The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

Now Playing: A Two-Network Double Whammy

Chapter Sixteen of SILVER BROWN shall be presented to the fine folks of Planet Earth, via Twitter. At a rate of one page a day, like always. It is a relatively short chapter, so it will be followed immediately by an encore presentation of Chapter Thirteen on Facebook. I have something more grandiose planned for the summer, so I wanted to keep things light this time around.

In case you’re not clear on the context, Chapter Sixteen opens with two witches standing in front of a mysterious toolshed on the forest island of ₪EYONUGHIISHI, the elder witch having just cast a spell to summon a colossal faceless entity that lives within the toolshed’s TARDIS-like interior…


The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

Now Playing: Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen

A brand-spankin’ new year has arrived. Immediately following a year that has seen all manner of weird. To kick things off right, Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen of SILVER BROWN are presently being tweeted for the reading enjoyment of the fine folks of Planet Earth, at a rate of one page a day. These chapters are chock full of exposition and flashbacks, and are set on a forested island inhabited by flesh-eating beetles. There’s a colossal subterranean faceless entity in there too, manifesting somewhere in the last few sentences. Which might not seem so strange, after the year we’ve just been through. If the earth’s gravitational pull should suddenly and inexplicably fail, or vast armies of arachnoid hostiles from somewhere beyond Canis Major should mass-impregnate our women, it’ll probably be seen as a minor inconvenience in our post-2020 world. Like losing one’s car keys. 


The Journey of SILVER BROWN

If The Aliens Don’t Conquer Us We’ll Invent iDæmons

A number of years ago I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I would give it three stars out of five. It teetered into hokey territory in places, and a few of the plot twists were a little too deus ex machina for my taste (somebody conveniently swoops in to save the day whenever Lyra finds herself up shit creek without a paddle). But the concepts and plot devices were interesting at least. The story is set across several different parallel universes, the heroine hailing from a reality where every person’s spirit animal (referred to as a dæmon) walks, slithers, hops, swims, crawls or flies in close proximity to the person at all times. The dæmons can talk to their humans and give kindly advice, but their human is the only one who can hear them speak…

…which somewhat vaguely recalls Ozmodiar, the tiny green space alien that only Homer can see.

Some variant of that concept would inevitably find its way into my own writing. The dæmons in my particular story are depicted as software applications, running within the simulated world in which it is set. Whether or not other people can hear these things speak is an adjustable setting. Like airplane mode, or the wallpaper on your desktop.

The idea of having a human dæmon for a character who is not human was used as a plot device for exactly one scene in the first volume of His Dark Materials, but was never explored more fully beyond that. So I decided to run with it in my own yarn. One of the antagonists is a colossal invertebrate with no vocal apparatus of any sort. Its language is entirely olfactory, comprised of odors it emits through its breath and slime trails and territorial musk. Odors capable of conveying all manner of idea from the mundane to the philosophical, but are mostly undetectable to humans save the ones that smell obscenely bad. Thus it needs a companion humanoid entity to follow it around wherever it goes, translating its odors into something humans can understand…

Kind of like this guy, but with slightly more charm.