Serial Fiction

Our current on-going story is the mega-novella Homunculus Cartographer. You can read it here https://homunculuscartographer.home.blog/

What is it?

It is a serial story with its own blog and sort of in a blog format (mainly because that’s what I know how to write). It appears every Thursday and Sunday until early September 2020. Every so I’ll do a summary post on the main blog.

It is all written and all scheduled, so the whole thing will happen now even if I got abducted by voles and was forced to live in a vole kingdom until I bested their champion and became Vole King only to return after a year and a day (there are no voles in this story though). Every post has a map or a diagram of some sort and there is a plot (but I must stress again, no voles).

What’s it all about?

Fantasy stories are famous for their maps but who makes these maps? Also how do they make these maps given the often Dark Age/pseudo-medieval settings? In the world of this story it a notable family of Alchemist Bears who have a famous map making business. To help them they brewed up an artificial person whose job it is to wander around collecting data and take bearings and make notes which he eventually takes back home. The blog are their notes and sketches.

The world they are in is inside our world. I wanted to mix in some of that Pellucidar/hollow Earth vibe but with more oddness. The setting is one of several tiers folded up geometrically inside the solid mass of our planet. Among those tiers is a kind of hell, mainly because I wanted demons in the story as well because somehow demons became a running theme on this blog over the years.

I also wanted the main weird exotic people the main character encounters to be humans. So while the main character is odd by human standards they are visiting human people rather than say elves etc. Also most people in English-language fantasy stories speak English for convenience and so the humans are literally speaking English in the story (mostly). Like Tolkien, I spent a long time considering a complex linguistic background for my universe but my answer was “they all speak English”.

While the main character has a mission and later on a quest of a kind, I also wanted the whole thing to be sort of inconsequential — like of all the people the story could have followed at this point in the world’s history, we picked an interesting one but not a very interesting one. In my head there’s a whole bigger plot with bigger fantasy machinations that all happened (and then carried on happening beyond the end of this story) to a different character. That character has a destiny etc etc but only appears twice and doesn’t have a name and has no material impact on the actual story that gets told.

Put another way, this is a heavily sabotaged fantasy story. So while I’m at it: infodumps. There are whole chapters of them Moby Dick style (but shorter). There is a whole cosmos that needs explanation as well an unusual ship to describe and a chemically unusual ocean. TELL DON’T SHOW as they say but also SHOW by drawing pictures.

Is it funny?

It’s not a parody and it is lean on jokes. There’s a war and some tragic history and a police shoot out, so not obvious humour material but there is a lot of silliness and a main character missing the point plus some jokes. There’s a kind of joke here about taking writing advice and doing the opposite but as jokes go that one is mainly for my own amusement.

Will I like it?

Maybe, I hope so. Fair warning though, the same core principle is in place as operates with the Camestros Felapton blog: write what’s in my head at the time and put it out there regardless of whether it is good. Creative self-indulgence is the name of the game!

Will there be a chapter were somebody does some actual housework for once?

Yes.

Is this a product of the Covid-19 lockdown?

No. I wrote most of it in October, November and December 2019 and then a final chunk of it February. A lot was done during the Solar System hiatus and the Beer Hiatus. The lockdown disrupted production because I didn’t have my normal train ride back-and-forth any more. The simple solution to that was LESS EDITING! Hoorah! So do not be afraid — the normal level of typos misspellings will be there!

Is Timothy in it?

He has a brief cameo early on but isn’t named and he doesn’t have any lines. Maybe a location visited is Bortsworth in the final section but that’s not canon.