Interviewing Trey #2

This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series Interviewing Trey

Part two of Interviewing Trey, and the first part where we really get to know the Jack O’Knaves.

For those who’ve read Interviewing Leather, there’s one significant difference that will become apparent in this post. Leather was a thief, pure and simple. She didn’t just avoid killing, she went out of her way to not kill.

The Jack O’Knaves is under no such restriction, and this is very apparent starting… now.

Notes on this will follow, of course.

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Prosperina: A Mythology of the Modern World Holiday Special

This entry is part 18 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

We have returned, with a special myth. It’s also a long one, to warn — though I don’t think people will complain. Unless, of course, they do. People find the time to complain, sometimes.

This is a holiday special, though the holiday in question is somewhat vague. I don’t think we can call it Christmas, or Yule, or even Agnostica. I think it’s just ‘winter,’ since this is after all a myth about winter. This is a special, in part, because it steps away from the normal mission of these our myths of the modern world.

This is, in short, a recognizable myth to a lot of you. A myth of the ancient world. But I like to think that the retelling makes it a bit modern in other ways. And if it’s recognizable, I also like to think there are ways that it isn’t.

It concerns the changing of the seasons. Which sometimes means the changing of autumn to winter. And sometimes means changes of another kind entirely. It’s called Prosperina.

I hope you like it.

And yes, this should mean we’re back. Thank you for your patience, all.

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Why are there Suburbs?

This entry is part 16 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

And good morning… to you.

Today’s myth comes to us from “zeruslord” (who, I am given to understand, is Lord of Zerus, and there is no doubt one does not want to be on the bad side of the Lord of Zerus, so you’ll understand if I answer the request, I trust. Mythologists have to err on the side of caution where Locii are involved). And zeruslord asks:

why do humans have cities and suburbs? I’m mostly talking about the outermost suburbs, like how all of New Jersey is a suburb of New York, and people are commuting from Front Royal into DC, and Los Angeles exists at all. Why are people willing to drive for hours to get to their job? why don’t the jobs move out faster?

It is a good question, really. After all, cities were meant to centralize humanity, giving them greater access to work, goods and services. So, why would men, women and families intentionally go farther afield, sacrificing convenience and adding hours to their workday in the form of “the commute?” Why would they restrict their potential mass transit options to what is in their suburb (or to their car), despite the price of gasoline and maintenance and the environmental impact and all the rest? What, in the end, is the deal?

Well, you probably shouldn’t be surprised to learn it’s all thanks to a jurisdictional dispute. So let’s leap right into it, shall we?

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The Shal Mari Blues: A fragment

We continue a week where work is being… well, workish. No complaints. The start of the year is going significantly better than I could have feared. Still, there is much to be done and not much time to work here.

So, this is another incomplete story — the first chapter of an extended fanfic I never wrote a second chapter for. As with a lot of fan fiction I did over the last decade or so, this one’s based on In Nomine, but rereading it now it seems to me it stands on its own, more or less. The non-In Nomine fan might not get every reference, but I think pretty much everything is explained by context. You don’t really need to know what Essence is, for example — just that it’s useful, souls have it and demons want it.

Shal Mari appeared in my last In Nomine story here as well — Shal Mari Apres Vie: Or This Ain’t Bat Country. As with that story, Shal Mari is the grand city of Hell — the closest thing Hell comes to a nice place or a good face. Only, naturally, it’s Hell so it’s neither nice nor good in the end. There was some feeling, back a few years, that Heaven and Hell were woefully underdescribed in the official supplements, and this was one of my drivers for writing the Shal Mari Blues. I wanted to talk about… well, Hell, from the point of view of the poor schmuck condemned to it. And, because I find societies interesting, I wanted to actually examine the society that would form around damnation. Especially when damned souls themselves were valuable to demons without themselves being of value to demons.

Anyway, this is a story about Hell, so expect nasty language, concepts, mature themes and all the rest. But then, the site does have a disclaimer, now doesn’t it?

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Dog Reincarnation

This entry is part 12 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

It’s Monday and therefore the Myth. And the Myth is a thing that comes with a Monday.

This week, we get our Myth from long time friend of the writing Kirabug, who asks us:

Why does every small (15lb or less) dog I meet seem to think she’s 150lbs?

Now, interestingly enough, there is a specific answer to the specific question that Kirabug’s asking. That answer is, of course, that Kirabug is to dogs as mushrooms are to Mario. When a dog gets near her, it immediately grows 10 times its size — at least emotionally. So, if I’ve managed to make Kirabug subconsciously hear the theme music to Super Mario Bros. as she walks down the street from now on, I will consider myself a success in life.

But there is a much more general principle at work here. I mean, for such expansive thoughts to be triggered by Kirabug walking by, there is clearly a universal element at work. And we have all seen examples of tiny dogs acting like they’re huge. And for that matter, huge dogs thinking they’re tiny. The animals clearly don’t have a coherent body image, and while it’s easy to think that stems from their brains being far less developed than human brains and therefore incapable of really good complex thought, as it turns out that’s only part of the story. The rest of the story really rests on the story… of Dog Reincarnation.

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The Arrogant Writer and the Beached Mermaid

This entry is part 9 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

Welcome once again to the Myth of the Week. I’ve been putting together a list of myth requests from those folks what answered the last couple of open calls, to make sure I don’t forget any of the ones I can answer (sadly, I don’t always have the answer. I wish that I did.)

