Monthly Archives: December 2013

Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale

The holidays are winding down. Year in review posts are being readied. And I’ve got to read my way through my pile of library books. Among those books is Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black. I can’t say that I’m terribly impressed by this book. Or that I even like it.

So, why did I waste my time on this book? The sidekick of the main protagonist is a young gay man. As I’ve repeatedly written, I’m interested in reading depictions of LGBT characters in science fiction and fantasy. Despite all the progress of the past few years, there is still a marked lack of representation. And good ones at that. 

The idea itself is great. A teen girl with a troubled background who finds herself thrust into the politics of the fairy world when she is selected as a tithe, a human sacrifice, only to discover that she, herself, is a changeling. But it is the execution that brings everything down.

What kills Tithe is the uneven writing. I get that Black is trying to emulate a teenager’s chaotic thought processes, but the effect achieved is confusing and, perhaps, a little schizophrenic (and not in the good kind of literary schizophrenia). Plot threads which, if developed, could prove amazing are left dangling with little seeming care (or follow up). Events happen randomly with little foreshadowing or sense being made (a faery did it!).

 An example of a random event happening (which makes no sense) is Kenny’s initial attempted fondling of Kaye. It just happens. (Of course the event, and later ones, are explained away as Kaye’s powers manifesting- hence a faery did it). 

An example of a hanging plot point is with Corny, Kaye’s sidekick. He gets a few point of view sections during some chapters. But the first glimpse of Corny, that of a budding mass shooter, is never touched on again. Though maybe his later relationship with Nephemael and his subsequent break down are furtherances of that plot line. I don’t know. Maybe?

The problem with Tithe is that it is two stories that don’t really work well together. There is the mundane contemporary teenager plot which attempts to ape Bret Easton Ellis and prefigures Skins by several years. On the other hand, there is the rather straight forward portal quest/ changeling fantasy. One is empty, the other tries to mimic and enhance that emptiness. 

The characterizations are, honestly, problematic. 

Kaye, the protagonist, is a bore to read. Her character might have been edgy and cool when the book first came out. But now she just reads as your standard urban fantasy heroine. 

Corny, her sidekick and later best friend, is wasted potential. On first introduction he comes off as a potential sociopath. Later appearances paint him as being a rather standard gay comic book geek with an interest in yaoi manga. When he is thrust into the world of faery, he becomes just pitiful. 

The rest of the human cast are variations on the same basic character. And so are the faeries. In fact, the faeries are no different from the humans in their depravity except that the fae magnify that depravity by a large factor. 

I’m not going to complain about the unsympathetic characters. Ellis and other writers can work miracles with the loathsome. But not Holly Black. 

I’m forced to agree with the Amazon.com reviewer who called this work “sadistic” rather than dark. 

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Al Jazeera: The English and America Conundrum

I’m currently enthralled by the political scandal engulfing Turkey right now. So far, I’ve managed to follow the story in the pages of The New York Times. This morning, while I’m suffering from cold induced insomnia, I was on Youtube where I subscribe to Al Jazeera English (and Al Jazeera America as a matter of course- AJE’s channel is way better than AJAm’s). I was in luck, the series Inside Story had the political scandal as its topic. Over joyed, I clicked expecting to spend the next twenty six minutes or so learning more about this scandal. But, to my annoyance, the video is not available in my country anymore. 

The first thing I did was unsubscribe from AJE. (Well what do you expect me to do? I can’t watch their videos anymore!).

The second thing I did was go to the Al Jazeera website in hopes that I could watch it from AJE’s site.Unfortunately, that sent me straight to AJAm’s website. And the specific version of Inside Story I’m looking for is AJE’s not AJAm’s. I can only hope that I didn’t look hard enough or when I contact AJAm that they can help. 

