Yes, I know I only checked in a couple of weeks ago, but man have things uncorked here! This is Rumor Control; here are the facts.
Status: Current work-in-progress.
Stopping halfway through and rewinding -- a "draft 1.1" situation -- was the smartest thing I could have done for this story. Already I've made major corrective changes and clarified plans for how it needs to unfold.
One thing that really shaped the need to stop and restart was a clarification of the story's framing and intentions. When I first started it, its main framing was something along the lines of "what if a fantasy story woke up and realized with horror it was actually a cyberpunk story?"
Later, as I waded deeper into the story, I found this framing was useful but by no means the only thing. It opened the door to the real substance of the story, which was about slavery and colonialism and related subjects. And in a way I hope that is not too on-the-nose, but as lively and fiery and messy as those things tend to be in the real world.
I mentioned before what kept this project back-burnered for such a long time was my absolute inability to describe it coherently. Well, now I can describe it semi-coherently. PROGRESS!
Somewhere -- in the same way "whatever lies beyond the sky" is "somewhere" -- there exists a place that is a kind of hybrid of city-state, vacation resort, and island paradise, Pavilion 7. There, refugees from any number of other non-realities -- products of fantasy imaginations, where they were the fantasies (erotic or otherwise) -- find sanctuary, with a little effort. Outcasts, rejects, the oppressed -- those who could not live even in the dreams of others can go to "P7" and find liberation, freedom, safety, fulfillment with others who are rejects like them. Each of them were created to fulfill some impossible desire, and when the dreamer of that desire realized no fulfillment was possible, they were cast out.
What the refugees of P7 find in time is how P7 itself is the product of yet another impossible desire. They are all still in someone else's head, someone who exists in a civilization and world that is in existential peril. Ours. And so their self-imposed mission goes from merely protecting the other refugees to a jailbreak. They must find their way out into our world, through us. Even if only one of them ever makes it.
(Told you this was a weird one.)
Points of reference:
(Yes! We have prototype cover art for this!)
This is a resurrection of a much older project I wrote, shelved, pulled back out once, shelved again, and now have returned to with clear enough eyes that I can probably do justice to it. It is an attempt at a fantasy story, but one that draws more from the likes of Apuleius's The Golden Ass than from any of the current fantasies, whether they draw from the likes of Tolkien (or the Eddas, for that matter) or even the Outlaws of the Marsh. That last being something else I'd like to nod towards in good time, actually.
(No art yet.)
As per my earlier report, this story is about the idea of matter transmission, but with the twist that it was used to build a galaxy-wide transportation nexus -- only to have it spontaneously stop working one day, and then, decades later, just as spontaneously start up again. The only thing more dangerous than a door you can't open when you need to is a door that flies open when you least expect it.
My chief problem isn't with the overall arc of the story, but rather with the people at the center of it. Or, rather, with the person that should be at the center of it, the protagonist. Several candidates for protagonist have come and gone, and the one I'm left with simply doesn't have enough at their center to sustain a story.
I've been in this elevator before, though, so I'm not too worried about it eventually coming together. The key, I've found, is just to expose myself to plenty of possible candidates for protagonist and see which ones snap best into place.
Strange synopsis time again: What if a band (think Death Grips, but if led by Kathleen Hanna instead of MC Ride) find themselves in a pan-dimensional struggle for control over the nature of human reality?
I mentioned Burroughs as an influence on Shunga-Satori, but this one is more in the vein of Burroughs's Nova Express. It's still too raw and unformed for me to say much more about it, but it's on the table for some time in the whenever-future.
If you didn't understand a word I just said about this, don't worry. I probably don't understand it yet either.
Status: To be written for NaNo 2021.
In the words of The Prisoner, "That would be telling."
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind