Apparently absent on Amazon (US)

…just pasting in a copy of the reviews so far on the book so they’ve got some chance of showing up on Amazon US and hopefully elsewhere, as there doesn’t seem to be a naturally-occurring linkage between the US and UK sites – the latter being where the book has been commented on; I’ve also included a screengrab of another nice review from goodreads.com (full review at goodreads for anyone interested) for added backup, as well as a few words from a facebook-fan 🙂noorevoo

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Genesis: the first book of wyrdworld

A little introduction, with Arfie Schmalzeybeggar:

arfie

Welcome – to a universe that may seem strangely familiar, while yet being very different: here, the animals – well, many of them – can walk and talk as humans do (the few humans that are still here, that is) – and have as many faults and failings too.

They all exist in a more or less medieval macrocosm, with a few casual anachronisms here and there – which is a small collection of big words working hard to suggest a time and place of swords and sorcery, as well as science and superstition – with occasional guns, gadgets, and other modern marvels thrown in.

These tales offer a slightly grittier take on how a world of such creatures might actually function in a more ‘realistic’ manner: these animal-people have very little about them that is cute or ‘fluffy’ – and though they are generally fairly normal (whatever that means) in their habits, they have the same capacity to be boozy and bawdy, rowdy and reckless, as ordinary, actual people in your world do – which means a bit of salty language here and there, and a dash of violence and bloodshed.

Bear all of this in mind and you’ll be coming close to the what’s-what of Wyrdworld. The rest of it will hopefully explain itself as it goes along…

 

 

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Arousing the Goddess – thirty years in the waking

uurthaseyes

Sorry if you thought this was going to be a bit saucy – not that kind of arousal, I’m afraid: and for the moment, I’m gonna let you stew on that for a bit and come back to it later.

Meanwhile – I’m currently in the process of making the last edits on a book. It’s taken maybe thirty years to have got around to it, if not more. Sort of: no excuses really, just lots and lots of procrastination.

– anyway. It’s kind of a collaborative effort: its content is drawn together from several sources, and in a way from several ‘authors’. I’d better explain…

I started actually putting things together some five years or so ago, doing bits and pieces in my half-hour lunch-breaks at work, or in the last hour before bed, or the occasional instance of being weirdly wide awake at 3 a.m. – with several ideas in mind, but one in particular that kept sticking its metaphorical hand in the air with greatest eagerness. It also fell most naturally into that favoured phrase about ‘writing what you know.’ Plus, since the intent was to also make use of certain passages that were already in existence, some of it was already written – bonus!

The basic notion was to start writing up some of the outings that myself and others had undertaken in a series of roleplaying adventures, run within the universe of Wyrdworld – established by Fenris Games in the mid-1980s. This was a play-by-mail game, a popular means of ‘getting your game on’ when it wasn’t convenient to gather a group together for the more usual sort of meet.

As a player, your game would take place within the bounds of a few sheets of written narrative, provided to you by your Author-GM: this would begin with your initial placement in the world, a little description of your current predicament therein, and an open-ended…ending… that would allow for you to make some sort of action, or decision, or otherwise let you do whatever else might occur to you – in order to move the narrative along again. You could be as direct or as discursive in this as you wished, with more involved ‘turns’ resulting most likely in much more elaborate arcs to your individual story.

Once in a while, we would try to organise a ‘proper’ game between as many players as could make the trip, such events becoming known as ‘over-the-table’ or ‘OTT’ sessions, where there would be a more direct interaction of the different characters, and some sort of joint adventure for all to be a part of. It is from these OTTs and the various other character-stories leading up to them, that I/we are trying to string stories together; and the ‘plan’ is, that if any kind of measurable money-reward comes from the book(s) that are drawn out of this, then I will be passing on some sort of percentage of that to the owners of those characters that I put into the stories, if those owners are agreeable to that outcome – if not, I’ve got plenty of non-inclusive stuff I can think up and type up, so it’ll be no problem to carry on with the tales of Wyrdworld one way or another, without them.

The main co-author though is my own big bruv, our Ian: several parts of the book will be drawn from articles written by him for the magazine we used to publish to go along with the Wyrdworld game, often scribed ‘in character’ by beings who were effectively NPCs in the gameworld – of which there are still plenty yet to be sourced for any subsequent stories. The inspiration for this came from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, wherein several peoples’ journals and suchlike form parts of the tale (also happens in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but Frankie was my first and my favourite).

