Alkali Extraction Incorporated (Tomorrow News Network: A to Z)

Hello, friends!  For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’ll be telling you a little about my upcoming Sci-Fi adventure series, Tomorrow News Network.  In today’s post, A is for:


Faceless mega-corporations are everywhere in science fiction.  We see them in the Alien movies.  We see them in RoboCop, we see them in Blade Runner.  So when I started writing the first story in my Tomorrow News Network series, including a faceless mega-corporation just felt right.

In early drafts, I wanted to say as little about this faceless mega-corporation as possible.  I didn’t even give it a name.  The good people of Litho Colony all work for “the Company,” and whenever somebody mentioned “the Company,” everyone else would know which company they were talking about.  There was no need to be more specific.

My thought was that the Company was so big and so faceless that it didn’t need a name.  My critique group disagreed.  I got a lot of feedback from people asking who this giant corporate entity was.  What did they do?  What products or services did they sell?  And thus Alkali Extraction Incorporated (better known as A.E.I.) was born.

A.E.I. is a mining company specializing in the mining of rare chemical resources from planets along the galactic frontier.  They’re one of the leading suppliers of lithium for the Earth Empire, and they’ve recently expanded into the market for mesotronic elements—chemical elements that are stuck in a quantum state between matter and antimatter.

Litho Colony is the property of A.E.I.  The colonists do sometimes refer to A.E.I. as “the Company,” but they also sometimes refer to the Company by its actual name.  How could they not?  The letters “A.E.I.” are stamped everywhere, a constant reminder to the colonists of who their employers are.

Looking back on those early drafts of Tomorrow News Newtwork, book one, I get what I was trying to do with my faceless and also nameless mega-corporation.  But my critique group was right, and I’m glad I listened to them.

Next time on Tomorrow News Network: A to Z, the planet Berzelius has five moons.  Wait, let me count again.  Sorry, the planet Berzelius has six moons.

20 thoughts on “Alkali Extraction Incorporated (Tomorrow News Network: A to Z)

  1. I actually could see never naming the company as a valid literary effect, particularly if no other companies figure into the story. Think of “Skipper” on Gillgan’s Island (whose actual name only got mentioned in the pilot of the original series) or “The Doctor” in Doctor Who.

    Of course, it’s an omission that calls attention to itself, particularly the longer it goes on. I think it’s all in what you’re trying to accomplish.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s basically the effect I was going for, but in this case it didn’t work so well. Giving the company a name and having corporate branding on everything served the story better, I think. It’s good to try doing something for literary effect, but when people tell you it’s not working, go ahead and try something else.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Looking good! AEI on its own still gives the company a very faceless feel, I mean it’s just an acronym (that might not be the right word). Is the planet a reference to Berzelius himself? Very fitting for the story so far!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, that’s a tough one. I could see how it being nameless adds to the overwhelming presence it has but I’d also assume there would be branding for it everywhere. Love the images you are including in your posts – did you do all of them as well??

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jon J Berzelius is my second cousin, 7x removed. I still have several estate size lots available and am offering limited financing with a 20% down payment.

    Liked by 1 person

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