Planetary Dominion – First Sequence

It’s time to talk about my writing.

My long-term plan has always been to become a novelist, but many years ago it occurred to me that I needed to make sure I could actually write first. It seemed sensible. I started writing when I was 14, and produced several unfinished novels, the longest of which stands at 75,000 words. When I look back at them, not much of the material is usable as my basic writing style has developed so much since then. I concluded the art of short story writing would need to be achieved before it was worth committing my time to a novel. Short stories have the significant advantage that a project can be started and completed relatively quickly, allowing for a wide range of projects to tested and switched between, and also providing a concrete tangible output, even if its an output that’s commercially less in demand. Important for writers developing their skillset.

And that’s where I’ve been for the past few years. I’ve studied the form of the short story pretty intensively, and I’m probably better at producing short stories than novel prose right now, ironically. I’ll have to deal with that later. My first few short stories I kind of came up with ideas for on the fly, but the vast majority of my work so far has been set within my wider science fiction universe, roughly titled Planetary Dominions. I planned out a few more short stores, and came upon a solid idea for a format. I could produce eight short stories, each of which would focus on and introduce important aspects and factions of the universe whilst operating as completely stand-alone tales. This will serve as a primer for new readers, and when collected as a compilation provides a suitable base-point for other writing to continue from.

Well, we’ve reached a big time, as I’ve officially started work on the final story of the first sequence. It’ll be a big deal to have the first eight complete, as for many years it existed only as a sort of pipe dream. I’ve had a very successful year in terms of developing my output and discipline towards production, it seems as though short stories are coming out at a steady rate now, and long may they continue to do so.

The first sequence as it stands:
Shattered Dawn           – Introduces Makron Unification
Void-kin          – Introduces Void-kin and Spacers
Xenogen –        Introduces Xenological Degenerates
Wasteland –          Introduces Nationalist Dominions
Fall of Hykeria –          Introduces Technocratic Empires
That Which You Seek –        Introduces Malignant Corruption
Legion* –          Introduces Universal Legion
Grandfather* –         Introduces Cenobites

* Still in production. Names of stories are often subject to change.

The completed works have been submitted for publication just as many places as I can think of. No news yet, but you can bet yourself this’ll be the first place to hear if it does. Legion currently requires quite a heavy rewrite according to some members of my first reader team, and Grandfather of course has just been started.

With hindsight, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of the earlier pieces wind up never published, but that’s ok. It’s a reflection of how far I’ve progressed even throughout the duration of this exercise. When the first compilation gets published, it may well contain the second half of these, and the first half of the next sequence. And there is a next sequence…

If anyone is curious to read one, message me and I’ll be happy to share. Until then, can’t be putting material online for free that is meant to be getting published, That’s the industry, yo.

The Conjurer of Cheap Tricks – Part 1

Our wizard has rejoined us, To celebrate his presence, we’re going to post some classic D&D fiction, illustrated by the subject himself.

 For your full multi-media experience, we provide accompanying music:

