The AndyZone

The Official Home on the Web for Fans of Author William Andy Hainline

The official place in cyberspace for author William A. Hainline's The Reality Engineers,  a zany, irreverent sci-fi series that looks at life in a weird universe through the eyes of geeks and nerds.  Also, it's about  aliens trying to invade earth.  And elder gods.  And oh yeah — high-tech superheroes and supervillains.  Can't forget those.

New Screenplay Idea

For the longest time, I've wanted to produce a movie.  The only problems have been that (1) a complete lack of money, and (2) no screenplay, which I would have to write.  Well, at least one of those problems is about to be solved, as I finally managed to cobble together an idea for a screenplay the other day.  Tell me what you think!  The tentative title is "Glitter Rock: The Story of Next Laser And The Atomic Therapy."  I know, it sucks, and will probably change sometime in the future.  But, for now, here's the basic idea:

“One part ‘Fantasia,’ two parts ‘Moulin Rouge,’ three parts ‘Sucker Punch,’ and a pinch of ‘Pink Floyd: The Wall.’”

Our story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, after the world has run out of oil and the ozone layer is very thin, and nuclear wars have ravaged the planet.  Nuclear power is everywhere, as are lawless “Wasteland Zones” between the various Mega-Cities.  Due to the cyclic nature of fads and styles and trends, the culture, music, and the fashion of the 1980’s have come back in a big way. Nuclear-powered, “legendary super-rockers” dominate the charts, with reality-TV talent shows being a way of life and death, with the losers exiled to the Wastelands in front of a worldwide audience, and with the winners elevated to the status of cultural gods — and sometimes made literally immortal! —with all the fame and glory that comes from winning that holiest of holy grails, a Platinum Recording Contract with the entertainment mega-corp known as "Radioactive Records.”  Deadly “rock offs" are a common method of street warfare between rival bands, wherein musical instruments become sonic (and psychotronic) weapons of mass destruction!  Set against each other by the forces of the economy and the environment, these rival bands vie for the chance to be chosen to perform for the harsh judges of the reality-TV shows that populate the airwaves.  But, there is a strong backlash agains this “rock ’n roll as way of life” culture, in the form of the militant Christian matron known as Mother Gore, the leader of a dominionist movement called the The Lyrical Truth, who seeks to spread the “holy gospel of Christ” at the point of a gun, and who despises the rock ’n roll lifestyle, seeing it as a way for the Devil to influence and destroy the youth of the world.  (Her television ministry is also a competitor for ratings with the Number 1 hit rock-reality show entitled "The Death Of Obsolescence," and thus is later revealed the real reason she fights . . .)  Gore has created an army of cyborgs who will fight and die at her command, and now, she plans on using science and black magic to conjure forth a real-life demon from Hell, and blame its rampage on the depravity of the rock-warrior world.  But, she cannot do this without the right tools, one of which is “the perfect pair of Heavenly voices,” the like of which Detroit Rock City has never heard . . . until now.

 

Against this wild dystopian backdrop appears a little-known rock band who calls themselves “Next Laser And The Atomic Therapy” who can only get gigs in the seedier parts of the cyberpunk Megalopolis known as “Detroit Rock City.”  They are a group of dreamers and misfits who cling together partly out of nostalgia for better days gone by, and partly out of a deep sense of kinship, as they all share a common dream and goal:  To be Number One on the Billboard Charts, which has become more important than the once-powerful New York Stock Exchange (and which functions as a sort of scoreboard for who gets to live, and who will soon die).  The band’s lead vocalists — the sweet-natured siren Bethany “Spectre” Devine and the over-the-top, metal-operatic singer Chaz “Lasagna” Bozeman, who is also the band’s bass-player — are polar opposites who fight constantly, he being a passionate dreamer and she being a den-mothering realist..  Spectre is also the band’s resident sound-and-light engineer, and is in love with the band’s guitarist named Gabriel “Thorin” Oswald, a frustrated, self-centered megalomaniac who is blind to Bethany’s advances (but not those of attractive young groupies.  The band’s keyboardist and lead songwriter, James “Wolfgang” Rockman — is a hyperactive spaz with cybernetic implants in his brain; he is a highly-eccentric genius who is somewhat blinded by his obsession with creating “the perfect Wagnerian rock-opera” (and who secretly has a “thing” for Bethany, which he will never tell her about).  Rounding out the bunch is Allen “Motown” Sound, the drummer who speaks in arrhythmic, rhapsodic verse, will use anything as a set of drums, and is fond of quoting classical poetry in order to woo women.  Together, these six weirdos form “Next Laser And The Atomic Therapy,” a little-known, down-and-out rock group that will change the face of Detroit Rock City — and perhaps the whole world — forever . . . if they aren’t killed on the road to fame and glory first, and if Mother Gore doesn’t get her hyper-religious, cybernetic claws on them.  And, of course, provided they don’t kill each other before they become one with the stars.  Can the rival bands of the world step up and unite together to fight the forces of evil?