In a way, this incident illustrates my problem with Al Jazeera America. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love the channel. It has quickly become on of my favorites (second only to BBC World). But honestly, Al Jazeera English is, to me anyway, much more interesting. While AJAm has superior international reporting compared to most of its competitors (baring BBC World), AJE has, in my opinion, the better international reporting of the two AJs in English. 

But hey, at least Al Jazeera America whoops most of its competition. 

 

Review: Justice League: Cry for Justice

I don’t recall having previously reviewed Justice League: Cry for Justice despite having first read the miniseries around the time of James Robinson’s relaunch of Earth 2 as part of DC’s New 52. Obviously, Cry for Justice is written by James Robinson with art by Mauro Cascioli, Scott Clark, et al. When I first read the series, I enjoyed it. But on a second reading, I find myself not as enamored.

Justice League: Cry for Justice tells the story of Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Green Arrow leaving the Justice League after Final Crisis and focusing on preemptive superheroics. The two are successful until the villain Prometheus initiates a plan that will cost thousands of lives. To stop Prometheus, a team of heroes damaged by Prometheus’s initial moves gathers to stop him.

The story is a good one. It raises fundamental questions about what it means to be a superhero. So often, superheroes are reactive protagonists who wait for their respective villains to initiate whatever scheme they’ve got cooked up at any one time. What does it mean for a hero to take the offensive in their war on crime/ evil?

That is the question at the heart of this miniseries. The answer may very well be a darker hero, a more militaristic hero. Now compound that with a villain whose scheme absolutely negates that militarism (or does it)?

I like this. There is excitement and underused heroes are showcased. And this provides a nice “pilot arc” for Robinson’s run on Justice League of America. But I do have some serious issues with this miniseries as well.

I don’t know if there was any build up for this miniseries in the wider DC Universe, but I think there should have been. The plot is epic enough that there should be foreshadowing and hints of Prometheus’s movements long before the heroes learn of his return. Instead things proceed too quickly. Prometheus makes for a great main antagonist for a sustained run on a comic book series.

Perhaps an ongoing arc would have prevented several of the plotting missteps that plague the series.  The conclusion feels too rushed. The reveal and the fight fly by at near lightning speed without really delivering.

Furthermore, a reader must wonder why exactly the heroes do not remove whatever gadgets Prometheus has that prevents Miss Martian’s telepathy.  I’m assuming it rests in his helmet (which is miraculously repaired after being destroyed by an enraged Donna Troy).  This is a real problem that should have been caught by editorial.

Finally, the final dispatching of Prometheus is truly anticlimatic. To the point of ruining the great potential of the series’s plot.

The dialogue is unfortunately a weakness. There is a wooden quality that, while recalling the earlier periods of superhero comics, does not lend itself well to modern comics (though this does seem to be a weakness in Robinson’s writing).

Justice League: Cry for Justice  is very good, even with my criticisms and the controversy that surrounds it.

Going Local When Times Are A’ Changing

I like Dan Berger’s essay “J.R.R. Tolkien: Myths That Never Were and the Worlds They Become.” I agree with his argument that, maybe, it is time for fantasy to move beyond Tolkien’s mythological and historical underpinnings and find new ways of writing fantasy. Indeed, I’ve felt the desire to write science fiction and fantasy inspired by the American experience. To be honest, I want to go one step further and explore the speculative potential of my native state of Texas. But, as is my psyche, I’m in flux as to how I want to tackle America and Texas in fantasy and science fictional form.

In my last post about my writing, I revealed that I have four projects on my plate. In the succeeding weeks, one of those projects has grown exponentially in the planning. From a single novel to a tetralogy, now the damn thing is a damn trilogy of trilogies. To be honest, I love this development. It allows me to write an epic contemporary fantasy without worrying about running out of subjects for other possible fantasy projects. These nine books will be the fantasy kitchen sink. Everything will be included, or at least mentioned or implied to exist. 

