Dwain Worrell is joining us today to talk about his novel, Androne. Here’s the publisher’s description:
Humanity’s new war is an enigma, with an enemy threat beyond all imagination, in this near-future novel of mind-blowing adventure where the fate of the world rests in the choices of one ordinary soldier.
In one terrifying event called the Ninety-Nine, all major military installations on earth were eviscerated. But by whom? Foreign powers, AIs, ETs? Every conceivable adversary was ruled out. Reeling from massive casualties and amid hundreds of conspiracy theories, humanity creates Andrones: bipedal android drones piloted remotely by soldiers who will never again need to be on the field of battle. Newly minted Androne pilot Sergeant Paxton Arés has now been deployed into a fight against an enemy no one understands or has ever seen.
Passing mostly uneventful days patrolling an unidentified desert, Paxton spends time communicating with his pregnant girlfriend back home and reflecting on his impending fatherhood. But as he is drawn deeper into military camaraderie and begins quickly rising up the ranks on the strength of his father’s military legacy, Paxton starts to question the swirling rumors about the nature of the conflict. What he’s encountered in the shifting dunes—something inexplicable, indomitable—fills him with the fear that whatever is out there is destined to win.
Whether it’s curiosity, ambition, or a newfound paternal instinct, Paxton has a driving need to understand the dangerous truths of this strange, invisible war. And the choices he must make have the power to change everything.
What’s Dwain’s favorite bit?
Androne is a debut novel that came to me first in the form of a screenplay, a science fiction event film about a near-future world of andrones. I pitched the story to production houses and producers and each time I did, I thought of something new for the characters, some new twist or complication, and the world quickly evolved into something bigger, a story that would work better in the printed format.
There are many exciting “bits” of this narrative worth sharing, the heartfelt bits, suspenseful bits of action, and even a little bit of comedy. But if I had to choose one, I’d say that my favorite bit of Androne is the twist. Yes, my favorite bit is in fact a spoiler—it’s the big reveal. And I won’t spoil it here of course, I will attempt to artfully tiptoe through the minefield of spoilers, and discuss what that twist means to both the main character and the story going forward.
Androne is the story of Paxton Arés, an expectant father and underachiever, who pilots ANDRONES, remotely piloted drones that are designed to resemble the human anatomy but in metal form. Paxton’s goal on base is to rise in the ranks, and with his godfather’s help, Paxton begins to climb the social and political ladder to power.
But there’s something off at that base. They’re at war with someone—something out there on the other side of their monitors. But the soldiers aren’t briefed on what they’re at war with. Something’s not adding up and Paxton’s curiosity builds. He starts to pick away at the scab of confidential files and maps, which is dangerous for a career man; you’re not supposed to grow a brain. And when Paxton figures out what they are at war with, it changes everything. And more importantly, it creates a moral problem for Paxton.
What I love about the reveal, beyond the shock of it, is that it intersects with Paxton’s big promotion to First Lieutenant. Now a commissioned officer, Paxton is closer to his original goal than ever before, but at the same time, he is struck by this moral dilemma. His goals, wants, desires, and decisions change. He swerves off his original course.
That reveal is more than just a fun surprise, it impacts the character, forcing him to reevaluate what his “want” in life is. I think as a writer I have also encountered similar circumstances. Before I understood what the film or television or even publishing industries were, my goals and wants were completely different. It wasn’t until I got a better understanding of these markets, that I reevaluated what I really wanted to do both in my career and in life. Of course, Paxton’s stakes are a bit more dire (You see what I did there). Awards and gold stars were something a younger me desired but, for the old Dwain, just telling the stories I love is so much more valuable.
There are a lot more bits of Androne that I’m really excited about sharing, so next time maybe I’ll try to find parts of it that I can reveal more clearly.
Dwain Worrell is a filmmaker, Chinese interpreter, and novelist. The Barbadian native now works as a film and television writer and producer in Los Angeles. His writing credits include Marvel’s Iron Fist, CBS’s Fire Country, and the Disney+ series National Treasure, among others. For more information please visit www.dwainworrell.com