I've always been in love with art books, even if the narrative hangs only on vague thematic hooks rather than on specific details. I love the gaps between, the blank spaces between. That's where you provide your own brand of creative closure. For a kid, those moments are a revelation. I was lucky enough to grow up with some of the best concept art books of the last fifty years--science fiction schematics, fantasy landscapes, books of maps and travelogues to far-off worlds--and their influence haunts me to this day, usually in my video game work, but also in some of the weirder fiction that I've written.
I've spent the last few years involved with the world of Gateway, Sean Andrew Murray's gorgeous and bizarre world of wizards and magic, and in many ways this collaboration has returned me to some of the earlier works that inspired me to tell bizarre stories of my own. Sean is a longtime game concept artist, having worked on games for Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf, Lego, Fantasy Flight, and EA Games, among many others; he's recently been working closely with filmmaker and bestselling author Guillermo Del Toro on a TV series and a YA novel. Sean is an artist of immense imagination, and he's spent years envisioning a sprawling patchwork universe where magic has become life's purest form of expression, and where reason has succumbed to fear. I feel extremely lucky to be a part of the Gateway vision and to play along its winding streets and corridors. It's truly a place where anything can happen.
Today marks the beginning of a new series in the world of Gateway: Gateway Chronicles, an anthology of short fiction featuring characters and stories from all across the city--tales of paupers and kingpins, slaves and sages; each and every one of them is unique to Gateway and its particular, peculiar world. My story, "The Fly Heap," has the distinction of being the first in the Gateway Chronicles series. It is the tale of two criminals, former slaves, who struggle with the burden of freedom and what it means to have a life of your own creation. I had a blast working on it and meddling in the gears of someone else's machine for a change.
I look forward to many more trips to Sean's distant city of wizards. I hope you join me for a spell.