Some Thoughts On Future Zero Universe Books

7 Nov

I spent part of yesterday putting together the plotline for The Zero Equation, which will be the third and final book in The Zero Enigma. However, I’ve been considering a number of other stories and characters set within the same universe. Let me know which ones you’d like to see. Obviously, all of these titles are provisional.

The Alchemist’s Apprentice follows a young apprentice who gets drawn into a deadly plot to reshape society. Unlike Cat, the apprentice would be poor – more used to the darker side of Shallot than high society.

The Last Stand follows a young man who becomes a soldier in the army – and fights a desperate battle to protect the kingdom when war breaks out (because Cat’s mere existence upsets the balance of power.)

The Hangchow Connection would follow an exhibition to Hangchow, on the other side of the world, where the adventurers would find themselves dragged into a very deadly (and ancient) threat.

And I have a vague idea for a second set of books following an older Cat as she – and her friends – start unlocking the secrets of the Thousand Year Empire. However, there are far too many people who want those secrets to stay buried.

Please let me know which ones you want.


40 Responses to “Some Thoughts On Future Zero Universe Books”

  1. Derek Knox November 7, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    They all sound good, but you’ve done a lot of magic lately, so the last stand sounds good.
    But it’ll be hard to top one of my favorite books, Legend by David Gemmell for a military last stand.

  2. sevnlabs November 7, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    The Fall of the Thousand Year Empire would make an enjoyable book I guess but it would have a now well-known end…

  3. tommalufe November 7, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    I like the sound of The Hangchow Connection, but they all sound interesting.

    I know I will always read any fantasy novels you write. You are good at crafting magical worlds. However, i haven’t even tried reading any of your Sci-Fi books.

  4. McChuck November 7, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    Is “All of the above” an appropriate answer?
    If not, then my order would be: Hangchow, Last Stand, Apprentice.
    A second trilogy, after these, would then be appropriate and appreciated. “You saw what happened as a result of Cat’s discoveries, so here’s what Cat does after all of that.”

  5. Daniel November 7, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    The alchemist book is my first thought. However there is something to be said about a shared universe of stories that is done as stand alone books. Make reference to events in the others bit each one has its own people and story. Then eventually get back to an older Cat. I could see you doing all three or even more and come back to Cat in 2 years or so. I think the Zero universe could be your Pern. Anne wrote her stories almost always featuring new characters as the main protagonists in each book with certain people showing up and sometimes making a big difference in the story but not always a classic sequel. Dragon quest features F’nor and Brekka rather then Lessa and F’lar. The white dragon features Jaxom etc.

    • chrishanger November 8, 2017 at 11:55 am #

      I’ve thought about a shared universe, but I haven’t had any real interest from another author who wants to write a book set in this universe.


  6. FarWalker November 7, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

    A second Cat trilogy would be nice or the alchemists apprentice sounds good as well. Hope you’re feeling better.

  7. Thorum November 7, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

    I would prefer the last option. I like Cat and her trials. And I really would like to know more about the Thousnd Year Empire.

    • Craig Richcreek November 21, 2017 at 10:27 pm #

      I agree with this, an Older Cat, and the hang chow connection.

  8. Dennis Caro November 7, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    “Hangchow Connection” and “Alchemist’s Apprentice” . Actually I’d like all of them but these two first. Hope you’re back to full health. And have you ever considered a shared world collaboration such as Robert Aspirin had for “Thieves’ World”?

    • chrishanger November 8, 2017 at 11:57 am #

      If someone was interested in writing in this universe, i’d certainly be open to discussions.


  9. Charles Isabel November 7, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    I’d like to see the books with an older Cat. Also, if Cat can warp a magic field away so her friend can forge objects of power, she can warp the magic field and manipulate it herself, and cast awesome spells. (HINT)

  10. Paul Kent November 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    Hi Chris, an expedition to Hangchow would be a departure (literally) and a chance to explore the wider zero universe.
    Greatly enjoying the diversity of your writing. Many Thanks.

    • Øyvind December 18, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

      An expedition to Hangchow with an older Cat (and friends)

  11. An Marie November 7, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

    exhibition = expedition – it took a bit to figure out what you meant …

    Actually, I wouldn’t read the 3 stand alone book’s, maybe The Hangchow Connection, not because they are singles, but because they don’t sound very interesting as I really don’t like and am bored with to much war/military action. I may give a 2nd trilogy a try but only if The Zero Equation is better then the 2nd one was.

    I would like to read about the school starting a section and curriculum for those zeros that they find and more stories and characters around zero’s and how they adjust. I understand that it is rare but I would like to see it being just unusual and hard to find, not 1 in a billion or so. More YA friendly for younger people and less militaristic and world domination power struggles, which is why I didn’t much like the 2nd book. Societies can change from within and with less militaristic action then you tend to gravitate toward, which would be a great message for our younger people to learn. Something along the lines of how Rose’s experience when she first came to the school influences Cat toward helping to shape the future of their world and changes to their society. The kidnapping has to have long term effect on the 3 of them so maybe it will help them all see that there is a need for changes and want to work toward that goal.

    I would like to see some of the Indy authors do something like the authors of The Pern and Darkover Series and even Thieves World that was previously mentioned, where stand alone book’s are set in the same world, I’m a little tired of the constant trilogies and series that are being written lately, at my age I have no idea if I will ever see the end to the story 😉 or if the author will even finish it.

    • chrishanger November 8, 2017 at 11:58 am #

      A school for zeroes?

