Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not So Recent News

I haven't posted to the blog in quite some time. For many reasons my heart was just not into doing so. However I know that I have been remiss in doing so. Anyone who visited recently has seen that I added a bibliography page. If you have visited that you will have seen that in the past couple of years I have added to my published body of work.

In 2009 I published two stories "No Good Deed" in Tales of The Shadowmen 6: Grand Guignol, Black Coat Press, 2009 and "The Deadly Desert Gnome" in Glimmerglass Volume 1, No. 1

"No Good Deed" is the origin story of Jean Passepartout, the valet from Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. Even as a kid I found Passepartout an interesting character, although a great deal of this came from the portrayal of him by Cantinflas in the 1956 film version.

When we first meet Passepartout at the beginning of Around the World in 80 Days, he is 30 years old and has been a valet for five years. Prior to that he had had been an itinerant singer, a circus rider, a teacher of gymnastics and a fireman. He had accomplished all of this before he was 25 years old.

Passepartout had also just been hired by Phileas Fogg the day before they left for the trip around the world. Phileas Fogg had fired his long time valet for bringing him shaving water that was two degrees cooler than Mr. Fogg required. This was designed to show the reader just how regulated and clock like Fogg's life was. Yet he hired on first interview a man who had a rather checkered history of employment. It does seem a bit odd.

In The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, Philip Jose Farmer's secret history of the events behind Around the World in 80 Days, Farmer explained that the two degrees was a signal from the valet to Fogg. Fogg, the valet and Passepartout were all members of an organization that desired to end war, poverty, crime and disease.

My version of Passepartout was inspired by Farmer's in that he was the agent of an organization but in my version this is a branch of the French government, an intelligence section run by C. Auguste Dupin. Passepartout's varied professions were in part training and covers for his work as an intelligence operative. A falling out with Dupin however led him to leaving the service and being exiled to England. "No Good Deed" is the story of how the ten year old Jean met Dupin and started to work for him.

One review called it a clever, classic mystery.

Earlier this year, No Good Deed was translated into French "Le Mauvaise Bonne Action" (French version of "No Good Deed") Riviere Blanche, 2011

"The Deadly Desert Gnome" my other story published in 2009, I will discuss in a different post.

In 2010 "Flesh Endures" appeared in in The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 1: Protean Dimensions, Meteor House, 2010. Outwardly Flesh is a sequel to Philip Jose Farmer's classic novel, Flesh. A group of space explorers returned to Earth after a gap of 800 years and find it drastically changed. An environmental disaster had wiped out most of humanity. The remnant population had formed a society that was eerily reminiscent yet wildly different from what the explorers had left. American legends and myths had become infused with primitive Earth worship. Columbia, was the Great Mother Goddess, and her high priestess was Virginia. Because of his name Peter Stagg was forced to become the Sun Hero, an avatar of the Great Mother's mate. During the course of the novel he has to take part in a baseball game, which in this post apocalyptic world uses a spiked ball and bats are weapons.

My story takes place about a 1000 years after the events of Flesh. In Flesh Columbia had been located on a good portion of the East Coast along with a few other states. As Flesh ends, it is slowly annexing two of the other states. In my story Columbia's influence had recently taken moved into the Midwest. In doing so they encountered another society which was related in another post-apocalyptic tale by Philip Jose Farmer. This was the Empire of Kaywo from The Cache. The Empire of Kaywo was an empire that conquered most of the midwest and was based in Cairo, Illinois. By the time of my story because the center of population had moved, the capitol had been relocated Senglwi (Saint Louis, MO).

Although it was not dealt with in the story itself the reason that Kaywo and Columbia had not clashed or met during the events of either Flesh or the Cache is because a radioactive desert separated the two cultures, a hundred years prior to the events of Flesh Endures the radiation had faded enough for travel to be permitted.

Philip Jose Farmer had said that "The Cache" was an unofficial sequel to a trilogy written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. In keeping with this some of my place names and a couple of character names in Flesh Endures also reflect this tribute to Burroughs.


Win Scott Eckert said...

Great to see you posting, Dennis! Congrats on the stories!

Win Scott Eckert said...

P.S. I highly recommend that you add the Networked Blogs app to your blog here, which will republish your posts on Fscebook.

Then, start spending s bit more time on FB making connections and promoting your work. :-)