Hitting The Word-Count Mark

So, I hit the 230,000 word mark recently in my latest novel, Dralkowynn's Doom.  The projected length for the first book is 325,000 words, which is just a hair longer than the first book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, so that seems about right, for your typical epic fantasy.  Then again, this isn't your typical fantasy novel — I had a lot of backstory to establish in the first 100 pages, and I think, to my chagrin, it shows a bit.  But oh well — at least I'm still cranking out words, right?  I decided long ago that I wasn't going to allow the length of my works to be dictated by the standards set by publishers for first-time authors, which is what I would be considered in their eyes, seeing as how not a lot of them count self-published works.  Hopefully, once this (also self-published) series gets going, I'll be able to generate some sales . . . and thus validate myself as an author in terms of the almighty cash-flow factor.  My thought is, that as a self-published author, I have a duty to the story and characters first, and to perceptions (and prescriptions) of length second.  Not that I don't care about my readers' eyeballs — I do.  I know that big, long books can be difficult, but then again, look at the last three installments of the Harry Potter series — so excellently told, so wonderfully, cleverly plotted — and tell me that Rowling would have been better off cutting 25% of them.  Nah, didn't think so.  Besides — this is one of those story's that's intended to be larger than life; it should feel like an epic when you hold it in your hands; should read like the War and Peace of fantasy books.  Length by itself does not equate to quality, but, the more room that we as authors allow ourselves to really stretch out and explore our worlds, our characters' lives, etc., can — I think — make the resulting work that much more engaging and fulfilling for readers.  Plus, I think todays' readers want to be challenged.  I think they're tired of the easily-tossed-aside, disposable fiction that seems to dominate the bestseller charts, and cry out for something meatier to sate their literary appetites.  Of course, I could be wrong about that.  But, I'm betting I'm not.

The Reviews Are In . . . And They're Awesome

Pardon me, folks, but I couldn't resist the urge to brag a little.  So far, my first trilogy,  The Reality Engineers, has garnered some rave reviews thus far on Amazon and in other places.  Here's the on that I'm most proud of so far, from Fantascize.com:

Escapism feels like a fiesta in William A. Hainline's The Reality Enginners, a sci-fi comedy novel that celebrates geek culture with undying passion. Like the fan conventions that define its charms, Volume 1: What Happens in Con Stays At Con  takes you to a crucible of worlds, a hodgepodge of modern speculative entertainment where fandoms collide and geeks rule. If Kick Ass and Ready Player One had a love child, it would probably resemble something like The Reality Engineers

The story is set in a popular convention called RetCon XVIII, and amongst the celebrities, cosplayers, and geeks who gather in this wild event, are two gifted scientists with a knack for mind-blowing technology and fandom knowledge. Desirée “Dizzy” Roentgen is a bad-ass inventor/heroine who reminds me of Hit-Girl from Kick Ass. The other genius is Terry "Gadget" Anders; his invention is a helm that gives him psionic powers–telepathy, telekinesis, and force-field formation. Their talents are as impressive as their expertise on comic books and popular sci-fi shows like Doctor Who and Star Trek

Much of their activities are described in techno-babble; their conversations are dashed with in-joke humor, fandom quotes, and sexual innuendos (which could be a mix of all, at times). Some non-geeks might have to Google some references to fully get the easter eggs that Hainline expertly weaves in the story. The allusions don't feel forced; most of the time, if you get what the characters meant, you'd laugh at their outrageous contexts. They have to work together, along with their friends, to hunt down a tentacled alien disguised as a sexy female Vulcan who targets lonely geeks. 