Meanwhile, I’d better get back to the Goddess: a fairly large role in Wyrdworld – well, the largest role possible, I suppose – is taken up by the Mother-Goddess of the world, who is essentially equivalent to our world’s notion of Gaia (or Gaea) and/or the (not necessarily correct) interpretation of the Triple-Goddess of Celtic and similar mythologies, sometimes named as Blodeuwedd/Morrigu/Ceridwen (though often as others)  – representing the Maiden, the Mother, and the Grandmother, or otherwise the Earth, Moon, and Sea (in this case Uurth rather than Earth) – She being the main inspiration for the book-cover – which I’ll show in full later on as the publishing-date approaches if you’ve not seen it elsewhere in the meanwhile. The image is basically a repurposing of the Jack-in-Green character, (which was probably repurposed in the other direction in the first place) otherwise known as the Green-Man, into one which makes much more sense in a universe centred around a base-belief in a female fertility deity. Probably in any other, too. The artwork itself is from Kerem Beyit: http://kerembeyit.daportfolio.com/

The world this all takes place in is at a place in time where its mythologies are in question, many of its inhabitants beginning to turn to science and other explanations of their ‘being,’ such that its gods – of whatever denomination – are deemed to be sleeping: hence, we return to the title of this load of old blather, and thereby to the end of it, as well.

More to come, as and when…

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On Pratchett’s Passing

I came fairly late to the appreciation of Pratchett, and to the Discworld in particular: in 1991 I was looking for a subject to be the main project of my diploma show for the last year of my model-making course, and was introduced by my brother to ‘The Colour of Magic’, a tale already nearly ten years old. The description of the Discworld struck a chord, and became my immediate obsession as the new major project for the show. I just managed to finish the piece on time, it was a very involved model – the turtle, the elephants, the Disc – but was proud to have achieved it, even though it curried little favour in my overall grade or otherwise.

At the end of college, we had our last recession, and I ended up being unemployed for nearly three years. The Discworld had meanwhile been consigned to my parents’ attic, and would probably have stayed there as it was rather too large to be displayed in the house; but it so happened that my mum had learned of a book-signing event in the nearby city – happening the day she called from her workplace about it! – and that she’d contacted the bookstore, who had asked to borrow the model for the event. Naturally its time in the attic had left the Discworld a little the worse for wear, so some last-minute emergency fixings had to be done, again just scraping by in the available time.

Meanwhile I joined the back of the book-signing queue, and got to be very honoured by the fact that the actual Terry Practchett stopped for a while – even though he had a car waiting to whisk him away – to offer me praise for my work – which was worth much more to me than any consideration (or lack of it) given by my diploma-invigilators. It was far more gracious than he needed to have been, but then he went a massive step further, and bought the model from me right there and then! I came home absolutely buzzing, greatly lifted from the depression of my failings in life…

A few years later, just sitting down to Christmas dinner at my brother’s house, we were watching the freshly-made adaptation of Pratchett’s ‘The Hogfather’, when I nearly dropped my dinner – my model was in the background of a travelling shot in the toyshop! We were recording the show, and so of course rewound at the first opportunity to be sure we hadn’t imagined it – and yes, there it was! Totally made my Christmas.

I’ve always regretted that I never managed to properly thank Sir Terry for those two special moments: I did write to the publishers at the time of the model-sale but I don’t know if the letter ever made it through the post; and of course I more recently tried to say a hello or two via social media, but with so many folks trying to contact him on a daily basis I didn’t expect my post to stand out amongst the crowd, and I’ve never felt that I ought to be any more pushy about it – the plain facts of him having bought it from me, and then actually including it in the adaptation, were greater than any expectations I could have had for a left-in-the-attic bit of diploma-daftness. It was so gracious of him to have done any of that, and I can’t thank him enough – for that, and of course for all the books, that have brought me through several low periods in life whenever a laugh’s been needed. Much as the Pratchett family must be of course feeling very low now, I’m sure they can also look back at many a laugh over the years – and though I’m sure the words of this one small fan, who was so hugely moved by his graciousness – will be of little consolation, I wish them all the best at this time. In the short chat I had with him as last-in-line at the book-signing, it was clear he was a grand lad, and it’s such a sad shame he’s gone so soon.

Thankyou Mister P.

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Hell and High Water

done and dusted!

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Downs and out

Downs and out

continuing the paintjob on the South Downs. That’s Beachy Head at 1:55,000 scale with a 1:1 scale hand to show some idea of the actual sizes involved…

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Home Wrecker

Home Wrecker

– wouldn’t you know it, you get everything looking all neat and tidy, nicely grassed and with the road-edges and parking-spaces all nicely drawn on, you have your first test-fitting of the buildings and then some great galumphing berk comes stomping all over the place in his silly old war-machine…

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