The Worlds of John Van Stry

About the COS Universe:

I call it the COS (Children of Steel) universe, because COS was the first novel I ever wrote. In many ways it was influenced by Cordwainer Smith who was a favorite author of mine while growing up. Simply put, it's hundreds of years in the future. MegaCorps are incredibly powerful and mankind has pushed well out into the stars. However man-power has become a crippling problem. Life for humankind is easy and safe. Colonising and space travel, as well as all of the industry and mining out in space is dangerous.
So to answer the labor shortage, a new race of genetically engineer beings was created. They were base on animals for multiple reasons - to assuage fears of a 'Master Race' being created, to help keep them fragmented into smaller groups, less they go to war against humanity, to keep them as 'second class' citizens without all the rights and privileges that humanity enjoys - the list is long.

These are stories about these genetically engineered and highly trained anamorphic beings and humanities push out into the universe.

A Little Background

Children of Steel is the first novel I ever wrote and completed. It was begun in the early 1990's, so if at times it seems a little dated - now you know why. I re-wrote this novel several times and I even submitted it to one of the big 6 (back then) publishers for consideration. Despite making it from the slush pile all of the way up to the head editor's desk, they rejected it. I learned many years later that despite liking it, it was not in line with their philosophy. Yeah, I didn't get it either. However when self-publishing / Indy publishing started I decided to put this up for sale (March 2011).

The response was, to say the least, surprising. I do wonder at times just how much better it would have done if it'd been published by that original publisher.

I followed Children of Steel up with Danger Money which was written in the mid to late 90's - I no longer remember when, but at that point I was writing solely for my own enjoyment with no plans of ever publishing anything. Dialene was conceived during a number of two hour commutes over a period of months in the early 2000's for a convention I was staff on. Lead, Follow, or Suffer the Consequences was originally written as a serial on LiveJournal (remember that?) as a lark.

Interregnum was written in 2015 because I was getting dozens of requests for a sequel to Children of Steel. I was then quite busy writing Portals of Infinity and took a break to write Interregnum. There was even supposed to be a third book to make Children of Steel in to a trilogy. Because Children of Steel is my 'first child' and I do love it and the world I created for it very much. But unfortunately the folks who were writing for the sequel were members of a particular fandom and they pirated the book so heavily that it took TWO YEARS for me to make back the money I paid for the cover. Yes, thousands of folks read it. Maybe a hundred PAID for it. I lost a lot of money - which as I was now writing fulltime hurt me financially.

I was so pissed off that I made a post that I would never write another story in that world again and that the third book would never be completed because I could not afford to work for free. Oh you have NO idea how much hate mail I got from people who were upset that I expected to be paid for my work. Not kidding. Wish I'd saved 'em.

Will there ever be a final book to the Children of Steel story arc? Maybe. Now that I'm writing science fiction again, and writing for Baen Books, if I see the sales on the Children of Steel books increase, I may just take the time out to write it. After all, it still holds a very special place in my heart.