Book Six of the Jack Commer, Supreme Commander Series
When the solar system adopts the buggy SolGrid telepathic network designed by former United System Space Force officer Patrick James, Jack Commer’s son Jonathan James instigates a rebellion against fascist brainwashing. His followers include his lover Suzette Borman, exobiologist Jackie Vespertine, SolGrid First Assistant Sanders Hirte, and warrior dog Trotter.
Smitten with the voluptuous Suzette and finally admitting that his SolGrid is dysfunctional, Pat accepts a place in the Rebellion, but is stunned when Jonathan James storms a museum orbiting Saturn’s moon Enceladus and not only steals Typhoon II, Jack Commer’s ancient 2030’s spaceship, but also kidnaps Z’B, the new Martian Emperor. Jack follows in Typhoon VI as his wife Amav, furious at her son’s manipulations, flies to Venus to visit the Four, ailing masterminds muddled by an unknown disturbance in the Total Martian Outradiance. But she loses control of her ship to atmospheric turbulence and enters the addictive SolGrid.
Aboard Typhoon VI, ego-bloated navigator Rick Ballard mutinies, taking the ship’s physician hostage and flying to the dead planet Altrouda to overthrow Jonathan James and proclaim himself the new fascist Alpha Centaurian Emperor. Typhoon VI’s computer system decides to arrest Jack and haul him back to a court-martial on Mars, where USSF Detention Services head Carla Posttner has declared martial law in the face of the SolGrid catastrophe and made herself Dictator of Sol. On Altrouda, Pat’s former SolGrid programmer Sanders Hirte begins to comprehend the bizarre software despoiling his mind.
The Title Change
Commer of the Rebellion had been the title of Jack Commer, Book Six through four drafts, but I’d never been sure it was the true one. I couldn’t put my finger on why Commer of the Rebellion sounded a trifle highfalutin, or why “Commer,” though a great-sounding character name, didn’t add much to this title. Possibly COTR could be considered ironic in that we have to discover exactly who is leading a “Commer rebellion,” but the reward isn’t that great; while the first draft tried to hide the perpetrator for a few chapters, in later versions I knew I had to reveal the main rebel at the beginning. I was starting to worry why the perfect title wasn’t coming, wistfully recalling how in childhood I had a penchant for coming up with superb if pompous titles which somehow had a kid marketing genius about them:
- February 11, 1971: Doomsday
- Slave Boy of Venus
- Blast Off Into Eternity
- Horror in the Twentieth Century
- Journey to the Center of the Sun
But then I reflected that four of the first five Jack Commer novels underwent title changes, and each time a sometimes painful wrench from attachment became the joy of encountering the perfect novel name:
- Jack Commer, Commander, USSF became Jack Commer, Supreme Commander
- Nonprofit Ladies became Nonprofit Chronowar
- Seven of Cups/Beyond DamnStar became Collapse and Delusion
- OutCurve: Legends of the Stellar Trolls became The Wounded Frontier. And I found an old note that said–I don’t really remember seriously considering this–that the original idea was Mandy, K’sla, and the Regeneration of a Planet.
So I typed out lists of titles and circled reverberating words for a few days. After some consideration I proposed Architects of the Rebellion, with “architect” magnifying the meaning of rebellion in a way “Commer” does not. But the suggestion left me cold; it did the same for my beta readers. My wife Nancy looked over my long list of possible titles and fastened upon the word SolGrid, the proposed Hive Mind for the Sol System in The Wounded Frontier, Book Five. Another day passed and I asked her what she thought of The SolGrid Rebellion, which I’d initially worried might sound like a mainstream thriller title. “Yes!” was her response, as was that of Kara D. Wilson, YA SF author and outstanding beta reader. Their enthusiasm has sparked my own, so now I’m fully behind The SolGrid Rebellion. I think it captures the essence of Book Six.
Jonathan James Commer, Jack and Amav’s son who wrote the bestselling Alpha Centaurian novel, A Fragmented Encyclopedia of Recent Self
Suzette Borman, Lee Borman’s flirtatious wife and co-owner of the Pavlovian Response nightclub in Marsport
Commander Patrick James, Typhoon II, IV, and V Communications and Sensors Officer, brilliant hacker and founder of SolGrid, Inc.
Jackie Vespertine, Huey Vespertine’s wife and Ranna Kikken’s errant younger sister, by 2076 a recognized authority on exobiology and alien contact
Sanders Hirte, Bouncer at Lee and Suzette Borman’s nightclub, the Pavlovian Response, later First Assistant Programmer for SolGrid
Z’B, Martian Emperor
Amav Frankston-Commer, Planetary engineer and Jack’s wife
Admiral Jack Commer, Supreme Commander, United System Space Force, and oldest of the four Commer brothers
Admiral Joe Commer, Second oldest of the Commer brothers; copilot and Deputy Supreme Commander, United System Space Force
Edward, Robotic Dog, Jack and Amav’s security dog and butler, who can fling two thousand Ninja throwing stars nailing an outline of the Mona Lisa on a wall in fifteen seconds
Colonel Laurie Lachrer, Typhoon III, Typhoon V, and Typhoon VI Physician/Engineer
Major Carla Posttner, Head of USSF Detention Services in 2076 and holding a lifelong grudge against Jack Commer
Major Richard Ballard, Typhoon III Weapons Officer, 2075, Typhoon VI Navigator, 2076, and serial seducer
Trotter, Jonathan James’ telepathic dog, twenty-three years old
1. A Beagle and a Blouse at the Saturnalian
2. Draft One Must Die!
3. Amav Declines
4. Hey, Look, the Software’s Pointing to the Martian They Took
5. MATS Redux
6. The Museum HAVOTTS
7. The Antique
8. Jack Takes Up Meditation to Try to Calm All This Turmoil
9. Detention Services’ Stake in All This
10. The Ride to Procyon A
11. A Big Merry-Go-Round of Stuff Happening
12. I Know More about This Ship Than Anyone!
13. Back to the Gripkill
14. Fascist Patsie
17. The Computational Capacity to Indulge in Chitchat
18. Garr/thahg Castle
19. You All Have Seemed Rather Complacent to Me Recently
20. Hirte’s Astonishing Sexuality
21. The Committee to the Ywritt
22. Scrambled Z’B
23. A Declaration of Passion
24. The Failed Reprimand
25. Idiot’s Fortune
26. Like-Minded Artists of the Self
27. Joined Rebellion
28. Monitoring for Crisis Mode
29. Editing Down to the Kernel
30. The Seed of SolGrid
31.Do You Consider Your Override of Sufficient Importance?
32. The Trans-Simultaneity Chamber
33. The Pulse
34. A Threat to the Newest Supreme Commander
35. The Extermination Soliloquy
36. USSF Detention Services Head Carla Posttner for President
37. The Thin Tower
38. So Many Time Delays from Primary Server 1
39. The United System Offers Its Resignation
40. Gotta Recharge!
41. A Data-Spewing Walk to the Typhoon II
42. For the Museum?
All words and images copyright by Michael D. Smith