Tales of the Solar System is a writing project that is being developed by David Powell. It is the first such project since the Countdown series was lost in a hard drive crash in 2001. Many of the characters and situations from Countdown will appear in Tales.
Tales takes place in a fictional universe and is told in nine parts, each one taking place on a different planet of the solar system, beginning with Mercury and ending in the Kuiper Belt. The story details the adventures of a central character told over a span of about 50 years.
The events in Tales take place in the Solar System in the 24th century (according to the Earth calendar). Each part of the series takes place on a different world.
Some planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Uranus, and Neptune) are utopian in nature. Mercury is a wealthy planet with one single human colony. Venus has an interesting colony that is half floating city and half "underwater habitat", the two connected by a thirty-mile high elevator. Mars is a socialist utopia. Uranus and Neptune are gas mining outposts.
Other planets (Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Kuiper Belt) are particularly dystopian. Earth is suffering the wrath of overpopulation, global warming, political corruption, and abject poverty. Jupiter is ruled by a Nazi regime and is striving to create a master "Galilean" race by exterminating all whom it deems to be undesirable or "alien". Saturn is in chaos after its government has been overthrown and it is now ruled by warlords and gangsters as its colonies fall apart from disrepair. The Kuiper Belt, on the outer edge of the Solar System, is ruled by outlaws, thugs, and crime families, many of whom are fugitives from the inner Solar System.
The core characters of the first and second trilogies are recycled from the Countdown series, including the main protagonist and antagonist. Characters in the third trilogy have yet to be developed.
Dan Peronet, in Countdown, was the protagonist. He made a grave decision in that series that he would have to live with for the rest of his life. In Tales, he will make three such decisions.
Daloctra, in Countdown, was the antagonist. She was a slave turned military leader determined to destroy humanity. In Tales, she is the leader of an ecoterrorist group determined to put an end to space colonization.
Leon Peronet, in Countdown was a cousin of Dan Peronet. In Tales, he is Dan's brother and sidekick.
Kathy Neill, in both Countdown and Tales is Leon's love interest.
Jeff Davis, in Countdown, was a friend of Dan Peronet. In Tales, he is a rebel operative on Mars who befriends Dan.
Derek Riley, in Countdown, was a friend of Dan Peronet. In Tales, he is a rebel operative on Mars who befriends Dan. In both stories, he is the love interest of Jeff Davis.
The third trilogy will contain new characters not yet developed. The working idea is that supporting characters do not survive the trilogy in which they are featured.
The first trilogy follows the story of Dan Peronet and his friends as they are unknowingly recruited into a movement to destroy space colonies. Upon discovering this, they pursue the terrorist organization and its leader, Daloctra. They are unsuccessful in thwarting the release of a deadly virus, which destroys the colony on their home planet of Mercury. They then pursue Daloctra to Venus, where they successfully locate her, but end up destroying the Venusian colony in an effort to kill her. They then flee to Earth to live a low-profile life in hiding, but are being pursued by the authorities. They are ultimately captured, brought to justice, and sentenced to life of hard labor on The Moon.
The second trilogy takes place 20 years after the first. Dan Peronet at this point is approaching middle age. Agents within the Martian government have arranged for Peronet to receive plastic surgery and assume a new identity so that he can be covertly released from imprisonment on the Moon. His purpose is to take down opponents to the communist regime on Mars, but ultimately Peronet betrays the Martian regime and sides with the opponents. For this, he is permanently banished from Mars. He is sent to a mine on Ceres, where he arranges for transport to Jupiter, a planetary system ruled by an oppressive Nazi regime. On Jupiter, he falls in love with the daughter of The Great Leader and is determined to prove himself worthy to marry her. He accomplishes this by assisting in the extermination of undesirables-- or "aliens" as they are referred to on Jupiter. Realizing what he has become, he kills The Great Leader, marries his daughter, and takes her to hide out with him on Saturn. When they arrive on Saturn's moon Titan, they enter a chaotic world where warlords rule and colony structures are literally falling apart due to disrepair after the government has been overthrown. Tragically, Dan Peronet's wife is killed as an O'Neill cylinder colony burns up in the Saturnian atmosphere. He then returns to the ruins of Titan to go into hiding, but not before Daloctra returns to reveal that she has been behind everything since Venus.
The third trilogy plot is being developed. It will be set about 15 years after the second, making Dan Peronet an aging man in his 60s. The seventh installment of the series will take place on Uranus. On this world, the Saturn scenario is being repeated as the corporate-controlled colonists grow weary of their government and seek to overthrow it. When this occurs, warlords and thugs assume rule, as they did on Saturn. The eighth installment will take place on Neptune. The final installment of the series, Beyond, will take place in three main planetary environments: Pluto, Eris, and Sedna. The series will conclude with the self-immolation of Daloctra (as was the case in Countdown), and Dan Peronet will be cryogenically frozen and shot into interstellar space.
Tales features elements inspired by favorite science-fiction universes of its author. Good vs. Evil is prominent. However, unlike most fiction, the lines between "good" and "evil" are not clear. The protagonist, generally portrayed as a "good" character, makes three very major "evil" decisions that cause the deaths of countless people. The "good" in him tries to atone for these actions. In the third trilogy, the protagonist and antagonist reverse roles.
Romance is abundant in the Tales series. Dan Peronet has a few love interests, from a male student in his high school on Mercury to the daughter of the Nazi regime leader on Jupiter, and ultimately with Daloctra at the conclusion of the series. Dan's brother Leon has a love story with Kathy Neill in the first trilogy. Jeff and Derek, two Martian revolutionaries, have a love story in the second trilogy. The concept of sexual orientation as an antequated, dated notion is very much present throughout the story.
There is a running formula that determines the tone of each of the installments. In each trilogy, the first segment (Mercury, Mars, Uranus) involves the discovery of some sort of criminal plot that Peronet finds himself involved in. In the second segment (Venus, Jupiter, Neptune), Peronet is forced to make a terrible decision. The second segment is also primarily a love story. The third segment (Earth, Saturn, Beyond) finds Peronet being pursued by antagonists and made to face justice for the actions taken in the second segment.
The first trilogy contains two utopian environments and one dystopian environment. The second trilogy, being the dark second act of a three-act play, contains the reverse: one utopian environment and two dystopian enviroments. The third trilogy concludes with the first trilogy formula of two utopias followed by a dystopia.
Gratuitous violence and graphic descriptions of mayhem will be abundant throughout the entire series. Each installment will include a bloodbath scene. Each installment will attempt to outdo the bloodbath scene of the previous installment.
Each planetary environment in the Tales saga will have a back story that will not be told during the series. This means that Tales is written with a possible future expanded universe in mind.