What's different about this one is that it will be Patreon-exclusive. I've avoided doing something like this prior to now; as a member of the working poor, a socialist, and more, I have certain thoughts regarding economic barriers of entry to creative work. It's also why I prefer creative commons licensing for all of my work. (This will be released under a creative commons license.)
I'll address why this is Patreon-exclusive in a bit. It's worth discussing; first, though, I would like to tell you about the story.
VICTORIALAND is a novel-of-manners. It's a format I've always loved, growing up and reading Jane Austen and Maupassante and other somewhat frou-frou books like that. It has a kind of literary prestige and its rather traditionally bookish in a way that, right now, is very refreshing to me; I'm a fan of TV and film and video games and comic books and anime, don't get me wrong, but the idea of indulging in something about as booky as possible has an appeal, for variations sake.
It's a novel-of-manners, but it's also a novel-of-manners more in the milieu of the stranger end of that genre. GORMENGHAST is perhaps the best touchpoint, a book that reads like a fantasy/horror novel trapped inside a single estate; but Gothic novels like The House of Seven Gables and Victorian ghost stories like in Ghost Stories of the Antiquary and post-Lovecraftian weird fiction play a part in its inspiration. The Thule-obsessed polar expeditions, psuedo-utopian libertarian/capitalist nightmarescapes, the ultra-rationalism that reduces itself to fascism and violence play a part. Follies and Victorian gardens/estates and baroque Dickensian family trees and the inward hyperviolence of the 1% play a part.
The entire story takes place under a massive dome, in Antarctica, over a thousand years from now, after global warming and ecological collapse and the material/colonial wars of late colonialism and rising ultra-nationalism have rendered the earth otherwise unliveable.
It stars a young boy and a young girl, half-siblings of plural wives in a series of plural wives. It features strange skulking figures, genetically-modified eugenically-engineered laborers (socialists all, and the only good in an estate otherwise blighted by bitterness and evil). It is not a story of hope. It is not a story of optimism. It is a nightmare concatenation of evils played out over a millennium, ending in the now-warm land of Antarctica.
It is set in Victorialand. It's a real place, on the seventh continent. You can look it up on a map, if you'd like.
It's also a gorgeous album by the Cocteau Twins. (This was part of the inspiration.)
I want to tell a very ugly story. I don't feel hopeful right now. I feel, frankly, like I am about to crack. In my case, it is largely from mental health, physical health and poverty; I am lucky to be spared from further abuse due to my whiteness, my straightness, my cisness, as much as those marks of privilege are also themselves a reminder of a very disturbing and horrible world.
Other people are better at optimism. I am not. This is the story that I can tell.
This brings me to why it is Patreon-exclusive.
I would like to appear to you all as more professional. I would like, to be crass, more interest and business on the Patreon front. I do not feel entitled to this, and I do not expect it. But it is something I would like. The rest of my work will stay free; as a socialist and a member of the working poor, I have thoughts regarding economic barriers of entry to something as fundamental to the human experience as art. The other two serials going, Pyramidhead and The Trials of Dracula, will remain free, and other work I make will likely be free as well.
This one, though, is a gift to people who support me, and an incentive to those who don't yet.
I'll be releasing at least two chapters a month, aiming for about two weeks of separation between each. I say "at least" because, if I'm honest with myself, I likely would release a third or fourth chapter if they were done and I didn't want to wait. I'm bad at that kind of scheduling, largely due to impatience; if I have the work edited and formatted, why would I not release it immediately?
I'll also be trying to figure out a way to bind or collect it, either as a high-quality PDF or maybe a physical edition, but those are dependent on cost and interest. I have no expectation, but I did want to note that I have rough ideas if it happens to become viable. That would be lovely.
The preface to the novel will be posted for free for everyone to see. It's done and mostly edited, waiting for the right time.
See you June 1.