Friday, April 28, 2006

Roil - because blogs should be self indulgent

One of the reasons I started writing this blog, yes there are reasons, was to start promoting my writing a little, particularly my first book - Reserved for Travelling Shows see first post. The other was to get me taking my novel seriously, I have trouble taking things seriously at times, which can be good, but hell, if it doesn't chip away at any sense of urgency. So, I figure if I start talking about it, I'll have to back it up by finding the thing a home.
My novel Roil is essentially a world in peril tale. A struggle against a semi-sentient environmental catastrophe - hopefully not a cosy one - called, you guessed it, the Roil. It was originally something I had conceived of as being, well sort of steampunky, but that didn't really work in so far as the technology I wanted my characters to have access to, so it's kind of post-assembly-line punk, kind of a shaky mass-manufacturing society, that stalled because of the Roil.
What is the Roil?
It's a vast, dark monster-filled cloud of spores swallowing the world of Shale inch by inch, spreading out from the equator. It has devoured cities, and devastated weather patterns, bringing rain where there wasn't and dry where there was. And this isn't the first time it has done it. My poor characters are trying to stop it, the problem is that the cure may be worse than the disease, and the disease knows they're trying to halt it, and it, and it's monsters, are angry. Okay, so it's a metaphor, and a pretty obvious one. But that's what makes fantasy so potent. Like Brian Aldiss wrote, "earth is the alien planet".
Here's my alien planet, well a bit of it that has survived within the Roil. Bear in mind it still needs a bit of spit and polish, but hey, that's why I'm doing this to make me more enthusiastic in my spitting and polishing.

The City of Tate - Roil Interior Northern Aspect
A bell tolled, city centre, some minor thing, that did not ripple out across the three levels of the city, but fell away to silence.
A Halloween ringing.
The pilot relaxed as much as she dared, brought her airship lower, and closer to the city's walls.
She had flown the perimeter shift many times, could close her eyes and see it.
The city of Tate.
Three high stone walls, topped with towers and linked with wires, that circled the steep hill called Willowhen. Crowded and fuming at Willowhen's peak, city's heart, where the Swarming Vents and the Four Cannons twisted and rose hundreds of meters further into the sky. The city of Tate, surrounded on all fronts by the Roil, a darkness deeper than night; an inky cloying fog.
Ice and endothermic weaponry were the Roil’s only torment. Ice and vigilance, Tate’s only defence; and it had been that way for twenty years, since the Roil enclosed the city and continued on its way North.
Beyond the outer wall, a dense pack of Quarg hound ran - dashing towards the city, and pulling back. Dashing in and pulling back. She fired a few rounds at them and they scattered, black shapes darting this way and that. To the east, out of range of her ship's guns, an Endym circled, a big one, dusty wings twenty yards across. The pilot signalled to gunners on the wall and, almost immediately, a cannon fired. The Endym dipped a wing, dust fell away from its tips -- the ice-sheathed shell missed it by yards. It veered to the west and was quickly gone from sight.
She brought her ship lower still, down over the Jut, the easternmost edge of the outer wall, and the city's only gatehouse.
Margaret Penn stood there. The pilot could make out her gangly figure, Margaret’s white hair almost luminous in the strong lights that roved over the wall.
She waved, but Margaret did not see her, and the pilot was not surprised. Margaret was waiting for her parents, Marcus and Arabella Penn, the architects of Tate’s defence.
They had been away testing armaments in the North.
They were late.


Andrew Macrae said...

Hey Trent,

Just thought I'd stop in to say hi. Looking forward to Roil! It sounds ace, man. Enjoyed chatting with ya at Conjure.



Trent Jamieson said...

Hey Andy,

Thanks. It was good catching up at Conjure - would have been better if I hadn't gotten sick, but that's life.