The extrapolation of technology sounds smart; Hainline would describe the inventions' mechanical aspects in fine details as if he knows exactly how they work. Their visual style is impressive and often pleasantly weird; yet you don't see the full potential of their functions til the latter half of the story. The early scenes drag a bit, with excessive demonstrations of their geeky passions: they debate about the philosophy of Star Trek fandom, play Dungeons & Dragons, flirt and role-play as they awkwardly quote famous sci-fi lines. The book's witty humor and visual spectacles would definitely entertain, especially if you're a part of the fandoms discussed. Hainline's anything-goes style has its ups-and-downs: It's fun to read, but sometimes I wished that the characters would be more focused on the plot, their quest to kill a monstrous alien. 

The story, eventually gains momentum, however; it gets more interesting when the enemy is unleashed, causing havoc in a convention. The motive of the alien is strange; it's like a parody of alien invasion movies, and with the rampant chaos, I had a feeling that the scenes would go Hentai-mode, but Hainline keeps it at PG-13 level. 

Hey, let's face it...if you were an alien on a jizz-collecting mission and you needed a bunch of horny men who were willing to stick their Shai-Hulud into almost anything with two legs and a heartbeat, where better than a con?

There are a lot of cute surprises such as pistol-wielding gorillas, pseudo-science, and time-travel, but the novel's strengths aren't just composed of its visual flares. Underneath its comedy and plethora of geek references is a story about alienation, courage, and friendship. It shows an honest view of the culture: geeks and nerds are alienated in the real world. This inspiring speech boldly presents the truth that the whole novel boldly conveys: 

Basically, what I’m saying is that us nerds, geeks, and fanboys? We’re the intellectual Other. Because way deep down in our con- sciousness, there’s something different going on. There’s a part of us that never embraced the process of social homogenization that society likes to call ‘growing up.’ They associate maturity with what they call reality, a narrow subset of pos- sibilities that they privilege. And man, they worship their reality, and treat any- body who doesn’t buy into it as the Other. But something deep in the core of who we are rejects their reality, just as they reject us because we reject it, an auto- immune response on the paradigm level. We dream of things like dragons, tele- porters, time machines, and aliens . . . of unknown futures, of other worlds. They dream about banging porn stars and getting promotions. Honorable pur- suits, to be sure, but ultimately meaningless, simplistic, Mundane, with little imaginative significance. Look at the past twenty-five years of scientific, techno- logical, and philosophical progress, and name me one mover and shaker who wasn’t a geek, nerd, or hippy, or some other type of social fringe event? When has a quote-unquote ‘normal’ person ever shattered the boundaries of human understanding? When has ‘fitting in’ ever gotten anyone into the history books? True fact: It hasn’t. Does being different guarantee you a spot? No. But being different and being great? Now that will earn you top marks. Notice, though, that ‘being different’ is in the prerequisites. The Mundanes, they know this. They never speak it, but they know it in their bones. It’s why they Otherize us— makes ‘em feel more significant. Well, I say it’s high-time we toss ‘em kicking and screaming out of Plato’s Cave . . . help them wake up from the self-induced sleep they call ‘reality.’ Hell, you ask me? Freaking the Mundanes isn’t just fun . . . it’s a frakkin’ moral imperative! And the best way to do that is standin’ in the proverbial elevator with our backs to the door. Or by banging a Vulcan in there, either way.

The Reality Engineers is smart and funny. Hainline's passion for the geek community is genuine. Because of its comedic elements, nostalgia, and spectacular action, I would put it in the same shelf with John Scalzi's Red Shirt and Erenest Cline's Ready Player One. These days, the sci-fi industry needs more fun and optimism, and Reality Engineers is a rare kind of novel that fills that void.

 

An Excerpt From "Dralkowynn's Doom"

Hello everyone out there in cyberspace!  For the past several months, I've been hard at work on a brand new novel, a romantic, adventurous blending of science fiction and fantasy, which will be the start of a whole new series that I call The Chronicles of Aeòvandàr.  The first book in the series will be called Dralkowynn's Doom, with the other titles being similar in that they'll all be called "Dralkowynn's something," etc.  These tales will, as I said, be a combination of high fantasy and hard sci-fi . . . a world where the masters of arcane technology are called Wizards, and where Faery creatures (modeled on the Celtic Túatha de Danann), are actually alien beings from the stars.  

