- a stranger in a strange land;
- a mixture of bronze-age with steam- and space-age technology;
- mysterious ancient ruins;
- coexisting human, abhuman, and nonhuman races;
- a well-developed planetary ecology;
- perilous encounters with said ecology;
- manly men and beautiful women.
Dragonfly is intended as the first entry in a tetralogy. My imprint, Hythloday House (of which I am the sole editor, author, artist, graphic designer, marketing director, and pastry chef), has tentatively set the release date for April 27. I have a proof copy beside me as I write this; the final round of format review is close to complete. Here is a draft of our puff for the piece:
In the counter-earth of paleozoic darkness and daemonic sway, the people of Arras have dwindled, retreating from Urgit and Cormrum-by-the-Sea to clutches of domes in the desert. But still they walk the songlines of the seraphim, preserving their primeval lore.
When Keftu, the rightful-born young phylarch, returns from a journey to find his people poisoned, he sets out to discover the secret of immortality. He is drawn to Enoch, the rust-stained city of stone, mankind's omega. There his plans change as he falls under the power of an urban warlord and falls in love with a mysterious harlot.
Rising from slavery as a slayer in the pits, Keftu ascends on wings of resin and bone to trouble the world-city's oversoul. Will he succeed in scaling the sea-girt, stratospheric Tower of Bel and ascending to the Hanging Gardens of Narva? Or will the city devour him before he can find his place in it?
A New Planetary Romance
Dragonfly is the first in a series of sword-and-planet tales set in Antellus, the alter-earth circling an alien star at the dim ultima Thule of the universe, a world of prehistoric beasts and ocean-girding cities, ancient ruins and space elevators, primordial daemons and antediluvian races.
Inspired by the first master fantasists – Edgar Rice Burroughs, Lord Dunsany, E. R. Eddison, H. Rider Haggard, William Hope Hodgson – and pulp writers like Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, Dragonfly combines a contemplative outlook with a drive to action, a sense of mystery with a dash of violence.
A Mythic Adventure with a Touch of Noir
Deinothax was white-hot and smoking in my hands. Jairus gave the signal, and his men charged.
It seemed at that moment that I had ages to wait until the tide of steel reached me. The light of the sinking sun shot slantwise down the street, and each cloud wisp, window, and mote stood out as something tragically and eternally beautiful.
The length of two buildings lay between me and the Misfit now. A new light flashed in Jairus' eyes. He slowed and stopped in the middle of an intersection. His men drew to a standstill behind him, bunched up and tense, watching him with confused eyes.
A slow and growing thunder was in the air. I looked at the sky, but the sky was clear. Then the quiet was cloven by the voice of a savage horn, awful and lonely, such as might have led the Wild Hunt through the moss-forests at the dawn of time. The street seemed to pulse and vibrate under my feet. I heard a sound that was something between a squeal and a roar, and wondered why it was so familiar.
A cry of panic went up among the men. They started to divide down the middle, on either side of the intersection. But it was too late.
Published by Hythloday House. Cover art and interior illustrations by the author.Dragonfly will be available for purchase at Amazon.com and our CreateSpace eStore. In the future it may be distributed through other online retailers such as Barnes and Noble. Also in the future it will be offered as a Kindle ebook, but, what with the nostalgic charm and retro wrap-around cover and all, we feel strongly that its main form of existence should be in the physical realm. The main hub for purchasing is the imprint's website:
Our marketing director has come up with an innovative strategy to enable us to sell hundreds of thousands of books and retire to a life of ease and plenty, but, for my own part, I shall continue writing and illustrating stories until someone makes me stop, I die, or an unforeseen cataclysm brings about the end of all life on earth as we know it; eventually, scope and consistency will bring readers to my brand in droves, gaggles, and/or flocks. Through Hythloday House I also plan to publish story collections and other ancillary works; in the future we may also offer new editions of old fantasy classics, if that proves feasible.
Stay tuned for further announcements.