Monday, September 03, 2007

Clearing the backlog

Merry Fathers’ Day to all you dads for yesterday.

I am going to take a moment this Monday arvo to answer some of the lingering questions. I do not think I will get all of them but I hope this handful will cut it for those interested persons.

To start, a few of Mr giantfan’s many inquiries:

“As asked a while ago I was wondering about the religions…”

Hmm, religions and spirituality in the Hc is the big, little explored frontier in my thinking. My understandings as a Christian certainly informs my ideas and I very much look to Messers Tolkien and Lewis for guidance when it comes to the esoteric in a secondary world – how one satisfies ones own beliefs without preaching. I most definitely do not intend MBT as some kind of allegory – I too dislike it when I detect it, yet the problem of the universal ideas of the religious, the philosophical, the soulful, of what people believe, of right ways and wrong ways of thinking need to be considered, tackled, delineated, even if only for my own ellucidation. Certainly there are the falsegods, those massive, mis-shapen, deep-ocean dwelling monsters who once ruled whole peoples and wrestled with men and the urchin-lords (the nimuines) until they were driven from the land into the deeps. Other monsters too have probably been lionized and adored and sacrificed to over the centuries – I can see some wicked brodchin-beast terrorizing some remote, backward community, satisfied by some sacrifice of tender young flesh (ick!) Then there is universalism – the idea of a godless, clockwork cosmos and the supremacy of human thought.

Then there is the hardest concept for me, that of the actual origin of the Alltgird, the world of which the Half-Continent is but a part: How did it get there? Why is there good and evil in the world? Where do the monsters come from? Why are there good the bad and the indifferent? And many such notions. I am still puzzling it all out – all a part of the fun of secondary world invention, and you get to watch me do it. The Hc and its surrounds are certainly not a complete idea, there is still so much work needed to make it function, so many gaps yet to fill.

“I'd also like to check on if that expanded map may come out with this book whether poster that you bye separate or with the book? Or whether the publishers are still sitting on the idea?”

I think that publishers these days struggle with the idea of posters (they just are not the fad they once were when I was a lad) and the next best solution is that website I keep promising. As with so much to do with the Hc, the gap betwixt my wishes and the practicalities of implementation rarely correlate. I truly hope a poster of the map is published one day: the full thing measures 1 metre x 800 mm and looks great framed (yes, I have one on my wall – a very useful tool for reference) – which is why it has not reproduced as well as I would have liked in the books. What was I thinking making it that big and hard to produce!?!?

“Were is southern Verid Litus could you give us a picture or something? (Note to self check to see if there are pics in book)”

The southern Verid Litus can be easily found on the existing map – it is quite simply the southern half of the Verid Litus (which means lit. “eastern coastlands”) consisting of such lands as the Verd Antique, the Laurent, Five Drains, Nought, Dice and Attica of old – to name a few. Essentially it is all the lands south of the mystic river Ix and north of the river Stivenrot. You’ll find it on Map 4 at the back of Foundling (p 429 I think) though it is – I confess – not easy to read all of the names there.

“Could we have a bit more info on The path of the Signal Stars?”

By this I am assuming you mean the Navigationals, the Signals of Paths used by canny folks to find their way about at night. You’ll have to wait for more info on this I am afraid – time has run out.

He would also like a preview of Book 2: “I think you’ve been asked this a few times and I know that publishers get first and last say on but how bout it?”

No previews of Book 2, sorry – I may get back to you on this but do not hold your breath.

Nina said... “I just finished Book One and enjoyed it immensely. I think it would make a fantastic campaign setting for a role playing game (RPG). There's got to be some money in it - you could ask your publisher. Check out Iron Kingdoms from Privateer Press. Their milieu is similar in some ways (pistoleers) to the HC but quite different in others (nothing like the fulghars). Have you considered and RPG addition to the franchise?”

An excellent question. Though I do not really rp any more, I did once, even going as far as producing 3 different rp systems and settings. Indeed, fulgars and skolds are (in an altered form) leftovers from those heady early years; the Hc has some of its roots very much in my rp-ing days. Consequently, it is in some small part my intention in with explicariums at the back of each MBT to give enough information to those determined enough to use as source material for a campaign setting in whatever rule system they like. I kinda want people to play around with the concepts whether rp-ing, writing, drawing – I have discovered one piece of fan fic for MBT, which was an odd experience. I do have, as part of the debris of those former years, a rudimentary rp system but do not plan on developing it into a fully realized game.

Indeed, I do not think my publishers are in the role-playing way of thinking anyways. Sorry about this, though I do hope the explicariums in Lamplighter (currently about as long as the explicarium in Foundling) and Book 3 will provide enough info for any campaigning needs. A little while ago I actually had a brief trade of emails with a fellow from Privateer Press Iron Kingdoms – a pleasant exchange (and apologies for I have forgotten his name… =/) – and would very much like to play a round or two of the game.

I find steam-punk very appealing and the way it is handled in Iron Kingdoms very tasty indeed, but I must confess that I do not see the Hc as a steam-punk world, and certainly there is no magic in the typical, D&D sense; I have actually been somewhat deliberate in steering away from the genre some, though overlap has been unavoidable. Yet my use of tricorns and flintlocks comes more from my enjoyment of Nelson’s navy and such inventions as gastrines and seltzer lamps and potives and fulgars are all a part of my attempts to define a distinct notion. Never-the-less comparison is a part of the process of assimilation and I share many of the same inspirational sources as the fine fellows over at Privateer Press.