So, then . . . ladies and gentlemen — for your consideration, please allow me to proudly present an excerpt from Dralkowynn's Doom:

A thousand and one hundred years later, in Aeòthánia, capital of the Kingdom known as Lóeth-Lórica, King Evrin Dralkowynn paced back and forth in the throne-room of his castle-keep, studying the map of the city that his top two generals, Valarys Sagyren and Albrecht Stonewarden, had laid out for him on a large wooden table.  Dotted with small pewter figurines, the map indicated potential defensive strategies, with hastily-scribbled notes scratched in places, the strokes of the two generals’ quill-pens as different as the men themselves.  Valarys and Albrecht—the first a stodgy old-timer with a hard-lined face and a patch over the eye that he had lost in the last war, the second a somewhat younger, more fastidious man of thirty, his uniform immaculate and his tiny mustache finely oiled—stood on either side of their king, also looking down at the map.  Whatever differences were between the two men, the expressions that they wore now were equally dark and grim.  Outside the arrow-slit windows of the elongated, elliptical and finely-polished throne room, the rain continued, as did the boom of thunder from above.  Perhaps a sign from the gods that his reign was soon to end.  He would have to consult with Ibrahaim about that.  Presently, the pious old priest with thin, greying hair and wrinkles beneath his eyes—dressed in a plain, grey robe as befitted his office—sat across from Evrin and between the two generals, quietly pondering a passage from that holiest of books, the Legendarium.  The room was lit by candle-light and a fireplace, and their flickering fires cast a yellow-orange pallor over the faces of all those assembled, faces darkened by the sure knowledge that come morning, there might not be a castle-keep left to stand in, let alone defend.

From outside the keep came the sounds of a city under siege—shouts of orders, the ring of metal on metal, the hollering of attacking troops, the sound and smell of fires burning out of control—raged, the thunderstorm a gloomy backdrop for the city’s gradual destruction.  That bastard Ronel Talamouth, ruler of the neighboring kingdom of Ardyngard, had declared war on Evrin and his people, and had vowed to overtake all of Lóeth-Lórica and to annex its lands for his own.  He already occupied the river-city of Rydderton, and had now managed to slash and burn his way eastward, all the way to the very heart of Lóeth-Lórica itself, to the very walls of its capital!  Since the end of the Great Winter in 100 A.E., nine hundred years before, his forefathers and their forefathers had labored to build Aeòthánia into the glorious city it was now—a grand mecca of commerce and affluence known the seven kingdoms over, the beauty of its architecture unparalleled by any other city anywhere—and now, it was all going to be torn down and destroyed, its tall, silver-needle towers toppled by a madman.  And if the present siege lasted much longer, the destruction would begin from within, for without supplies from the outside world, Evrin’s people would soon begin to starve . . . and then the riots would begin, and he’d have yet another front on which to fight . . . but this time, the enemy would be his own people!

He did not have enough men to put down riots and drive back Ronel’s forces.  He knew this, and so did Valarys and Albrecht.  Trell, so did Ibrahaim, and he wasn't even a strategist!  But, having enough men was not always the answer.  He had fought both Dragons and Dràthýrg-hordes with fewer than “enough” men, and had lived to tell the tale.  He would survive this, too, and so would his people.  He would protect them with his dying breath, if he had to, for unlike that tyrant Ronel, he considered himself a good king who actually loved his subjects . . . when they weren’t rioting in the streets for his head, that was.  Outside the castle, thunder crashed again, and lightning flashed.

“Well, your Majesty?” said Valarys with a sigh.  “What do we do, now?  If you ask me, we’re fresh out of options.  We need to think about surrender.  Doing so could yield a tactical advantage, in the long-run.”

"Prayer is always an option, your Majesty," said Ibrahaim, closing his battered copy of the Legendarium and sighing heavily.  “The gods will always reward fealty and service with justice, your Majesty, no matter the odds against those who truly believe.  So, I advise we pray, and wait for the gods to intervene.  After all, it cannot hurt.”