So, how does this affect the rest of the four? Well, Sebastian Ulrichs is screwed unless I incorporate his story into the nine books. (Which I likely will). Two Cities is still going strong because that story assumes an Earth devoid of any magic confronting a city from a secondary world with magic. So, it is free. What about Bright Light, Deep Shadow? That one will have to be retooled. But I don’t think I will have too much of a problem with it.

I may retool Bright Light, Deep Shadow into a science fiction story. And expect many more to come.

To be honest, I’m starting to gravitate more and more towards science fiction compared to fantasy. In a way, I’ve always preferred science fiction, but I’ve found fantasy the easier genre to write and write about. 

The assumption of a science fiction/ fantasy binary, though, is a dangerous one. I still like both genres, though my heart belongs to science fiction. I just need to take the leap into writing it. 

How does this relate back to going local in writing science fiction and fantasy, though?

Well, all of these projects or nascent projects explore my concerns for and about America and Texas. What does it mean to be American or Texan? What is my place in a world where I feel I don’t belong? Etc. There’s enough to, likely, fuel a hundred novels. Not that I’ll try. 

I want to say so much more, but these ideas are so new right now. Both the fiction and the theory. 

I just know that I can’t wait to discover the answers. 

The Genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Some Thoughts

Is steampunk fantasy or science fiction? Is it both? These questions illustrate the confusion inherent in the sibling genres of science fiction and fantasy.

Science fiction, fantasy, and horror are the three pillars of the over arching speculative fiction genre. (But are they the only pillars? Chris Gerwal of King of Elfland’s Second Cousin fame makes the case for spy fiction’s inclusion). And within each of the pillars, there are myriad subgenres. And those subgenres either mirror or transition between the various genres.

Steampunk wonderfully illustrates this conundrum. Birthed out of cyberpunk, steampunk (and many of the other punks) originally posited an earlier rise of certain technologies using the primary power source of the age. Therefore, steampunk has primitive computers powered by steam. Baring the near future set punks of cyber, bio, and nano, many of historic punks may also include magic. Keeping with steampunk, China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station combines steampunk technology and magic (called thaumaturgy) to create an interestingly unified scientific-magical theoretical system. But Perdido Street Station is more properly science fantasy, a merging of the two genres within steampunk. Would a strictly fantasy story set solely in either the nineteenth century or a secondary world drawing inspiration from said century be called steampunk? Or should it have another name, like gaslamp fantasy? (This is, of course, ignoring the question of whether or not there is something else at work with (prefix)punk speculative fiction. Punk is part of the genre for a reason, but what is the reason and how do any works in any of the (prefix)punk subgenres reflect being “punk”?)

Moving on, there is high and low fantasy, but is there a high and low science fiction? What would a high and low science fiction look like?

While I’m on the subject of high and low fantasy, I have something to say. I despise these two terms. While the terms are not meant to be qualitative, rather they are meant to illustrate the amount of the fantastic present. But does the binary work?

A high fantasy is, usually, a wholly secondary world with, usually, an epic story line. There is also a lot of fantastic stuff going on. Conversely, low fantasy is, usually, set in our consensus reality with, usually, a more “mundane” (for lack of a better word) story line. The fantastic is, usually, limited to one or two specific fantastic elements. Some works fit in wonderfully and others delight in busting this stupid binary.

A Song of Ice and Fire is set on a secondary world. But examples of the fantastic (excepting the planetary quirks) are relatively low, only a few examples in each book. And those books are each nearly a thousand pages! A Game of Thrones reads more like a gritty historical novel rather than a fantasy until the very end with the rebirth of magic. And that is high fantasy?

On the other side is the Harry Potter series. While some critics place it in the high fantasy camp due to the distinct creation of Hogwarts and the Wizarding World within the hidden spaces of consensus reality, others place it in the low fantasy camp for some reason or other (Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus sequence is placed in the same boat).

I don’t get it. This whole high and low fantasy crap is just stupid.

Okay, enough of those two genres. Time to start wrapping things up.

