The Untrustworthy Universe

Untrustworthy universe

Let’s Go to the Untrustworthy Universe

Understanding a work like Untrustworthy means getting into its guts and exploring some of what didn’t end up on the page. The stuff on the cutting room floor, if you will. Here, it’s all about the Untrustworthy Universe.

How Does the Untrustworthy Universe Tick?

I started writing Untrustworthy back in November of 2013. It was a NaNoWriMo project.

Cover of the only book in the Untrustworthy Universe
Untrustworthy, on sale at Amazon

Because I like to outline my projects, particularly for NaNo, I was already thinking about it before I started officially writing.

At times, inspiration comes from a person. Or it may come from a point I want to make. Another source of inspiration is characters.

The inspiration for this book was a dream of two separate spouses, that a person could be living two equally rich yet separate lives.

Here is the Untrustworthy Universe.


Perhaps the first piece was Tathrelle. I had her name and I loved it. But I also loved my opening line for this one.

There was nothing easy about it.

Tathrelle needed people to talk to. I didn’t originally conceive of her spouse as being female. But Ixalla jumped into my head and I couldn’t deny the character. The other major characters—Adger, Velexio, Students Number Five and Seventeen, and the Unknown Girl—they all took longer to appear.


Tathrelle is the main character. But after a while, I came to realize Ixalla was the better character. At first Ixalla was a kind of expository mouthpiece. But I fell in love with her when I made her a revolutionary.

The Time Frame

The story begins in 4 Month. There are 24 months in a year; each one is 12 days long, for a total of 288 days per year. It goes to 7 Month, with an afterword taking place several years later.

Where Does it all Take Place?

The story takes place on a mythical planet called Caboss. The moon, Wecabossia, is mentioned but I don’t have any action on it. The idea here is that Caboss and Wecabossia are even closer in size than Earth and our moon or Pluto and Charon. It’s almost a dual planet.

What’s in the Untrustworthy Universe?

Given that everything is alien, the entire setting is meant to be odd yet a little familiar. For example, they get around on transportation sleighs. There’s a Central River, and there are bridges spanning it. The society starts off as almost Soviet, in that major decisions are made for even competent people. As the story evolves, the decisions become more oppressive and more sinister.

What Differentiates the Untrustworthy Universe from Other Books and Series I’ve Written?

For one thing, there are no humans in it whatsoever. As a result, I could not name anyone Shapiro! I also loved the slow burn of this one, where the changes in the instructions become more and more outrageous and awful.

Is There Room in the Untrustworthy Universe for Sequels?

Not really. The book rather specifically ends with what is almost a moral. I feel the characters are done.

… but there will be a prequel!

The Untrustworthy Universe — Takeaways

This was an ambitious project. And I didn’t execute it as well as it deserved. This is what happens when you’re a newer writer.

Want to learn about more universes? Then head on over to the Universal Explorations page where you can get to another universe.

The Untrustworthy Universe—an Exploration Click To Tweet

Want More of the Untrustworthy Universe?

If the Untrustworthy Universe resonates with you, then check out my other articles about Tathrelle, Ixalla, and the others as they keep their beloved Caboss from falling into fascism.

Character Reviews:

Self-Review: Untrustworthy

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