What I find interesting this time, however, is that two of the recent requests… well, fit together. First was Moe Lane, who is always knowledgable and cool. And he asked, because he wanted to:

If Magick is a matter of Will and Imagination, then why don’t the great writers live forever?

An excellent question. One often pondered at the back ends of parking lots and in the OOP areas of LARPS since at least the mid-nineties. And one that is singularly difficult to answer.

But as I said, there was another question raised. In fact, the very next question, raised by Joel Wilcox:

Why do 99.9% of webcomics suck?

Statistically improbable? Sure. But a valid question. Mr. Lane jumped right back in, however, to say (and I quote):

Dude, 90% of *everything* sucks. Sounds fishy, sure, but it’s like a law, and everything.

Now, Mr. Lane is a solid writer in his own right. As Mr. Wilcox may be as well. I don’t mean to make this a Moe Lane tribute. But as I know Mr. Lane better, it’s easier for me to discuss such things with and about him. And one thing I know for certain is that Mr. Lane is himself a bit of a mythologist. He has intuited his fair share of things, not the least of which involves Marilyn Monroe’s post-rictus career as a vampire hunter.

But I digress.

Regardless, without even realizing it, Mr. Lane had seen a hint — just the tiniest hint — of his own answer. Which I’ll be glad to tell you in a story we like to call…

The Arrogant Writer and the Beached Mermaid.

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Dreamers (a fragment)

This is a story fragment — one I wrote in the mid 1990’s.

I assume.

It’s in my style. It’s in my files. It’s definitely one of mine from the Kinko’s years. And I have absolutely no memory of it.

It’s not impossible it was something I discussed with my friend Mason Kramer, or perhaps my friend Chris Angelini, or also perhaps my friend Gary Olson, as they were all writing for Superguy at the time — as was I, as has been detailed elsewhere — and both dealt quite a lot with dreamers and dreamweavers.

Though this doesn’t seem to be about the same thing at all.

I don’t think that’s where I intended to stop the story. I assume I meant to write more. But I have no idea. I don’t remember this at all.

So. I pass it to you, for your thoughts and impressions. Should I pursue this one? Should I not? Should I have… pie?

Let me know. And please enjoy.

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Why do some people stay on the train past the end of the line?

This entry is part 8 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

Monday as always is Mythology day, and it’s that time once again. (And who expected we’d still be keeping this up all these weeks later?)

Today’s myth offering answers a question posed by a fellow called CrazyDave. And you know, I’m not about to mess with him. Guy’s crazy. I was going to go with a different myth this time out, but then he posted this to the last open forum and it just hit me right between the eyes. He writes:

Who are those people who don’t get off when a train reaches the end of the line? (Happens all the time on the Central Line to Ealing Broadway).

As it turns out, there’s a good answer to that, though I rephrased the question just slightly. I’m like that. So, the question is: why do some people stay on the train past the end of the line?

The answer? Follows. Because I am going to tell you.

I kind of like this one. It goes all the way back to story, with actually fewer digressions than normal. Let me know what you think.

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Death is a Moving Target

Not too long ago, David Malki !, Ryan North and Matthew Bennardo put out a call of submissions for a new high concept short story collection called Machine of Death. The concept was simple. A machine had been invented that would give a simple, albeit mysterious, answer to the question “how am I going to die?” It was based on an entry in Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics.

I was fascinated, because I had always enjoyed the classic Heinlein short story “Life Line.” Which was based on the invention of a machine that would tell you exactly when you would die. And was the first short story Heinlein ever published.

So I lept into writing a story to submit for the collection. And after forty-five hundred words it was ready.

The problem was, I had written an updating of “Life Line,” operating from an entirely different principle. See, “Life Line” had detailed the reaction of the world — most exactly the insurance industry — into this discovery of the moment of death. And that fascinated me. Besides, I didn’t think there were enough dark fantasy/sf stories about actuaries.

Which meant my high concept wasn’t the high concept. I had a story about a machine that would predict the moment of death, barring lifestyle change or misadventure.

So I wrote another story to submit. And then, right as it was ready for submission (and had been read by several people with advice), I hit the same dry period that the rest of my writing and online contact hit, and so it never went to them. Ah well, I’ll include it here sometime.

In the meantime, please enjoy “Death is a Moving Target.”

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Antonio: The Calabite’s Song

It’s storytelling day! And this is a bit different for it — this is an In Nomine piece — a bit of fan fiction. And who’s to say I can’t post some fan fiction now and again? It’s long — novella length, around twelve thousand words. Normally, I’d break it into more than one part for this venue, but I think it works better in its full form.

I actually think this is a pretty good story. Good enough that I’m sad it has absolutely no prospects for sale, since it’s fan fiction and it’s very vested in the In Nomine intellectual property. It’s also something I wrote as kind of a culmination on the work I did on In Nomine Superiors 4: Rogues to Riches. I wrote an extended writeup of Alaemon, the Demon Prince of Secrets.

This is a story of one Alaemon’s demons. A calabite — one of the demons of destruction, who can destroy with a glance (though the universe — or Symphony — would take notice). Paranoia is a part of daily life in Alaemon’s Conspiracy.

Most everything else should be self explanatory. If not, ask a question in comments and I’ll try to answer it.

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