Somewhere outside the realm of logic and sanity lies the Akashic Library, its phantasmagorical shelves stretching off endlessly into the distance. What esoteric lore shall we uncover there today? Read on . . .
Hoo buddy, I sure am tired these days. In addition to my full-time job as an English teacher, I'm taking a grad school class about teaching grammar. Thrilling stuff! The homework is cutting into my writing and drawing time but don't worry, I'm still getting some stuff done, and I have some good news about Akashic Titan: Blue Bolt.
BLUE BOLT IS HERE!
Back in the long-ago days of February 2022 I ran a Kickstarter campaign for an RPG zine called Akashic Titan: Blue Bolt. Since then I've finished the book, printed copies, and mailed them off to the Kickstarter backers. If you're one of those backers, thank you! Couldn't have done it without you. Now the book is on sale to the public, so if you don't have a copy yet, you can get one. In fact, since you're reading this newsletter, I am going to give you a special, limited time discount of 25% off the list price of the PDF, available nowhere else. Exciting!
If you want a PDF of Akashic Titan: Blue Bolt, 25% off the list price, click here for the discounted version. This discount will only be active for two weeks, act now!
If you want a print copy--and I don't blame you, they're very handsome--you can order one here. And I'll mail it to you!
Twelve backers who supported the project at the highest level also received original artwork with their books. Here are two of the akashic titan drawings I did . . . I didn't scan them, these are pictures I took with my phone, so they're kind of grimy, but hey:
MEANWHILE, ON KINDLE VELLA
I continue to serialize my surreal occultist detective novel The Lobster-Quadrille through Kindle Vella. You can read the first three chapters for free, and then each one after that costs about 30 cents. It's a story about two detectives who meet in a bar and then go their separate ways, each spiraling deeper into the city's occult mysteries and getting involved in a war among different factions. Here's a list of the chapters that have come out so far, and hey, each one is a handy link:
1. A Man Walks Into a Bar
3. Beyond the Laundromat
4. Death Comes Quickly to Those Who Wait
5. Asbestos and Lead Paint
6. Ingrid's Job Interview
7. The Capricorn
8. Abracadabra, Ialdabaoth, IKZHIKAL
My other Kindle Vella story, Armistice Hawkins and the New Architects of Creation, is still on hiatus but new chapters will be coming soon. So this is a great time to get caught up!
BOOKS I'VE READ SINCE LAST MONTH’S NEWSLETTER
I have piles of unread novels, graphic novels, and comic books sitting around my house, some of them that I've been intending to read for decades. It really makes no sense for me to buy no books. So I went out of town and, obviously, I bought some new books. Except, in my defense, they were actually old books.
When we were on a family vacation in Brown County, Indiana, I stopped in a local bookstore and found Edgar Rice Burroughs's A Fighting Man of Mars on sale for just four dollars. It's the 7th book in the series, but you really don't need to read them in order, and I'd already read a couple of them. The story was originally serialized way back in 1930; this charming paperback is from 1974. I thought it would be fun to have a beat-up paperback book I could carry around in my pocket and read when I had a few spare minutes and, reader, it was. Just the sort of light, readable pulp adventure I needed.
Oh, wait, last time I said I was going to try and start describing plots, didn't I? Okay, so this is from the John Carter of Mars series. This is the first book that is not about John Carter, his children, or someone from Earth. For the first time it's Just Some Guy on Mars, specifically Hadron of Hastor, the fighting man of the title. He's a warrior, he's in love with this noblewoman, but she won't give him the time of day. Then she's kidnapped, so he vows to rescue her and sets out. Adventure ensues! Along the way he rescues a slave girl, and he and the slave girl really hit it off, and become good friends, and in fact they have a much stronger bond than the noblewoman he's going to rescue, but he keeps reminding himself that the cruel, dismissive, entitled woman is his true love. You will never guess what happens at the end! Unless you have ever encountered narrative fiction before! But we do not go to Burroughs for surprising endings, we go for the constant stream of ADVENTURE.
Having enjoyed that trashy pulp science-fantasy paperback, I could not resist buying Tower at the Edge of Time at the Goodman Games booth at Gen Con. Goodman Games publishes Dungeon Crawl Classics, the game that Akashic Titan: Blue Bolt is a setting for. The thing that initially attracted me to DCC was that it is inspired and influenced by what they call Appendix-N fiction, which is, among other things, novels like A Fighting Man of Mars and Tower at the Edge of Time. Tower is written by Lin Carter, who is better known as an editor than a writer, but who produced many books inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Howard, and the like. My short review of Tower at the Edge of Time is this: if that cover up there looks like a story you want to read, you'll like it, and if it doesn't, you won't. My slightly longer review is that I liked it, but the first half was too padded. There's a mysterious, wealthy figure who wants to hire the warrior Thane, our hero (the guy with red hair on the cover), to journey to the Tower at the Edge of Time. And Thane says no. And Thane runs away, and the guy's men come after him, and they capture him, and he gets away again, and it feels like a waste of time because, based on the title of the book, we know he's eventually going to go on this mission. That is the entire premise of the book. Why delay the inevitable for chapters and chapters? Well, obviously because the actual adventure of the Tower only takes up half the book and Carter didn't have anything else to fill the pages. I like the part in the Tower, though, and there's a great and mind-blowing sequence near the end that made it all worthwhile.
WHAT HAVE I BEEN WATCHING?
Star Trek, mostly. The wife and kids and I are watching Discovery season 2, and when Alice isn't around the kids and I are watching The Next Generation. We watched "Best of Both Worlds," the two-parter with Locutus of Borg, and man, that holds up! Great stuff!