Sunborn: Genesis of a Video

I didn’t set out to make a video trailer for my novel Sunborn. But last fall, I was casting about for ways to bring the long-overdue book to the attention of readers. Being Book 4 of The Chaos Chronicles, a series that was out of print, it was starting life at a disadvantage. I’d already put up free ebooks of the earlier novels. Then I embarked on what I hoped would become a podcast audiobook; after all, James Patrick Kelly did pretty well with that format, and Jim wasn’t any smarter than me, was he? (Don’t answer that.) Many takes and many, many hours of sound editing later, I had a pretty fair audio file of the prologue and chapter one. Wow. This was taking way too much time. I shelved the project.

Fast forward six months. A theatrical arts festival was taking shape at the Cambridge Vineyard, a church I attend. Called Lydia Fair, it was a multimedia event with a theme of “Rescue,” and was a benefit for two organizations working to end child forced-prostitution in one case, and poverty in Africa in the other. I was invited to make a contribution. (Lots of musicians and theatrical people were already involved, but not too many writers. Certainly no SF writers.) It was not an immediately obvious fit. But when the director suggested a video adaptation of the prologue to Sunborn, I began to see possibilities. No actors were needed, and it might be possible to tell the story through cleverly massaged astronomical images. I agreed, and soon was in touch with Adam Guzewicz, a video wiz already working on the festival.

Here’s something you might not know about me: I love astronomical images, and I collect them on my computer. Where better to start than my own hard drive? I sorted through, hunting for inspiration. I was looking not just for cool images that would work with the story, but also that were from NASA and listed someplace as being okay for public or educational use. (I hope I didn’t slip up and use any not so designated; if so, I hope the owners will forgive me.) I opened Windows Moviemaker, laid down an edited version of the narration I’d recorded six months before, and story-boarded. Then I passed it on to Adam, who worked his video wizardry and added some music clips. We got it done just in time for the Lydia Fair event, and it seemed well received.

Having done that, I thought—why not put it up on YouTube and let it introduce Sunborn to new readers? So here it is. Call it a video narration, or an audio visualization, or a video trailer, or whatever you want. For best effect, bump it up to full-screen display. You can also watch directly from YouTube.



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