      I have thought about that, but it would be too much like TZB


  12. bretwallach November 7, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    More Cat. Once you’ve built a character, my preference is that you run with her for several books.

  13. Jacob November 7, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

    The hangchow connection sounds the best, and the older Cat books also. But I agree I’d read them all if you wrote them.

  14. Jensebaum November 7, 2017 at 7:03 pm #

    Fantasy+Magic+Chris= I’ll read it!

  15. William Ameling November 7, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

    I made this suggestion before, Treat the repaired sword (Orb of Power) as a betrothal gift between the families for a future marriage between Cat and Akin along with peace between the two families. This suggestion is for the 3rd book The Zero Equation.

    • chrishanger November 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

      It’s a possibilty


    • William Ameling November 12, 2017 at 7:13 pm #

      Akin and Cat, particularly Akin, have been aware and have had at least some discussion about the need to stop the friction between their families. They also seem to like each other quite well (Cat certainly let threats to him control her when they were kidnapped) and their talents for making magical items can complement each other. This could serve as the basis for a successful marriage between them, that also brought peace or even an alliance between their families I think that Cat would like the marriage since then she does not have to worry about her sisters being in control of the family (and her) some day if she stayed in her old family after marrying someone (besides Akin). If she is married to the heir to the head of her new family (Akin with the support of her abilities), then her long term interests are better protected. She would still be allied to her birth family and producing Orbs of Power for BOTH families (as long as they remain allied).

      I would expect Akin to be the one to suggest this to Cat soon after he found out the repaired sword belongs to his family, before it has a chance of being turned over to their control. If he waits too long, then the idea will be moot as soon as his father gets physical possession of the sword. So the suggestion (betrothal gift/proposal) needs to be made and accepted between Akin and Cat quickly, if it is to work.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard November 12, 2017 at 7:18 pm #

        What makes you think that the sword was originally made for Akin’s family?

        Cat may have accidentally bonded it to him.

        IE He’s the only member of his family that can use it. 👿

      • William Ameling November 17, 2017 at 11:04 pm #

        True in a way, we do not know who else can use that repaired sword, YET. For all we know, Akin could have gotten the ability to use the sword from his MOTHER (and HER family) rather than his Father (or from neither his Father or Mother). Regardless of that consideration, we know at least that Akin can use it, although they can check to see if his sister can use easily enough. If only Akin can use it, it is still a very valuable addition to his future family line. We know almost nothing about how the ability to use such swords gets passed down in families.

        The problem I see is getting the bethrothal agreement made (and accepted) before his father gets possession of the sword (assuming he can use it) and can turn down the idea. Although a marriage between Akin and Cat would still help his family (a LOT) in the future (for a LONG time) anyway. He would be a FOOL to turn down the idea, but sometimes people can be Fools over their family ambitions and rivalries. It is also a good deal for Cat’s family if it can be arranged, although other possibilities are valuable too to them.

      • chrishanger November 22, 2017 at 10:34 am #

        It’s a possibility


  16. Dan November 7, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

    I think I’d like to see Alchemists apprentice or the last stand some background about the ramifications of cats existence and how it affects normal folk would be neat.

  17. P November 7, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

    More Cat. Then probably alchemist. Then Hangchow.

  18. Wolfcry November 7, 2017 at 9:09 pm #

    The Hangchow Connection sounds the most interesting. A good way for us to see a part of the world that we wouldn’t otherwise, and as something that could stand on its own without having read the other Zero books. After one or two side novels coming back to an older Cat would be nice.

  19. Big Ben November 7, 2017 at 9:23 pm #

    One of the many things I like about your various series is your tendency to focus on one protagonist throughout. You introduce plenty of interesting ancillary characters, but you don’t shove the star aside and let some newcomer hog the spotlight.
    I’m now looking forward to following Cat into adulthood and hope the third book helps tie the first trilogy smoothly into the following books.

    Finally, your characters are so fun to follow that if you insert a whole new protagonist into an established series then we’re going to want a whole new series to follow the cool new kid on the block (or school, battlefield, court, etc.)

    • chrishanger November 8, 2017 at 12:01 pm #


      I don’t really want to follow Cat with a book for every year (like SIM.) So the next Cat books will probably be set when she’s 16, jumping forward.


  20. Joe November 8, 2017 at 1:58 am #

    I am for an older Cat, you can always tie in one of the other ideas.

  21. masgramondou November 13, 2017 at 12:09 am #

    All of the above. But in order Apprentice, Hangchow, Last Stand if you want an order

  22. Charles November 17, 2017 at 3:30 am #

    Would definitely have to vote for the older Cat books where they unlock the secrets. I think that those books could be very interesting.

  23. Dan Thompson December 4, 2017 at 2:01 am #

    My daughter and I would both like to see more Cat books. She’s on the autistic spectrum and really enjoyed seeing how Cat, the outcast with a big disability, found she had a hidden talent that made her more useful than any of her fellow students.

  24. DarylKinney December 17, 2017 at 3:49 am #

    I agree — more Cat, older. With uncovered secrets of the 1000 year empire.

  25. Øyvind December 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

    I would like to read about the older Cat and her friends

  26. G Wise February 14, 2018 at 1:16 am #

    Wanted Dead or Dead Cat.
    The three sisters form a magical coven as they master forbidden magics. With the Blessed of the three moon goddess ( the Crone the maiden and the lady.) They form the infamous Triad.

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