By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule—
From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE—out of TIME.
Antellus! Counter-earth! There is no new idea under the sun. Pythagoras posited the existence of such a planet, an occult earth standing out against earth as weight against counter-weight, as called for by his metaphysical conceits. His followers were taken to task for this piece of extravagance, but it was only their system that was at fault, and not the faith that led them to use it in deducing the hidden stops of the cosmos. For there is a dark sister planet to Tellus, our earth. It lies, not beyond the hidden hearth of the solar system, but at the cosmic antipodes, circling an alien star at the dim ultima Thule of the universe.– Edgar Allen Poe
Long ago – or is it the future? Or another cycle altogether of our wheeling cosmos? – a text was committed to the boundless deep, and fell at last, meteor-like, into a waste place of our world, where it was discovered by a lonely herder of goats, and made its way through a succession of curious chances into my hands.
|"It was a storm. I knew that from stories. All night I sat|
and watched the lightning leap from buttress to buttress.
It was terrible to be alone."
And I must remind the prospective reader that, in purchasing a copy of this first installment of my translation – Dragonfly – he or she buys, not merely a book, but a passport to another world, including but not limited to:
- 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; and
- manly men and beautiful women.
My imprint, Hythloday House has graciously agreed to publish Dragonfly; at present it can be purchased through Amazon.com and from our CreateSpace eStore.
* * *
One dark day, a rebellious thought took hold of my brain: I have my own vision for my book, particularly as a physical object. To me a mass-market trade paperback is, or should be, a thing of beauty. So I set out to create what I as a reader would consider the perfect paperback.
I dedicate this endeavor to those bold idiosyncratic ones, the ones who sowed the first seeds of modern fantasy, to E. R. Eddison and David Lindsay and William Hope Hodgson and their kin. But to you also, my reader, with whom I hope to make contact, anonymous though you remain. For, as E. B. White said, the penetration of the barriers that separate minds and hearts is the purpose and principal reward of writing.
Yes, I write for entertainment. But entertainment is no mean thing in my estimation. I hope that you, my reader, will be entertained by what I have written.
* * *
Here is Hythloday House's 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 gaining 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 drawings by the author.Please visit Hythloday House for more information. Time to go oding!