“Ha!” barked Valarys.  “Prayer!  A perfect way to convince yourself that you’re doing something positive when in fact you’re doing nothing.

“Spare us your irreligious cynicism, General,” said Ibrahaim, drawing himself up a bit.  “That’s not helpful, either.”

Evrin pinched his nostrils together and sighed.  “Is that truly the best idea that any of you have?  To merely pray harder, and hope that the gods come down here and intervene?  Come on, Ibrahaim.  I’m as pious a King as any—it was through the mingling of my ancestors’ blood with that of the gods, once upon a time, that established the Divine Right to begin with—but even I have to say that ‘prayer’ isn’t exactly a compelling solution.  What am I supposed to do—go out there on that balcony and tell my subjects to all just pray harder, and that food will Magically appear for them?  Come on, pull the other one.”

Ibrahaim shrugged.  “It couldn’t hurt, your Majesty.”

“No, I’ll tell you what we’ll do . . .” said Evrin, taking a sip of his wine.  Outside, the sounds of steel on steel and of men dying in battle drifted up through the castle-keep windows.  He refilled his goblet from the pitcher, took another drink, then sighed.  “My old friends, it is time to take risks, to gamble.  Even on long-odds such as this . . .”  He snapped his fingers and set down his wine.  He had had an idea.  “That man, the one from the Guild.  The one who came here yesterday for an audience with me.  The one I dismissed as a ‘crackpot.’  You two were here at the time, weren’t you?  What was that man’s name, again?”

The two generals exchanged a look.  Albrecht looked thoughtful for a moment, then answered.  “I believe his name was . . . Trevail, your Majesty.  Yes, Arthur Trevail, of the Natural Philosophers’ Guild.  Fairly sure about that.  But sure, surely you’re not thinking of listening to that one!  The man’s clearly unhinged, a lunatic!”

“Hmph!” snorted Ibrahaim, a sour look on his face.  “‘Natural Philosophers’—bah!  Sorcery, if you ask me.  Little better than the invocation of demons.  One problem does not solve another, your Majesty, and believe me, that lot are a problem just waiting to happen.  Next thing you know, you’ll be calling on the Rangers to get involved!”

“This whole damned war is ‘unhinged,’ and I’m fighting a lunatic,” replied Evrin bitterly, shaking his head.  “No.  I should not have dismissed the man—nor his ideas—so quickly.  We are tight on treasure, yes, and his plan is expensive, yes . . . and no, it isn’t likely to succeed . . . but perhaps we’re not so tight that we cannot gamble that he is secretly  some sort of genius.  Where’s a page when I need one.  Elric?  Elric!”  Evrin looked around as he called to the young, sandy-blond-headed pageboy, who stood nervously at attention, just behind Albrecht.  The boy had wanted to join the army and fight, Evrin remembered, but his lazy left eye had prevented it.  He had spirit, though, that one, and Evrin liked spirit.  “Ah, there you are, boy.  Do your king’s will and go to tell the Guardsmen out front to go and fetch me a man named Arthur Trevail.  He’s a member of the Natural Philosopher’s Guild, so he should be fairly easy to find.  He’s probably somewhere in that blackstone tower of theirs, the one near the eastern gates.  And tell them to hurry!

“Yes, your Majesty!” cried Elric, snapping to attention.  He darted out of the room, and closed the doors behind him.  For a brief moment, when the doors opened, Evrin could hear the chaos of his great city, could hear the fires Ronel had set crackling, could hear each clash of swords, each scream as each spear went through each gut . . . and it sickened him.  Was this truly the end of his reign?  Aeòthánia?  Lóeth-Lórica?  Was his legacy to be a king who went down in flames, in utter defeat and ruin?

“Good lad, that one,” observed Albrecht, gesturing to where Elric had stood.  “Pretty boy, too.  I might want to borrow him sometime.  For administrative purposes, of course.”