How do I wrap things up, though? The writer in me doesn’t care. What I write is what I write and genre should not matter except as I guide post. But as a critic, as a theorist, I can’t help but obsess. I know it is stupid, but I can’t help myself.

On one hand, perhaps something new can be born. On the other, perhaps I’m too damn distracted with inconsequential details.

I hope it is the former.

Giving Joseph Campbell a Second Look

I don’t recommend binge watching Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. The series needs to be savored and contemplated. Watched in two large chunks dilute the experience. And one should not read The Hero with a Thousand Faces at the same time. Too much Campbell at one time is not a good thing. Maybe I should have just focused on one or the other, but I chose to go with both at the same time. Regardless, my opinion of Joseph Campbell has changed over the course of reading and viewing both works.

Engaging in Joseph Campbell’s works comes in two forms: literary theory and philosophy of life.

I will be honest, I’m not interested in Campbell’s philosophy of life. I find it interesting and agree that it is a valid way to live one’s life. And I admit that I am more favorable to it now than I was when I first wrote about Campbell over two years ago. However, that has never been what I find most compelling about Campbell’s interpretation of mythology. 

What I’m really interested in is Joseph Campbell as a mythologist and literary theorist. 

As such, I find myself split on his work. I agree with him in some ways. But I also disagree with him in others. 

A mythologist must wear many hats. In Campbell’s case, he is part anthropologist and part psychoanalyst with some literary scholar thrown in. And here is where I have a problem with him, though he himself is not at fault, only that he is a product of his time.

Campbell is (was) unavoidably part of a tradition of psychology which has been, at least since Campbell’s death, steadily marginalized to the dustbin of science. Psychology today is radically different than it was when Campbell first wrote The Hero with a Thousand Faces. While myths predominate, there are also a good amount of excerpts from psychoanalytic texts (in the form of patient dreams and their subsequent interpretation). Needless to say, Campbell’s interpretation of myths from around the world is dependent upon his own psychoanalytic framework.

Campbell as anthropologist (probably more like an armchair anthropologist) is equally problematic. But again, anthropology as practiced today is far different from how it was practiced in Campbell’s day. So can Campbell really be held responsible for utilizing an ideological framework which, to today’s eyes, seem at best quaint and ill informed? Can Campbell be held responsible for using sources which might not be accurate?

No, because he obviously could not have known when he wrote how the intellectual frameworks would shift. But, one may ask, did he ever modify his views in the face of changing interpretations? Did Levi Strauss influence him? What about Lacan and Kristeva? 

I don’t know. But it would be interesting to find out if Campbell evolved in his interpretations as he grew older. (From watching The Power of MythI would say no. But the real test would be in any scholarship he wrote and what he taught in his classes).

So how valid is Campbell? In some ways, he has been passed by more recent scholars and newer frameworks of interpretation. But as an influence on writers, especially writers of fantasy and science fiction, Campbell’s influence lives on. Seriously, one could ask if anyone, Bill Moyers included, would have been interested in producing The Power of Myth without Lucas crediting Campbell’s influence.

And this is where my opinion of Campbell has changed. While I may not agree with Campbell’s specific interpretations of various myths, I do see the structure of the Hero’s Journey as being a valid and useful framework for a writer of science fiction and fantasy. And that is largely why I read him in the first place. 

My issue with Campbell can best be illustrated by the story of Prince Kamar al Zaman. Before his deus ex machina forced love for Princess Burdur, one could interpret Zaman’s refusal to marry as either homosexuality or asexuality. Regardless of how one interprets his sexuality, one should ask themselves why the young prince should marry anyway. And the answer is obvious for Princess Burdur as to why she refuses to marry. But marry they must, so bam, an ifrit driven deus ex machina which forces both young people to fall in love. I have a problem with this story because it makes stark an uncomfortable realization.

