as the Rehfrak-Zephrain connection. Moreover, the Crucians, unlike the Orions, really were neutral in the true sense of the word. If you read Insurrection, it should be pretty obvious that the Tabbies are being "neutral" in the Federation's favor, although they're pretty careful not to step over the line into belligerent status. The Crucians weren't; thus Anderson One really was closed to all traffic. Not even diplomatic couriers like Kevin were allowed through it.

    The way Insurrection came to be written plays a major part in the reason this info never made it into the final, published version. The way I worked when I was doing game design was to write a short story which set the tone for the game background. In the case of ISW4, the story I wrote became the chapter "Duty," in which Li Han and Longbow lead the successful mutiny which begins the actual fighting, and I sent a copy of it off to Steve, with whom I was then in fairly detailed correspondence on my plans for ISW4. The story inspired him to write a story of his own... which became the chapter "Drumbeat," in which ships under Ian Trevayne's command kill his son Colin after all the rest of his family is already dead. This inspired me to write the chapter in which a rebel squadron caught behind the front carries out the strike on Galloway's World. This led Steve to write....

    Well, you get the idea. Neither of us thought we were writing a novel; we were simply exchanging short stories on isolated incidents drawn from the future history/scenario plans I'd concocted for ISW4.

    After a month or two, we did realize that we had the makings of a novel, and we began shaping it in that direction, but by the time we finished covering the entire war, we had roughly 285,000 words. Since neither of us had thought in terms of submission when we began, the length of the final manuscript had played only a minor part in our thinking, but I did realize that 285,000 words was just a tad long for a science fiction novel, so I sliced 100,000 words out before we submitted it initially.

    We submitted it to several publishers, and Avon Books expressed a strong interest in it. Since it was a first novel from two unknown writers, however, they told us that it had to be shortened still further, and I began paring away everything I thought we could spare. In the end, I actually took out rather more than I liked, including all of the ground combat sequences and two or three entire subplots. By dint of these surgeries, however, I managed to get the word count down to 135,000 words.

    This, unfortunately, was still too long for John Douglas, then the senior editor at Avon, to convince the suits in the front office to okay its publication. John felt, however, that we could not shorten the book any further without doing major damage to it, and he liked it as it was too much for that. So he suggested that we withdraw it and submit it elsewhere and offered to confirm in writing to any other publisher that the only reason he had not bought it was its length and that he recommended it highly. It was this 135,000-word version which was submitted to (and very rapidly purchased by) Baen Books.

    We had spent the better part of a year working with Avon, and, frankly, my memory of exactly what we'd done when in the process of trying to get the book down to a length Avon could handle was unclear, to say the least. Rather than trying to go back and restore things we'd taken out, we went with the final Avon draft without changes.

    One of the elements I had removed to save word count, however, was the reference to the Crucians closing down their warp connections between the Rump and the Rim. Removing all references to it wherever it happened had let me save a few thousand words, and since Kevin was passing back and forth through Orion space, we didn't really need it. This is also the reason there is no reference to the Gorm and the reason the Tangri are referred to only in passing. (The Tangri don't turn up in the other novels because, frankly, they're very peripheral to the real balance of interstellar power.) By the time Baen bought the book, I had completely forgotten the Crucians' removal. Moreover, the first Task Force Games had gone bankrupt and Starfire was no longer in production anywhere, so the possibility of ISW4 ever being produced seemed very slim, which meant no one was going to be unduly concerned about the presence/absence of the Crucians. Finally, Insurrection was envisioned by all involved as a stand-alone at that time; it was a first novel by a team of writers who might or might not ever write another one, so the concern was that it be internally consistent, not that we try to be sure everything was perfectly in place for future novels.

    In other words, the Crucians were in the original rough draft but fell through the cracks in the process of working the manuscript into final form.

    This was not a great problem until Steve and I decided to go ahead and write IDG and TSO, telling the story of ISW4. The part the Crucians play in the war is far from minor, so they had to be in it, which brought us back to the problem of sticking them into the new novels. Thus they have reappeared in the "official rubric" of the literary universe, and people are scratching their heads about where they've been all this time.

    The one mistake we made in TSO was that when we wound up all the plot lines, we cut them before the fighting was truly over and before the peace conferences had sorted out all the details. (The Bug naval units had been wiped out, but there was still fighting to go to clear all of the planets which contained both Bugs and native sentients.) That means that we ended the book before the Crucians received Anderson One from their grateful allies, which inadvertently creates even more confusion in the minds of people who have read Insurrection without seeing any Crucians in it.

    Anyway, that's the story of the great vanishing Crucians mystery.

    Take care, David