I’m somewhat stalled in a Western novella, but making slow progress.
I’ve started outlining (!) a fantasy novel, but I haven’t committed to starting on it yet.
The fifth Chapter of the The Meditations of Caius Caligulia is going well, and will be in the next issue of Unnamed Journal. UJ is going to be next-levelling pretty soon, I’ll devote a post to that later this week.
There’s probably going to be a Drunk Vampire Hunter story in there as well. Which reminds me, I should devote a post to Drunk Vampire Hunter, as it’s one of my favorite new things to play with in UJ. It might become a novel at some point as well.
Unnamed Journal has finished four volumes and is about to start its fifth. It’s gotten into a nice steady rhythm now. I enjoy the process of creating it. Short fiction and essays are always a challenge worth grappling with.
But it wouldn’t be UJ if we weren’t thinking about how we could improve it. A couple of things have been under serious, two-beers-in discussion:
Opening Up Submissions. We’ve been producing everything in-house so far, except for one or two outside-written pieces. We’re open to having a place for other people’s wierd fiction, driven snark, and long-form jokes.
Charging for Subscriptions. There’s a point at which giving it away for free loses its luster. Producing a literary magazine and a podcast does take some work. So we’re looking at Patreon as a possible solution, as well as others.
I suspect that if we do one of these, we’ll probably do both, as they both kind of fulfill the need to grow UJ to the next level. But everything’s on the table at this point, including staying the current course of a quarterly free lit mag.
There’s an entire subculture of fantasy map-making and world-building, because Tolkein and Gygax together hammered into the genre of epic fantasy literature and gaming the need for a world to have an all-encompassing backstory, including a theogyny.
I’ve been farting around with a fantasy world of my own devising, known as Cevalon, since I was about 14. I’ve even written a novel set in that universe, which I still find interesting, and may, with some extensive editing, see the light of day. More likely, the first novel of that series will be set several thousand years before that. Because I’ve got backstory. I’ve even got the theogyny. It’s a riff off the Hindu Trimurti, with a Mother/Creator Goddess, a Protector God of Craft and Knowledge, and a Destroyer God of Fire and Renewal. There’s a bit of family drama between them, and the Destroyer God is that touch more Satanic, but…
Some of the stories I’ve written for Unnamed Journal, the Tygg and Drea stories — The Dying Goddess, The Barbarian on the Shore, and most recently The Sword in the Cave — are set in this universe. They take place on the periphery, so I’ve kind of expanded the geography of the world. This is as it should be.
For my birthday I got a How-To guide for drawing fantasy maps, which has inspired me to go back to my old maps and kind of rejuvenate them. This has been in my mind for a while, but I will enjoy nerding out all over it.
It’s obligatory to do Seasonal-themed issues of a lit mag, and as much as I enjoy bucking trends, I also enjoy bucking the need to buck trends, because contrarianism knows no bounds.
This is one of our longer issues, as one of the four pieces is a radio script, and the other is almost 7,000 words. The other two come in at about 2,000 words, which is pretty standard for a piece of short fiction.
In the last issue of UJ, I penned an essay about how I felt regarding the end of Game of Thrones. In that essay, I argued that the spirit of Martin’s work is essentially pagan, and the influence of Robert Howard is far more present than that of Tolkein, who filled his work with a Catholic ethos. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: Beowulf is at least as pagan as it is Christian (anyone who argues that it’s basically a pagan worldview with Christian seasoning won’t get much argument from me), and it’s a rich epic. But it ends on a down note, one of death and fear and cold. So does Game of Thrones, which has its one incorruptible hero cast aside like trash, basically so the show could pull one more sucker punch.
I am not a believer in any afterlife, and I don’t think that Gardner was either… so as nice as it would be to think that he was looking down on us from the Secret Pro Party in the Sky, I can’t.
And there you have it, really. Death is a sleep. The Void is King. Jon Snow was always going to become Nothing, because there’s nothing out there to become.
Which makes me start to doubt about his commitment to finishing. Especially since he’s teasing his fans as to the damn prequel series for HBO. In some part of his mind, A Song of Ice and Fire is already finished, and the idea of putting in the work to actually finish it feels like a gigantic slog. This whole thing was over the minute the series overtook the books.
Unnamed Journalhas been kicking a long for a few years now, and I’m mighty glad of it. As a creative outlet, as a process of marketing and stamping your corner of the internet, it has been invaluable. Not only did draft chapters of Void and Last Tomorrow first appear on UJ, but it’s given me a platform to create The Meditations of Caius Caligulia, a project I never thought I’d actually get off the ground, and has caused me to slowly build up my own homebrew space opera universe, short story by short story.
And that past tense doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere. Far From it.
If anything, UJ, currently a quarterly literary journal, is going to be expanding into other realms: a podcast, possibly a larger publishing arm. These things are in the future, and the details have yet to be hashed out. But UJ has a acheived a stable output, and we can only build from here.
Actually, Thomas Fitz hates tomatoes, but Caligulia is there for his politcal theory and and we start rounding the bend on the third act of Ulysses and the Fugitive. It’s a strong issue. Read it here for free.