“So, your Majesty,”  said Valarys, clearing his throat and casting a disapproving eye toward Albrecht.  “We bet everything on this one man’s wild ideas about this ‘exploding powder’ of his, or whatever he called it?  Mixing bird shit with ashes to produce . . . what again?  Pfaw!  Forgive me, sire, but surely—”

“For once the General and I agree, your Majesty,” said Ibrahaim, nodding fiercely.  “I warn you, sire:  We of the Magisteria cannot officially sanction or condone any course of action that draws too heavily on the talents of those . . . Philosophers and their blasphemous ‘researches.’  Anything that emboldens those men must be thought of as a last resort, and a last resort only!  Surely, your Majesty will not entrust the safety of the kingdom to those . . . those impious atheists.”  He cast a sharp eye toward Valarys.

“Wait!” said Albrecht, snapping his fingers, an idea lighting on his face.  “I’ve got it.  Perhaps we could use the old sewer tunnels under the city as escape routes!  We could begin evacuating immediately, your Majesty.  Why, some of those tunnels lead all the way to the Gorovalyne River!  We could start getting our people to safety immediately.  The river leads directly into Ashen Forest, and on through to the kingdom of Edòrica.  Surely Queen Desdera would take us in, your Majesty.  She has ever been our friend and ally, so why not?”

“No, no, no,” said Valarys, shaking his head.  “We already discussed something similar when this siege first began, and those tunnels simply aren’t big enough.  They can get as narrow as two feet across in some places, and there’s a very real danger of cave-ins . . . and then you’re dealing with dozens of dead or trapped people and a backed-up sewer-line.  There’s a reason the sewers are closed to foot-travel, aside from the fact that they’re full of muck and stink to high-heavens.  So, no.”

Albrecht looked crestfallen for a moment.  “Well then your Majesty, perhaps we should consider surrender.

Evrin scowled at him.  “No.  Never.  I shall never yield to that bastard!”

“Normally, I would agree, your Majesty,” said Valarys.  “But if the rumors I’ve heard about Ronel’s armies are true, then surrender may not be save us.  I’ve heard he has Draytorilaen slaves fighting for him.”  His tone was as grim as the subject he spoke of; the word itself carried terrifying weight.

“That can’t be true,” said Evrin.  “The Draytorilaen are an unbreakable, indomitable people.  We know, we’ve tried.  So how can Ronel have some as slaves?”  Still, the prospect worried him greatly.  The Draytorilaen were not Human.  They were large, blue-furred wolfen man-beasts—half wolf, half man, all appetite and savagery—who lived in the forests and glens and caves of the world, their primitive societies little better than tribal structures, their tongues crude and their weapons even cruder.  They were fierce warriors, and it was known that they rarely took any prisoners . . . and when they seldom did, those prisoners were never heard from again.  Centuries before, they and Humankind had become bitter enemies, with the Humans of the world hunting them for their rich pelts, and with them hunting Humans as food.  The Legendarium spoke of a time when the two had been friends, even allies, but Evrin wasn’t so sure that he believed everything the Legendarium said.

Just then, there came a sharp knock at the door.  The four men exchanged puzzled looks.  As King, Evrin did not have any other business scheduled.  He had made sure of that; he had partitioned off this time specifically for a discussion on strategy with these two, and to take some time to listen to whatever advice Ibrahaim had to give.  All his aides knew better than to bother him when he was in session with someone—especially his two chief military advisers and his Magisterial adviser.  Outside, the sounds of battle continued, the brutal cries of a city under attack, the roaring of great fires, the death-rattles of his mighty empire, his legacy . . .

“Tell whoever it is to go away!  Evrin yelled to the Guardsman by the door, and pounded his fist on the map in frustration.  “The King is well-occupied!”

The Guardsman gave a brief salute—fist on heart for a quick moment, coupled with a bow of the head—turned and opened the door, and spoke softly to whoever was there.  Then, he paused, and looked back at his king, a slightly consternated look on his face, as though he wasn’t sure what to do next.  He shut the door, appeared to think for a moment, and then crossed the room to where Evrin and the other two stood.  He gave a brief but respectful bow, and then said:

“Erm, your Majesty . . . they . . . they say it’s urgent that they speak with you.”  He had a far-off look in his eyes, and his voice was tinged with a mixture of wonder and— fear?  His expression said that he was currently very busy trying to sort out some complex problem.  “They say . . . they say that if you grant them an audience . . . they can stop the siege of the city, sire.  They say they can even stop the war.

