Monday, June 14, 2010

I've got a backlog and a new idea....

Yesterday night I took inventory and I've got 7 or 8 projects of various length in the drawer, and awaiting art or layout. Mark is handling most of those, because when my computer crashed, I lost my image editing capabilities. I just got a new program, Manga Studio to replace the old Corel Painter I was using to edit art, and lay out covers, page borders, ect.... unfortunately it's a beast of a program, and it's going to take me a little bit of time to get spun up on it.

My completed projects include the print edition of Fantasy Firearms, of which I've seen an awesome, spot-on screen copy, and Black Tokyo II. We're still collecting art for that one, but in terms of writing, it's done. I've finished my Dragonrider 20 level core class, and I'm just awaiting layout on that sucker. Like a new Adventurer Essential release dealing with alchemical items and mad science, Dragonbound will be illustrated mostly with stock art, so it should come together pretty quickly.

Finally, I've got another couple of Fantastic Races of the Otherverse releases on deck.

So with a nice catalog of smaller and easily sold PDFs, not to mention a pair of more ambitious works, I've got nice a nice cushion as I start up a new Otherverse America sourcebook.

Yesterday I started seriously writing up a faction-splat focusing on the Choicer's Eleusinian faction, who worship Demeter and Kore as a dual goddess. It's a lot of fun for me, building a fictional culture from nothing deciding what they believe, what elements of real world paganism to include, what to modify and what to ignore. It's unbelievably satisfying to sit back with a completed script and know that I've answered all the big questions about what is (intentionally) a very weird, post-human culture.

What's interesting for me as a pagan author is that when I wrote Coven of Bast, I had no real emotional connection to the Goddess Bast (though that changed, when I got my cat). By contrast, Demeter and Kore's story was one of the first myths I ever read, and it's always resonated with me. In a way, that story is emblematic of paganism to me, so making a sourcebook about a futuristic country that worships the same is both a challenge and a treat.

As a pagan, I want to build this bad ass fictional society, this fantastic vision of a country without Christianity as a teaching tool almost, like I'm saying "Look, this is what COULD be." As a sci-fi author though, I realize that making a shiny happy utopia where everything is perfect all the time is BORING AS FUCK.

That sorta leads into something I've noticed about Otherverse America. The Lifer nation- the ostensible villains- are the real protagonists. They're the ones dissatisfied with the status quo, the ones who have the agenda. Left to their own devices, the Choicers would get up in the morning, go to work, occasionally do a ritual, improve their bionics, watch the 22nd century version of TV and have lots and lots of sex. Utopias are boring... unless some outside force starts poking the utopia with a stick.

Anyway, there's two things that have been sticking in my head as I've been gathering stock art, arranging for commissioned artwork and doing research into the new book, two series I've been re-reading as I prepare to write. One is Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy, because the Edenists are very similar to how I envision the Choicers: very, very well educated, high-tech post-Christian utopians who none the less have one of the most kick ass militaries in space.

On the other hand, you've got Brian Azzarello's 100 Bullets comic series, which features the Skull & Bones esque "Trust" as central villans. As I started writing I realized that this sourcebook would also deal alot with the elite families of the Choicer nation, especially the Nicellos bloodline.

Looking back on what I've written so far I realized something, I mean I knew it when I wrote it, but just now do I realize how WEIRD it is.... the Choicer nation is ludacriously well funded. They've got a full scale first rate military, allied superheroes that are pretty much equivalent to having the X-Men on permanent retainer, a couple of orbital elevators and a fuckin' space program! Compare that to now when the real world pagans in my neck of the woods meet for Sabbat get-togethers at a local coffee shop and do rituals in somebody's back yard. The conceptual gulf is pretty wide, you gotta admit.

So I realized that this sourcebook, is a good place to finally explain how the Choicers are able to afford all their cool toys.

Anyway, I'll be done with my Eleusinian sourcebook pretty soon.
Blessed Be,


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