The Hero’s Journey is based upon a heteronormative reading of the world. Again, Campbell is a product of his time, but I feel that it is permissible to point this out. How do LGBT people engage in the Hero’s Journey?

Part of me wishes to answer by taking the structure of the Hero’s Journey and interpreting it through other ideological frameworks. How would a more contemporary psychoanalytic framework influence the Hero’s Journey? Or feminism? Or poststructural marxism? Or queer theory? Or postcolonial theory?

Is the Hero’s Journey dependent upon the ideology that gave it birth? Or is the Hero’s Journey independent of the Father?

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find the answer. 

 

I Need a Scourge . . .

Right now, I’m reading rereading Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces. I’m chomping on the bit to unleash, but I’ll hold off until I finish. But reading that book along with a very interesting essay titled “J.R.R. Tolkien: Myths That Never Were and the Worlds That They Became” are getting my creative juices flowing. I just wish I still had my old literary theory books. Namely Michel Foucault. Something is building, but I don’t know what. 

And that is why I need a scourge. What was I thinking? Divesting myself of Foucault was stupid. Of course, I do this stupid stuff on a routine basis. 

Oh well, it’s back to work.

Revising My Opinions

I’m proud of the reviews I’ve written. But I agree with some readers that, perhaps, I should revise some of my reviews. Especially as regards Joseph Campbell’s work. So guess what? 

That’s exactly what I’m going to do. I currently have The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth from the library. So, in the coming week, I plan on reading and watching the two works. And post up my thoughts on each. I am critical of Campbell, but maybe a fresh look will change my opinions.

I’m also wanting to take fresh looks at TrigunKaze no StigmaXNabari no Ou, and several other anime series I’ve reviewed over the past few years.

I’m also wanting to give a second look to Tanith Lee’s Tales from the Flat Earth. I definitely do not think I gave the first three novels a fair shake in my first review. I’m eager to give it a second look.

Furthermore, I want to give a new look to Perdido Street StationThe Scar, and Iron Council

I have other revised reviews planned, but that would be telling.

 

 

 

A Broken Genre? And How Close are Science Fiction and Fantasy?

Science Fiction is in an uncertain place, as a genre, right now. That much is clear as contemporary science fiction writers, with aspirations of literary greatness, struggle with the lowly origins of the genre. But does that mean that science fiction is broken? And can fantasy justifiably be placed in the same metaphoric boat? 

The problem of science fiction’s past gained traction over the past week with Gareth Powell’s guest post on SFSignal.com. This provocative post spawned several responses from fans and writers on both sides of the issue.

When I first encountered the issue, I was convinced that basing an argument centering on a book club that isn’t composed of science fiction fans might not be the best way to prove your point. And when Damian G. Walter, on his blog, called speculative fiction, as a collective genre, “broken” with deliciously lurid language, I was not convinced. 

But thinking further on the issue, and taking my own response to science fiction into account, I starting to lean towards the conclusion that, perhaps, science fiction is broken. And the reasons extend beyond whether or not early science fiction writing is terrible. 

The problem with the classics of science fiction is that they are incredibly dated, not that they are terribly written (though that doesn’t help). And like Auxiliary Memory’s James W. Harris says, “It’s wrong. It’s about futures that will never be. Classic science fiction futures have become my nostalgic past” (Science Fiction: Nostalgic Past v. Dystopian Future). I agree with this statement, even though science fiction should not be held to any form of prophetic accuracy. As much as science fiction “predicts the future,” it is more about exploring the writer’s own present concerns. But that doesn’t excuse works from not ageing well. 

But, and here is a huge but, not all science fiction fans are the same in taste. There are a lot of science fiction fans who prefer the golden age and spurn more recent examples of science fiction. Some of the criticism of Powell’s post lean in this direction, as does the brief notice in Black Gate. The golden age of science fiction both attracts and repels depending on the reader. I myself find science fiction easily dates itself, and renders itself problematic reads. 

Science fiction is broken because it is facing an uncertain future and doesn’t know what stories to tell to reflect that uncertain future. The optimism of the past has given way to a more pessimistic present. But this pessimism cannot be allowed to stand. Dystopia can never be allowed to win. 

A new vision of science fiction is needed. But until that need is answered, science fiction will remain broken.

So far, most of the argument has involved science fiction, but Damian G. Walter lumped fantasy with science fiction when he argued that the three pillars of speculative fiction are broken. He calls fantasy a “faux medieval setting and pulp adventure quest story. Or a way of writing historical fiction that doesn’t require researching history” (All our genres be broken). As i said earlier, deliciously lurid language. But is that enough to prove his case? Can a “severe critic” be so severe that he or she sees doom and gloom, a broken genre, when that isn’t actually the case? 

I can see the case for calling science fiction broken. The sense of uncertainty is tinged with a sense of doom. And this doom has been in science fiction for at least a decade (given how many times Gardner Dozois must declare that, no, science fiction isn’t dead yet). The problem with science fiction is that it doesn’t know where to go. It is tired and (maybe) finding itself redundant in a world where science fiction has become the stuff of the mundane. 

I don’t see that with fantasy. The uncertainty that permeates fantasy promises an explosion of new stories from voices little heard from. Yes, the problem of derivativeness could lead to fantasy being broken. But the direction to a better future is, I think, far brighter for fantasy than it is for science fiction. Do I have hard evidence? No, just a feeling I have. 

In a way, I think the problem with fantasy has more to do with voice. Yes, there is a desire to move fantasy out of the grimdark doldrums, but the more fundamental problem of fantasy is one of gender, one of race, one of ethnicity, and one of sexual orientation. The question hounding fantasy is how will this seemingly conservative genre (and its conservative readers) change as newer and more progressive readers and writers want to tell their stories their way. 

I don’t know where science fiction is going to go, i don’t think anyone does. But I have a good feeling that fantasy will come through its internal fight far stronger and more inclusive than ever. (Not to say that science fiction doesn’t have the same problem that fantasy does, it is just that science fiction has a more existential problem). 

It may not look like it, but both genres are at an exciting place in that the old ways of doing things (either in the form of story or storyteller) are no longer applicable. How will writers in both genres change science fiction and fantasy? I cannot wait to find out.

 

The Four Projects

I’m a fount of ideas, though I often feel I don’t have enough of them. I’m always looking to the next idea to the exclusion of what sits in front of me. To not focus on the project in front of me in favor of chasing (currently) phantom (future) projects is my greatest weakness as a writer.

The superhero fantasy is one of those phantom projects, waiting to be born or waiting to be forgotten. I have so many of them, maybe I should start to sell them?

All kidding aside (maybe), I do have four projects at the moment that I’m aiming to work on. The remainder of this post is to look at them (but without too much detail).

Project One

The project I have that is nearest to being writing ready is a project I’m calling The Goetic High. It is my wizard/ magician focused project set in contemporary Texas, likely Waco and Austin. There will be a few other magical beings running around, but the main focus will be on fictional versions of ceremonial magic, namely goetia, necromancy, alchemy, and demonology. Sounds like there could be a tetralogy. . . 

I have the protagonist set and I’m finally figuring out where the story is going to go. The Goetic High has taught me that perhaps it is better to let an idea grow/ mature at its own pace rather than authoritatively decreeing the plot from above. Maybe this work will change my view of the outline/ pantser dichotomy.

Where did this idea come from? To be honest, I’ve had this idea for years now in many different forms. But I’ve finally gotten it to where I really like how it looks.

Is the work urban fantasy? In that it is (perhaps) primarily set in Austin, then yes, it is an urban fantasy. But I am planning on avoiding as many of the conventions of urban fantasy as I can. 

