Greetings Ladies and Gents! We are happy to have an author published by our friends at Titan Books stopping by the blog to today to share a bit about his work. Take a look and enjoy!
Points of Divergence: Writing Multiple Worlds
Mark A Latham
I’ve been a huge fan of multiple-worlds narratives (aka parallel universe fiction, or ‘many worlds’ fiction) since I was a kid, and it seems only natural that it forms the basis of the first series I ended up writing as a grown-up. It probably started with Narnia, although crossing through the Lazarus Gate guarantees anything but talking animals and wide-eyed adventure. From CS Lewis, the teenage me devoured fantasy, SF and horror, and it was always multiple worlds stories that kept me up late at night reading. Stephen King and Peter Straub’s The Talisman was my favourite book as a teenager. Later, it was Brian Lumley’s Necroscope books. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by the theme – check out The Long Earth, The Garden of Forking Paths, Flatland, The Dark Tower, Men Like Gods (and even Wells’ more famous The Time Machine), and Coraline for some truly mind-bending parallel worlds fiction.
With the Apollonian Casefiles, I’ve taken a very specific path for the world-building. The Otherside is an alternate reality, with an alternate history. It’s always had a more esoteric nature, probably due to its proximity to the Rift (there be monsters), but it was only one particular historical event that led to catastrophe, resulting in the Otherside becoming very different from our world. This event is the point of divergence, and forms the basis of the Otherside’s ‘rules’ (every SF world needs rules, however loose, to allow the reader to suspend disbelief). The event I chose? The attempted assassination of one Margaret Fox in 1873. Sounds like a minor event to derail a world, right? Wrong…
Kate and Margaret Fox were infamous American sisters, the world’s first spiritualists, who caused a sensation across the world for their séances and feats of table-rapping. Leading scientists attested that their mediumship was genuine – that the girls really could contact spirits. The sisters took their show on the road, touring the world, and founding the Spiritualist Church in Great Britain – even Queen Victoria was a fan. In 1873, representatives of the Church of Latter Day Saints attempted to assassinate Margaret Fox in New York, but failed. On the Otherside, however, they succeeded. When they did, the source of the Fox Sisters’ power was revealed. Each of them possessed a demon familiar, which they kept in check by means of their prodigious psychic gifts. When Margaret died, the demon was unleashed. Half of New York fell into the sea as earthquakes wracked the land. Across the United States, people were driven mad. A torrent of flame burst from Margaret Fox’s stricken body, making the skies burn with liquid fire. The veil between the Otherside and the Rift grew precariously thin. The remaining Fox Sister, Kate, becomes the glue that holds the fabric of reality together, and seeks asylum in England, where she becomes Queen Victoria’s trusted aide.
The Iscariot Sanction is a prequel to The Lazarus Gate, set in 1879, exploring what happened next, from the state of world politics to the ‘awakening’ of gifted psychics – or Majestics – around the world; events that would ultimately culminate in the construction of the Lazarus Gate. Coupled with the events described in The Lazarus Gate itself – along with the notion that the gates could potentially – just maybe – allow ingress to other worlds too, the possibilities for future stories are endless.
Almost as infinite, one might say, as the number of parallel universes out there, beyond the veil…
Both titles are available now via http://titanbooks.com/creators/mark-a-latham/
Thank you Mark and Titan Books for keeping us in the loop of the amazing work coming out of the UK!!