“Oh-ho!” Evrin laughed bitterly.  “Can ‘they’ now?  And just who might ‘they’ be?”

“I . . . didn’t get a name, sire,” the Guardsman replied, sounding extremely unsure of himself.  “I’ve never . . . never really seen anything quite like this before.  But they said they are here to help.”

“Great,” snorted Ibrahaim.  “What now—the Rangers?  Mercenary scoundrels, that lot!  Or perhaps more godless Philosophers?”

Evrin squared his shoulders, sighed, and glowered at both Ibrahaim and the Guardsman.  “Well tell whoever it is that their service is appreciated, but that their king commands them to go the Trell away.  And if ‘they’ do not leave, then do your duty and arrest ‘them,’ whoever ‘they’ may be, Guardsman.”  He returned his gaze to the map.  “Now, then, gentlemen, where were—”

“But we can end this siege for you, and end the war, your Majesty,” came the ringing of a powerful-sounding female voice from every corner of the room at once.  Quickly, Evrin and the others looked around for the source.  The voice came again:  “In fact, your Majesty, that is already in progress as we speak.”  As startled as the rest of them, the Guardsman turned aside to reveal their new—and apparently, very insolent, thought Evrin—visitors.  He and his two generals could only gawk at them. Strolling into the throne-room through the gilded double-doors that led to the rest of the palace, there came a group of three men and four women, all with unnaturally pale-white skin, no hair upon their shiny heads, and bright, glimmering, jewel-like eyes . . . eyes so bright they were almost aflame, like stars settled into craters on their faces.  And, all of their eyes were the same, vivid shade of almost-glowing blue, Evrin noted.  He would later remember thinking, breathlessly, such striking eyes!  So odd.

Their visitors were dressed only in hooded robes of jet-black silk, their many folds held in place by small, black, studded leather straps that went to and fro.  Odder still.  And of the twelve, a regal young woman—or at least, she looked young; the skin of her face had a strange, ageless quality to it—walked out in front, a soft half-smile on her lips.  The tip of her tall white staff had a bright, green jewel embedded in it, and it clicked softly against the polished stone flooring as she walked.  And with each click of wood to stone, the jewel in the top of the staff flashed with emerald light.  Even odder still.  And upon those shorn heads of theirs . . . were those crowns?  They had the look of silver circlets, with strange, glistening hieroglyphs inscribed on them.  But no, wait . . . Evrin could see, with a small wince, that they were not crowns at all, nor were they merely decorative:  No, they were part of their heads themselves, as painful and impossible as that sounded; the circlets were seemingly fastened to the skull itself, and protruded up though the skin like strange, ring-shaped metal bones.  Their bearers did not appear to be in pain, though.  In fact, the bald, pale woman with the tall, bejeweled staff and striking blue eyes was presently smiling at them.  “You Humans,” she said with a sigh, looking Evrin up and down.  “Still playing your ‘game of thrones’ after all these centuriesWhat are we to do with you, I wonder?”

 

The Obligatory Inaugural Post

I suppose I should write something meaningful here; this is, after all, my new home on the web, the place where you can come to hear me rant, rave, and scream from the hilltops about whatever is on my mind at the moment, any time of day or night.  This is, after all, supposed to be your one-stop-shop for all things Andy-related, so I'd better make this post a good one, just to grab you and suck you in early, get you hooked like a junkie.  Alas, I can think of no great sayings, no wise quotations, no witty rejoinders, so you'll just have to settle for this, the official inaugural post on the blog.  Stay tuned for all sorts of weirdness, coolness, madness, and otherness; prepare to jack yourself straight into my stream of consciousness, and buckle up . . . 'cause Kansas?  It's goin' bye-bye.  While you're here, why not explore some of the links over to your left (or if you're on a mobile device, up at the top).  There, you can find all my cool 3D artwork, as well as can find my books, which I promise are way more awesome than this lame, self-referential blog post.  No, really, they are.  You should go check 'em out post-haste, and maybe even buy one!  I write science fiction and fantasy, and sometimes a blending of the two.  I even throw in elements of horror and romance, too!

I'm constantly working on and refining this site — so if you don't like something you see, just wait, 'cause it'll probably change.

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