Shunga-Satori: Behind The Scenes With 'Shunga-Satori', Pt. 2: The Idea

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2023-03-27 08:00:00-04:00 No comments

To commemorate the release of my new novel Shunga-Satori, I'll be making a series of posts to serve as an extended introduction to the book — its origins, its influences, its themes, its setting and characters. Enjoy.

(See all entries in this series here.)

In Part One of this series, I talked about how Shunga-Satori started as a project about an artist trying to make sense of another artist's legacy, and how the failure of that project to coalesce led me to think more about how to make a story out of one of its components.

For a long time now, long since before I began publishing my writing, I've been fascinated by the idea of "hyperspaces". Many of my dreams, for instance, all seem to take place in a sort of miniaturized copy of the real world, with an internally consistent geography. (Maybe someday I'll use that as a story setting.) Summerworld, the first work I published under my own imprint*, was about a similar kind of hyperspace, one created by the collective imagination of a world. A follow-up that I never completed, The Underground Sun, had the same idea. Welcome To The Fold explored a "real-world" variant of the idea, where the hyperspace in question was held collectively in the heads of many participants.

Some of this was influenced by, of all things, the movie United 93. Up there in the sky, a few people were trapped in the interstice between the end of one age and the beginning of another, darker one — like those who fall so far into a canyon, even the sky vanishes. I kept imagining hyperspaces like this, places where people would find themselves trapped between the violent death of one world and the difficult birth of another. That interstice was the mouth of the womb. Not all would survive to see what lay outside.

Every time I've circled this idea, I've done so in a different way. With Summerworld the idea was playful and fanciful — "Miyazaki meets Neil Gaiman", as I put it to someone else. With Welcome To The Fold, the idea was colder and sterner, about the brutal humorlessness of those who think they've been entrusted to shepherd others into utopia. Now I began to circle yet another mode for how to approach this: the underworld surrealism of a dark fairy tale.

"Davids Lynch and Cronenberg, collaborating on a movie", was how I pitched it to myself. That mode would give me new ways to explore the concept that I hadn't approached in previous works.

In the next installment I'll talk about some of the properties and media that influenced and shaped this work.

* Strictly speaking, I published other books under my own imprint before that, but they were not works I was happy with, and so I haven't made an effort to keep them in print.

Tags: Behind The Scenes: Shunga-Satori Infinimata Press Shunga-Satori ideas writing