Saturday, August 7, 2021

Edward M. Lerner's "Déjà Doomed"

A physicist and computer scientist, Edward M. Lerner toiled in the vineyards of high tech for thirty years, as everything from engineer to senior vice president. Then he began writing full time.

His novels run the gamut from near-future technothrillers, like Small Miracles and Energized, to traditional SF, like the InterstellarNet series and Dark Secret. Collaborating with New York Times bestselling author Larry Niven, Lerner also wrote the Fleet of Worlds series of Ringworld companion novels. Much of Lerner's short fiction has been collected in Creative Destruction and Countdown to Armageddon / A Stranger in Paradise. His nonfiction articles on science and technology centerpiece Frontiers of Space, Time, and Thought: Essays and Stories on The Big Questions.

Lerner's 2015 novel, InterstellarNet: Enigma, won the inaugural Canopus Award for interstellar-themed fiction. His writing has also been nominated for Hugo, Locus, and Prometheus awards.

Here Lerner dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Déjà Doomed:
If they make my book into a film, here’s who I'd like to play the lead role(s).

Let’s start with the book: a near-future adventure set mostly on the Moon. Our intrepid explorers find artifacts left behind by ancient alien visitors – and you just know nothing good can come of their poking around. Even if the novel’s title weren’t Déjà Doomed.

But I don’t mean to imply this is a horror story – setting aside the almost certain likelihood of an existentially horrible outcome. Déjà Doomed is most definitely science fiction, with the majority of the action – of which there’s plenty – happening on, and in, the Moon. As for any clarification of the doom part of the title, readers here will thank me for not being too specific today.

In the interest of cinematic interest, I might mention there are also – coming into the story in ways you might never anticipate – aliens, and space battles, and even a cameo by … dinosaurs.

Before getting to the cast, I’d best introduce a few lead characters. First is Marcus Judson, a NASA engineer. He’s leading the construction of a radio observatory on the lunar far side, sheltered from Earth’s radio cacophony – until the CIA drafts him to investigate possible alien artifacts half the Moon away. Second is Yevgeny Rudin, “bush” pilot supporting all manner of Russian activities on the Moon. His real job is undercover FSB agent. Yevgeny, of course, comes to suspect that the CIA, in the person of Marcus, is up to something – and goes looking. Finally, there’s Marcus’s earthbound astronomer wife, Valerie Clayburn. Val, like Yevgeny, doesn’t take the cover story of Marcus’s sudden expedition at face value and, if only remotely, finds ways to insert herself.

For Marcus, our clean-cut, American engineering hero in space, there can be only one choice. That’s Matt Damon, aka the unstoppable Mark Watney, star of The Martian. For Yevgeny, Marcus’s suspicious Russian foil, I see Sergey Puskepalis, aka the engineer Zaytsev in the submarine/caper movie Black Sea. And for Valerie, I’d propose Amy Adams, brilliant exo-linguist in the SF movie Arrival.

I’d certainly pay good money to see that cast do this story.
Learn more about the author and his work at his website.

My Book, The Movie: InterstellarNet: Origins.

--Marshal Zeringue