Welcome to Rumor Control once again. Here are the facts.
These are the projects I'm now currently working on. Some have more definite dates or progress indicators than others. Other projects I mentioned in the past aren't off the list entirely; these are just the ones currently getting the most time, attention, and mojo.
The final round of edits on paper are taking place right now. This story changed significantly between its first and subsequent drafts; I threw out a third of the cast and totally rewrote the final third. It was worth it, as the story is now much stronger, a more focused expression of the very tricky material I was trying to do justice to.
I'm aiming to have this out sometime in March, and I should be able to meet that promise.
As before, we have ad copy (still tentative, but close to final):
They are the children of a dream. And once they know it, they want only to wake up.
Hizu: a living doll, one of many who existed only to serve the "Body King" Dhalgra in his palace of terrible pleasures. Then came the day when Hizu wondered: what lies in the forests beyond these walls? — and made a daring escape.
There in the woods, Hizu found other, human refugees from Dhalgra's tyranny. Together, they made new homes for themselves in the ruined houses and abandoned places scattered about. Together they delved into the mysteries of who they truly are, the mystery of "Shunga-Satori" ... and discovered the world they lived in was only a prelude to something greater not yet born.
But their master wanted them back at any cost. And to take them back, Dhalgra prepared to destroy not only their world, but the world that lay beyond as well. The world that had dreamed all of them into existence. Ours!
Points of reference:
This project underwent a glorious mutation just in its original idea phase. It all started as a joke (you can read the full story here), but over time I started to tease out implications from the original idea that I took more seriously. Imagine a world where personal style was a kind of superpower, where such a thing was a source of energy to be channeled and directed. What kind of world would that create, in both the near- and far-term? And what of the have-nots, who only look on and wonder, and long for something they can only see at a distance?
Right now, the project is still very much in the planning (that is, pre-plotting) phases. There's a cast of characters, and something resembling a storyline, but the whole thing has not spun together yet in a way that fully satisfies me.
Points of reference:
This one is new-ish enough I don't even have art for it. Yes, I know that sounds pettifogging of me, but one of the first things I do to snap a project into shape is find artwork for it, and so far this one has eluded me. But the premise filled itself out with amazing speed despite that.
The premise: Imagine you have a whole subspecies of humanity crafted specifically for the satisfaction of fantasy — a demi-human population with a huge amount of variation. They resent their lot in life; they rebel. They take possession of one of the island resorts where they served their masters, kick out everyone who's not them, and declare it theirs. Now comes the hard part: building a functioning society out of this gang. And what of those within who might try to bring it down, because they believe in something else?
In some ways, this could be considered a follow-up to Unmortal. That story ended right as the castoffs and rebels founded their own society and began to figure out how to make it work. P7 takes the next step. If you have what amounts to a micronation, one that needs raw materials, expertise, resources, governance, and especially health care (doubly so on the latter since the population is so ... bespoke in its needs), how do you bootstrap yourself? And what would it cost you in the long run to have autonomy in the short run?
When I last checked in with this project, I had no protagonist. Now I've got one at the center of it all, as well as a few other characters who provide balance, contrast, and conflict. I still need to assemble a proper plot, though.
Points of reference:
Here's another one that continues to mutate on me without giving me a chance to really close my hands around it. The core premise is an old SF trope: the matter transmitter. My idea for exploring it was to make it available to the human race at roughly our level of technology, and to allow it to spur a diaspora. Everyone who wants a world of their own can have one. That divides humanity into two camps: those who choose to remain interlinked, and those who wall themselves off from other worlds. Each group begins to regard the other as a threat. Now what happens when it becomes possible for worlds that want no contact with each other to have it ... whether or not they like it?
It's a great idea, but there's still too much missing from it to be a story. I have characters, but not enough of one at the center to drive the action. And I have not much in the way of settings, either. But what I do have is way too good for me to let languish.
The concept for this arose out of various discussions with friends about a constant problem I see in fantasy settings: Centuries go by and society remains stubbornly feudal and unindustrialized, which makes no sense when you realize the presence of magic in human society would have roughly the social impact of nuclear weapons. My idea is to take a setting roughly analogous to 19th-century Europe (replete with a Napoleon), to turn magic loose on it, and to see whether or not humanity wipes itself out, or goes from men on horseback to moonshots in the space of a decade or so. Oh, and also to see whether or not we can have magic schools inspired more by Montessori schools or anarchist communes than, say, Hogwarts.
As per my discussion the other day about projects that have the same basic subject matter but radically different flavors, this one is also about the presence of magic in a setting, but not remotely to the same ends as The Fire Of The Mind. This one intentionally uses what could be called a stock fantasy setting, although I do want to give it some distinction. (Think of how the Final Fantasy settings often have magnificent color and style, and some thought towards how the fantastic elements are used in the setting.) The main characters, a magic-user and a rogue (as per the titles that might be slapped onto them in a TTRPG) clash with a group that wants to eradicate magic, as they believe it cannot lead to anything but asymmetrical power and inequities. At least, not until a better class of human being comes along.
"Bio-punk" is a great term, and it is the closest label for this project. In that sense it shares some DNA (ha ha) with Pavilion 7, but it is a wholly dissimilar flavor of story. Mad Max was/is one of the influences, but it is intended to be a lot more than just the sum of such things.
"Alejandro Jodorowsky's Count Of Monte Cristo in space 50,000 years ago" was my off-the-cuff summation of this project. It still is.
Another one with a fun off-the-cuff summation: what if epic fantasy, but the germinal inspiration was the likes of Apuleius's The Golden Ass or other Greco-Roman myth?