Immortals of the Cannibal Coast, a collaboration between author Martin Edward Stephenson and myself, has been picked up for inclusion in the third issue of Dark Worlds.
The heroine of the short story is Tarajel, a former Southern Raider who has taken to pirating and plundering Thraxian slaver ships. With a Thraxian warship in pursuit and a storm raging, her own ship founders on the reefs of the Cannibal Coast and things get worse from there...
Tarajel is Martin Stephenson's creation and originally appeared in the short stories Temple of the Mandricanth and The Storm Jewel, which appeared at Pulp and Dagger and through Electronic Tales.
I've collaborated with other authors before, but Martin and I approached things a bit differently than I've done in the past. We constructed an outline of the story and then alternated the writing of the chapters. Of course, I'll let everyone know when Dark Worlds #3 becomes available. In the meantime you might like to check out Dark Worlds #1 and #2 (available in electronic or hard copy format), which contain my space opera tale The Investment, and Lords of the Bitter Dark--a sneak peek at my upcoming fantasy novel, Through the Groaning Earth.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I was perusing a posting about the Green Star series of books by Lin Carter on the Dark Worlds blog the other day, and was pleasantly surprised to find a mention of my Dire Planet series.
I might not have been too pleased had it been in a negative context, but since it was quite positive I thought I'd share the link.
GW Thomas, the author of the posting lumps both the Green Star and Dire Planet series of novels into what he considers Burroughs ' inspired stories--and I'm going to have to agree with him on Dire Planet. When I set out writing it I was trying to recapture that sense of adventure and wonderment that I felt when I first read Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter Warlord of Mars books.
The Dire Planet books can be picked up at Amazon.com, PulpworkPress.com, and in various digital formats at Fictionwise.com.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A little while back a short story by author Josh Reynolds, in which he incorporates such real life and fictional characters as Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (among others) got me to wondering how someone who was not familiar with those characters or historical figures would perceive the story.
This question was of particular interest to me because I recently wrote a story in which the historical Wyatt Earp encounters my fictional character, Lone Crow, and they spend some time encountering strange secrets beneath the freezing Alaskan tundra.
In pondering Josh Reynold's Mr. Brass and the Crimson Skies of Kansas I think that he is able to pull off the use of real historical figures and public domain fictional characters because he is able to imbue them with enough personality that we get to know the character, whether or not we were ever familiar with them in the first place. Being familiar with them is just a layer of icing on his literary confection.
I was able to contrast Reynold's work with the first couple chapters of a short novel, The Eldritch New Adventures of Becky Sharp, in which the main character is derived from a literary work I am unfamiliar with--namely, William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1947 novel, Vanity Fair. The author is able to effectively illustrate Sharp's character, but he quickly maneuvers her into an encounter with She--the title character of an H Rider Haggard novel written around the turn of the century (not this century but the one previous).
Now, I had previously read this particular Haggard novel, but it had been a few years--so though I recognized the character, I realized that this new author who had appropriated She was relying (either purposely or accidentally) on the reader's knowledge of the character to serve as a kind of shorthand to fill in She's characteristics. Even though I had some knowledge of the character, I didn't feel like the insertion of She worked within the story, because She was only vaguely drawn in this particular novel.
The Eldritch New Adventures of Becky Sharp is full of borrowed literary characters and is getting great reviews elsewhere, but I suspect that in this case a strong familiarity with those borrowed literary characters is required for a full enjoyment of the novel.
The summation of my ponderings on borrowing characters from history and public domain is that the author needs to be careful to draw the character into full life and not depend upon the reader's previous knowledge of the character. If the author can pull it off it adds an extra bit of spice in the story, but if the author fails to flesh out the borrowed characters the informed reader is left bored and the uninformed reader mystified.