© Herald photo by Matt Gardner
Author Trent Gillespie reads a passage from his book Rise of the New Rebellion on Wednesday evening at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library. Written as part of his grand science fiction saga Galactic Odyssey, the novel is the second part of the first trilogy in the series.
It took Trent Gillespie 17 years to write the first novel in his Galactic Odyssey science fiction saga and a comparatively breezy nine months to write the second.
With so much time spent creating an entire fictional universe, it’s nice to know one’s efforts are appreciated.
“It’s great to hear (readers) talk about it,” Gillespie said during a Wednesday book reading at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library.
“I’ve actually had some people have those geek-out moments where they argue about theories that they have, and that makes me very giddy to hear people do those little ‘what if it means this’ and ‘what if it means that.’”
“They try to get the answer from me and I’m like, ‘Well, read the book, read the series,’” he added with a chuckle. “So it’s very cool to get that experience.”
At the library, Gillespie read passages from the latest Galactic Odyssey novel, entitled Rise of the New Rebellion.
The followup to debut Escape From Tykonia, the second book represents the middle chapter of what the Prince Albert author hopes will be the first of four trilogies.
His self-published series tells the story of space captain Trevor Malson, who discovers he has been labeled the chosen one destined to destroy a great evil in the galaxy.
Initially reluctant, Malson soon uncovers a mystical ring more powerful than a rebel force fighting their alien oppressors. Gradually, Malson collects all the rings that will help him defeat the ultimate evil.
“The series was inspired from my youth enjoying Star Wars and Star Trek,” Gillespie said.
“As an only child, I had a lot of time to play with action figures on my own and I created my own little adventures, and I created quite a diverse universe of storyline that I eventually just began writing little tiny notes down to keep track of it.”
It was in high school that Gillespie began the long process of turning his ideas into a coherent story.
“I think for a creative writing class, I wrote Chapter 1 from Escape from Tykonia as an assignment,” he recalled.
“That was in 1995 and it took me 17 years to finish the first book. But then once the first book was out of my system, the second one flew out in nine months.”
In the spectrum of literary science fiction, which ranges from the “hard” science-fiction of Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov to the more fantastic space opera style, Galactic Odyssey skews toward the latter.
It was my love of Star Wars that first drew me into creating this world, so there’s a lot of aspects of fantasy in it, with mysticism and adventure and grandiose journeys. Trent Gillespie
“It was my love of Star Wars that first drew me into creating this world,” Gillespie said. “So there’s a lot of aspects of fantasy in it, with mysticism and adventure and grandiose journeys.”
To build the world of Galactic Odyssey, Gillespie carefully thought through the history of each character, bouncing ideas off fellow writers and science fiction fans.
“The hardest part was, I knew my story, I knew my characters, I just didn’t know how to write a story,” he said. “So it took a lot of research into watching how stories are developed in movies, reading books … throwing it to people and being like ‘What do you think?’”
He added, “When I got married, my father-in-law said, ‘Well, why don’t you write the end of the story first and work back?’ and that’s kind of how I finished the first novel. I figured out how I wanted to end, found everything that led up to it and then over a matter of a few years I finally finished it and published it in 2012.”
A teacher, family man and actor/director with Odyssey Productions, Gillespie wrote the books during his spare time and continues to do so today.
He is currently halfway through the third novel in the series, Legion of the Red Ring, which he hopes to complete by this summer.
Despite his grand plans for Galactic Odyssey, Gillespie never loses sight of its constituent parts.
“Once everyone reads the first trilogy, I want them to feel satisfied, and then the next trilogy, satisfied,” he said.
“But then when they get to the final trilogy, they’ll realize how it all connects in the journey.”