Monday, August 15, 2011

The Unknown - Chapter 7 by nova

Ty pulled the truck out onto the dirt road and we proceeded to bump and thump our way to where ever the hell we were going. We rode in silence for the first 20 minutes are so. Ty broke it by asking me, "You don't mind if I ask you some questions know...some of the stuff I heard that you did?"

"Yeah. Go ahead."

I stretched my bad leg out and shifted in the seat. Kat whispered in my ear,"You're going to need that bandage changed soon."

I just grunted and waited for Ty to spit it out.

"I mean you have been around since the beginning. I read every graphic novel I could download until I couldn't anymore. Now they have paper versions."

"No shit?"

I was surprised. I had seen some of the graphic novels way back when, I thought they were funny for about 10 minutes and then I got pissed. They made people I had cared about into jokes. None of the sweat, pain, and stink of death was mentioned. Plus I came off looking pretty damn good which instead of flattering I found irritating. I didn't know there were paper versions circulating now.

"I know they were exaggerated and all that but even if it was half true it was..." He paused, I saw his teeth flash as he grinned, "I know, it sounds stupid, but it was inspiring."

"Bullshit Ty. I've heard the stories and it was a tragedy. Everything that comes after was too."

I was beginning to feel like I was invisible.

Ty ignored her. "You knew Max! I mean that guy runs the North. Ninja leads Sword and Raven Legion. The haven't haven't been beaten since the Battle of Ohio!" Is it really true the old gods fight with them? Even the Lakota ride with them now."

"It wasn't the Battle of Ohio." I said flatly. It was a fucking massacre.

Kat hissed something in Dine at him. My guess it was "Shut up!" It was good advice.


  1. Agreed with Tina. Very good stuff.

    This chapter said more in a few paragraphs than what would have normally taken most writers 20-30 pages to convey. Great passage, Nova.

  2. Thanks. It's starting to form in my head but I am hoping you will reality check me if I slip over into absurd.

    If you have any suggestions or criticisms -- let me know.

  3. The other interesting thing about this passage is the reference to comics / graphic novels that tell Gardener stories.

    It was quite common in the Wild West days to have some "tall tales" of real-life gunfighters spun up into little pamphlets. I thought this passage (and the prior one) were a great nod to that piece of history. A perfect cinematic example of this is in the Clint Eastwood movie, "Unforgiven" - where the Gene Hackman character takes delight in making fun of a pamphlet about "The Duke of Death" (which contained a story about a gunfighter that Hackman's character had little regard for).

    It is also an indicator that in the world of AA, society seems to be sliding backwards in time. The AA world seems to have more in common with the Wild West, than it does with the post apocalyptic visions that we see in movies like The Road.

    I'm not sure if that is the direction you're going Nova - where our characters in AA are sliding back into a world not unlike the Wild West with gaslamp-lit streets, mass travel by rail, and telegraphs.

    It might be kind of cool to see some select 19th century technologies fill in the gaps for the eroding 20th century technologies that are no longer maintained in the AA world.

  4. Yeah, even a body blow like PowerDown would be something the US could recover from at a lower level. I was thinking the Black Plague as a historical example.

    I am going for a stabilization where most people live somewhere near the 1880's.

    You caught that huh? It was both a nod to that and what I think I am writing here, 21st century pulp.

  5. What I like about the evolution of your AA story is that it does not quite pigeonhole into one particular genre. And because of that, there is a lot of potential on how to evolve the stories (how is that for pressure? heheh).

    You have a strong base of Post Apocalyptic material, but then you can throw in a bit of Weird West, maybe a dash of some Steam-Punk, combined with your pulp direction - and *wham bam magic sam* you have an even bigger story.

    The challenge is holding your core audience. I know that I was initially attracted to AA because it was Post Apocalyptic Porn (there was government collapse, a breakdown of polite society, rogue gunfighters, etc). When you introduced Freya, I kind of balked. I thought, "this is NOT what I signed up for".

    Later I just came to see it as another interesting (and unpredictable) part of how the AA world evolves.

    If you have not read James Kunstler's novels (World Made By Hand, and The Witch of Hebron), you might find some inspiration in his approach. Due to Peak Oil, the world he has created has devolved into a pre-industrial revolution phase (1850s?). Some of the best passages in his book are about the food that his characters are eating.

    Interestingly enough, Kunstler's novels also take on a bit of magic in them too. So perhaps these types of de-evolution tales just seem to invite magic as a key part of the stories.

    Oh, and speaking of magic, I mentioned to you in a blog comment of mine a few weeks ago that there was a documentary about the comic (graphic novel) writer Alan Moore that I thought you would find pretty interesting. Specifically:

    "In The Mindscape of Alan Moore we see a portrait of the artist as contemporary shaman, someone with the power to transform consciousness by means of manipulating language, symbols and images."

    So keep on truckin, Nova. I can tell that your stories are coming from your gut, and that is probably the main reason that they come off as hard-hitting tales.