“The swirling blizzard howled through the darkness, tearing its way across the blasted cliff face and driving another torrent of razor sharp ice into the ragged figure that dragged itself over the mountainside. Every fibre of the traveller’s muscles ached with a pain that would have crippled a lesser man, constantly demanding he cease his exertions, that he retreat in the face of his impossible challenge, that he surrender to the sweet embrace of death. But he toiled ever onwards. The light in the sky rose, faded to night, and rose again as a new day dawned, but still he continued his labours, fearless and unwavering. His journey had been both long and arduous, filled with perils beyond counting and adversaries of the harshest nature, but he had endured, driven forward by his limitless faith in his great adventure. At last, as he traversed one last set of jagged rocks and saw his goal before him, as though in a dream.  Reaching out with frost bitten hands, he staggered towards a small shack nestled in the rocks, pushed open its ancient wooden door, and tumbled inside.
“No, don’t worry about it, just come in,” said a voice “I love it when people don’t bother to knock…” muttered Tandalf as he sat by the fireside, stroking his cat.
The snow covered adventurer looked up to see a magnificent wizard reclining in his chair, his glorious rainbow robes trailing down to the ground. The shack was considerably bigger on the inside than the outside, and the heat that rose from the fireside stung his frozen face. He was well beyond being troubled by such things. He dragged himself to his feet, his sword and armour clattering against his back, and attempted to wipe himself down.
“You are Tandalf the Wizard, Conjurer of Cheap Tricks, are you not?” the travelling adventurer asked.
The wizard shrugged and made a non-committal noise. He began searching inside his robes for something.
“I am the greatest hero of my age. I have come to seek your council, for aid in my quest to defy the darknesses of the universe and bring justice and liberty to all the land,” the traveller announced.
Tandalf ignored him, and continued to search. At last, he pulled a long smoking pipe from inside of the robes and admired it with rapt attention.
The adventurer sighed impatiently, and began to observe the heaps of magical detritus that cluttered the shelves around them as he waited. “I come seeking knowledge of the Draconic Crystal Skull,” he continued eventually.
Tandalf froze, and for a moment, a look of fear passed across his face. Eventually, he shook his head. “I’m going to need a bigger pipe…” he said to himself, laying the smaller item on the mantelpiece and retrieving an immense white ivory pipe from beneath his chair. “Real unicorn horn,” he said to the adventurer as he hefted it to his lips. “Good shit.” 

To Be Continued…

tandalf_by_olivertandy-d5yvme0

Harsh Truths with Penny Arcade

Relating to a conversation I had recently, regarding that poor maligned Sonic hedgehog.

Sonic 2 remains simply one of the greatest games ever, up there with other defining classics such as Doom as games which STILL have unique qualities to them no other game can rival even after 20 years.

But… well, you probably know the sad story. I was told he was now forever an icon for furries, manbabies and lax standards in corporate games development. Somehow, I couldn’t argue against it.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2014/11/14/a-ring-and-a-prayer

The Starry Wisdom

Ever read a great short story and think to yourself: I really have no idea what they’re talking about?

My latest literary purchase – The Starry Wisdom, some vintage 1994 weird fiction by the some of the big names of the genre (Alan Moore, Ramsey Campbell, Grant Morrison). It’s some heavy, classy shit. For those who like to think of themselves as ultra-sophisticated interpreters of the venerable tradition Lovecraftian fiction (who?), the introduction is more or less straight-up gratification. I’m sure I’ll drool all over it sometime in the near future. But on to the first story!

“Lovecraft in Heaven” by Grant Morrison. It’s, erm, a little hard to take in? It reads as about ten straight pages of psychedelic hallucinations. As in its literally a story about hallucinations. Lovecraft is dying, and as he lies on his deathbed he sees visions of his creations and their true meaning, hence the title. This links well with the theme of the anthology, that of returning to a purer, intensive form of the Lovecraft’s original world-view. It’s also a pretty ballsy move to directly convey the original master’s thoughts, though (sadly) its far from the first time its been attempted and, well, full marks for weirdness. Liberal spatterings of the c-word keep it edgy (did I mention this was written in the 90s?), but then I’m increasing of the view that Lovecraft’s work is obsessed with sex even as he utterly refused to touch it as tribute to his Victorian morality (cosmic miscegeny will doom us all!)

Near the end of the story, Lovecraft declares that he is in hell. His dream associate informs him that he is experiencing ‘quite the reverse’. So… Lovecraft’s most deserved fate is to experience his enlightenment as an endless brain-warping nightmare, but that enlightenment brings with it a degree of serenity. At least that’s what I got. It even manages a few endearing references to the classics, as long as you can handle a bit of semen at the same time.

Next story – “Extracted from the mouth of the Consumer, Rotten Pig,” which, I shit you not, is written in ALL CAPS. Should be good.

Writing, Science Fiction, Gaming.