Originality is a difficult and flighty bird, but I do strive to achieve as fresh a combination of the things that inspire as best I can, working and reworking and rethinking as much as I can to produce my own version of the vision.

I am currently about a third of the way through notebook 30, for those who want to know, and at the moment I am really puzzling through where to take Book 3. One of my more recent entries in nb#30 is about how coaches in the Hc do not have glass in their windows “… as this shatters too easily” – or so I wrote – “& so poses a risk to the occupants. Instead lights (by which I mean windows) of a carriage are shuttered with various slides and blinds an movable, lockable grilles…” I have also been puzzling over the whole creation story of the Hc, of the why of men v monsters and the divisions in the monsters themselves. This is a neat segue to the following picture...

This is the Spider Queen – also known as the Duchess of Spiders, the Arean Dutrix, the Spinnerling – a monster-lord known as a petchinin (or tlephathine), mighty creatures who are ambivalent about mankind, seeking neither the harm nor help but simply wanting nothing to do with everymen. Yet even in this ambivalence their wrath is terrible should they perceive a threat to their demesne – then they take on the nature of the cousin wretchin-lords, vengeful and swift in their cruelty. The Spider Queen rules from the Spinningwood in the Undermeer on the south-eastern banks of Slithermeer Swamp, keeping hidden in the forest deeps, protected by the thorny woods and frightful whispers of her unseen threat.

Today I will not tell you what I had for breakfast, just to mix things up a bit.

Here at last a solution to madbomber’s poser in – Half-Continent synonyms for real-world terms #010

editor = I came up with a neat term when addressing Celia Jellet (my most excellent editor here in Ozland, and Mister Travaglini (in the ol’ US of A) calling them verbemenders (“word alterers”) but that does not quite fit the bill I think – too obvious to my thinking. So I sat and thought and dug about and pulled out old note books and have begun to devise a whole hierarchy for the publishing “industry” in the Hc. So you have literarians, who publish serious works, and gazeteers, who provide the thinner works, such as the pamphlets Rossamünd enjoys. Now either of these might work on their own or be a part of a pressing house, which is essentially a publisher and printer in one establishment. Whether gazeteer or literarian, you will find emenders or formators (or formatrix for the girls) and these are your editors. Of these there will be a master formator, with two or three emenders and several under-formators in his/her charge; there are even freelancers known as emenders-at-large. Working the presses are the master plateman who has rule over the pressplates, under-platemen and the printing presses themselves. In more historied times the fore-runners of the literarian/emender was known as a glossapract, a publisher and editor in one, originally in Imperial employ to publish the bulls and banns of Imperial edict. Indeed, such fellows still exist as do such bulls and banns.

See what a helpful thing your word challenges are! (Well, I think they are anyways…)

And quickly, to Andre: it was my privilege to offer support - indeed, I am rather chuffed I could actually prove to helpful to another. Wonders will never cease.


madbomber said...

Gday mate,

haha my cunning question has confuzlled and baffled you! I asked about a 'publisher' in HC not editor.


I like your explanation of editors, it makes a lot of sense.

Next query it raises with me is if there is a hierarchical system, who is it that censors work? And leading away from there what is it that gets censored? I take it that liberal works regarding maybe monster 'loving' could be frowned upon? Is there a sector in the society that promotes an underground kind of book buying? I would assume there would be, but what is it that people want to read about that they wouldn't get ordinarily?

It's also interesting that you mention proper literaries and then the 'other' kind that Rossamund reads. So comics don't cut it for literature, or short stories? Heaven forbid there may be some form of writing that is marketed at women, and includes romantic comedy, or other women themes!

Which leads onto, do books get marketed in HC? Crikey I'd better stop now...

Well done for keeping another deadline, I hope it keeps up. Cos now I've got you once, Im gonna see if I can baffle you again!


cheers Bomber

D.M. Cornish said...

Ah - bugger... Well a publisher is a literarian. As to the rest of this - I think I shall tell some more next post and maybe save the rest for books that may or may not be published. Excellent, thought-provoking stuff. I still have to get those bad reviews to you. I wonder if I should put links to them from the blog, to make it a bit more balanced..?

Anonymous said...

how do gulders guld lol well thats it one question not big or anything just small

Nate said...

who does the illustration work in the HC?

Anonymous said...

dude i thought your blog was going to come out more offten now

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmmmmmmm! what going on d.m
you fallen off the edge of the planet and died?
if so how rude and careless of you to doso before givein us Lamplighter and the third book

Anonymous said...

carn the pies

Anonymous said...

ok are you all wright?

Anonymous said...

With regard to a poster, you might be interested to know that allows you to make and sell your own posters online up to 60cm x 90cm.

And Zazzle allows posters up to 130 cm square!

There's no set up cost or up-front charges, you'd just upload your digital artwork and link to it from your site.

Then you set the amount you want to earn from each poster, and that is added to the production cost for the site.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness. The Duchess of Spiders... I have the chills... What is our hapless sometime concometrist getting into...?