I have been reconsidering what can be done with lost-world and ancient civilisation narratives. And I realised that an imagined setting I was working on, of a magical school in an ultimately colonial age, could stand to be shaken up a little.
Thus I wrote this, about an emissary of a lost civilisation making his existence known to the world. It is a direct sequel to Lunch at the Real…
The inspiration for this story came from the aesthetics of Dishonored 2, which took steampunk and industrial fantasy into the Mediterranean; there was a lot to like about this, and I simply ran with the inspiration it invited into a magic-school setting.
This is, effectively, a rewrite of a story I wrote on this blog a long time ago, Thanks. I thought Thanks was a decent enough piece of writing, but I wanted to try and make it more descriptive, more of an attempt to paint an immediate scene rather than anything else. To try and communicate a wide range of feelings and sensations, to paint a picture with more senses.
And to decouple “realism” in military science-fiction from pessimism and cynicism and darkness and just paint it as bathetic routine and minor irritations, with a bit of humanity.
I’d like to extend some thanks to @schneiderheim on Twitter for helping proofread this.
Everything continues to build towards the big race, yet the most interesting thing I found when writing this was how it let me throw down in words, in safe, science-fiction form, snapshots of my own introspection.
While this is, throughout, a work of colourful fantasy, I think it is from these chapters onwards where I let a little more of my own doubts and memories cloud the characters.
I often find myself returning to the themes of the gothic novel; I find their ideas of power abused and stifling social traditions forcing tragedy upon the innocent fascinating. I think those themes offer a far more interesting avenue for dark fantasy than miserablism and sociopathy; arguing from the position that everyone is compromised and base is less interesting than taking the stance that evil can come from within, from the inability to understand the desires and freedoms of others.
Thus I wrote this, a gradual destruction of a past friendship that itself was not what it seemed.
At the end of the day, Garden of Eden is a novel about chance encounters and the new friends waiting to be made in groups you thought familiar. It’s about the excitement of being somewhere, being part of something.
It’s been a while since I did any new creative writing and this is my first attempt in a while; something vague and dreamlike, written more to evoke a mood than much else. I feel it could go into some more concrete direction, but that would be another story for another time.
The experience of live music is dreamlike, intense and memorable. This is a chapter that tries to communicate that, while also offering a little calmer activity beforehand.
The Grey Cliff chapters of Garden of Eden were where things kicked off in all directions, where I tried to capture the excitement of meeting people, of finding new things, of everything that could happen.
For the characters it isn’t necessarily a new experience, but I wanted it to feel like even so, there were surprises.
The second half of Garden of Eden is ostensibly about a race. It’s more about how just the right things at the right time can lead to new friendships and a new life.