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Weyburn English teacher pens sci-fi mystery novel

Trent Whippler's first novel, Resolver, will be available in mid-February

WEYBURN – An English Language Arts teacher at the Weyburn Comprehensive School, Trent Whippler, is having a science fiction mystery novel published in February, entitled “Resolver”.

The book was a number of years in the making, but his journey to science fiction began at the age of four, when his parents took him to see Star Wars at the Orpheum Theatre in Estevan. He was hooked on the genre from that point on.

The idea for his book has been growing and developing in his mind for a long time, but it wasn’t until he began seeing news reports about government surveillance of citizens that his idea began to take shape.

The novel is set in the corporate city of Gralex, and the title refers to the lead character, Gregory Hunt, who is a cybernetic security officer who enforces the law with deadly efficiency.

“In the world I’ve created, everything is monitored, everyone is recorded and everything you do on computer is recorded,” explained Whippler. “It’s supposed to be a law-and-order society. There are illegal drugs, but it shouldn’t be possible in a society that’s so locked down and monitored. So Hunt has to find out, where are the leaks in the system, how did somebody do so much illegal activity in a system that’s locked down?”

He took creative writing courses in university, and he’s been working on developing his idea for a long time, but it didn’t feel like it had a lot of meat to it until he began hearing more about how Big Brother has infiltrated almost every aspect of life today through cameras, the Internet and social media.

A lot of the measures being taken were a result of the 9/11 terrorist attack and the security responses afterward, he added.

Growing up as an avid reader of comics as well, he was a fan of vigilante stories like Batman and the Punisher, and he took some inspiration from characters like these who often seem to be in the right place at the right time when crimes occur.

Whippler is in his 12th year teaching English at the Weyburn Comp.

“I love teaching books and going over ideas, and the way writers construct characters,” he said, noting this has helped him in his own writing as well.

His novel is being published by the Champagne Book Group, an independent publisher from Washington state, and it is due to be out by around Valentine’s Day in February.

Among those who have inspired or helped him, former Weyburn resident and former Weyburn Review editor, science fiction writer Ed Willett, has had an influence on Whippler, as he took in a session put on by Willett at a Comicon gathering in Regina about publishing books.

“I looked at his website when I was creating my own,” he said. “He was a good role model.”

As Whippler wrote his novel, he mostly worked on it over three summer holidays, and since then has gone through several edits. Once he was able to nail down a publisher, they also helped with this process, and Whippler said he found it helpful to have outside eyes on his work to improve and upgrade it.

One example, he noted, was he apparently liked using the word “nodded”, as it appeared about 120 times in his story. “I had to cut this number down. I had no idea I was doing it, so having other eyes on the story helped a lot,” he added.

Once the book is out, he is hoping to have readings and book signings, depending on how the COVID situation is by that time.