Project Two

Two Cities. This project is a rather weird one. It is undeniably science fantasy because I’m taking a fantasy city, based on Babylon, and throwing it into 2000s San Francisco. There will be two stories. The first will be the anthropological study of such a city. How would an anthropologist and a sociologist study a city which seems to us modern humans to be the stuff of fantasy? One the other side, for the second story, I want to send the resident gods of that fictional city on a quest to find the gods of our world (if they even exist). This sounds like an awesome idea and I really look forward to writing it.

But I need to do a ton of research. Babylon in all its forms. The languages of Mesopotamia (unless I decide to base the language on another dead tongue). And, of course, I need to have enough so that I can fake being an anthropologist and sociologist in the text. Now that is going to be a fun challenge.

The protagonist and his family are likely to come from a mainstream literary project I was working on for a while. And the search for god plot, though originating here, was briefly moved to its own epic story on a secondary world. But I like it better here, to be perfectly honest. 

Project Three

Part of me wants to write this series as part of my superhero fantasy series. But I also want to keep this idea separate from the superheroes. Namely because I don’t see the protagonist here as being all that much of superhero (in terms of comic book inspired superheroes). This guy is more of a rogue who does equally good and bad actions. 

For the moment, I’m naming this project after the name of the primary protagonist Sebastian Ulrichs. I’ve got the guy’s origin down pat. But figuring out the world and whether this is diesel punk or two-fisted tales is up in the air. 

Like The Goetic High, this idea has been around for a while and has gone through numerous mutations. Originally, I was wanting to set this project in a secondary world. But the more I think about it, the more I get to know Sebastian, the more this project has to be set on Earth in the 1920s and 1930s. But that still doesn’t clear up the question of genre. I’ll clear that up later when I decide how “proto”punk Sebastian is. 

While Sebastian will mainly be an adventurer, there are going to be some fantasy plots (and likely some science fictional plots as well). So, how will I get out of the whole wizard issue? Isn’t The Goetic High meant to be my wizard/ magician focused text? Yes, but I’ve managed to figure out a way to alleviate my concerns. 

Sebastian Ulrichs will be concerned with adventure and the character of the normal primary cast. Magic, when it appears, will be presented as a mysterious and ancient force that has no place in this present world. Meanwhile, The Goetic High will be told from the point of view of the wizards themselves. 

The adventures of Sebastian Ulrichs will be a series of standalone adventures without any great over arching story arc. 

Sebastian is also one of two main protagonists who will be gay. Keeping with tradition, he is likely to have a love interest an adventure, only to leave the relationship by the time of the next adventure. 

Project Four

Bright Light, Deep Shadow is the other one with a main protagonist who is gay. Like The Goetic High and Sebastian Ulrichs, this idea has been around for years. 

This is a portal quest fantasy with science fantasy elements starring a young man from the 2010s being transported to a fantasy world and having adventures. This story is rooted in my old sword and sorcery portal quest idea. Although now, I’m aiming to make this more of an epic story.

I’ve got some ideas for this project that I’m loving. One is that the hero is going to be promiscuous. Another is that the epic quest may be a little longer than our hero might think. But I won’t reveal anything more until I have something concrete written.

Wait though, some readers may say, aren’t two of your projetcts going to be starring rather promiscuous young gay men? Yes, I am. But I think both Sebastian Ulrichs and Tyler Spang can share that character trait while being fundamentally different in personality. Sebastian is a rogue with a bit of villain in him. Tyler, on the other hand, is an untradtional hero. Wait and see.

An “Oh Fuck, Why Can’t I Write All Four at Once?” Conclusion

That. These four projects each have me hyper excited to start writing them. But I doubt I could write all four at once. Or even more than one. I could try to write one and research the others. Or something.

I do, though, have a vague idea of when each will be written. The Goetic High will come first as the most ready to be written. Sebastian Ulrichs is a little further down the line. Bright Light, Deep Shadow needs some more research. And Two Cities needs a fucking ton, so it will come last. 

Now, if you excuse me, I have The Goetic High to write.