I know I should be working harder, or more on Lord of Poison but I just had to get this out there because I’m entirely too excited about this!
As you know, XENOCHRISTand Lord of Poison are part of the Of Man & Machine anthology series, and I always knew there would be a book that needed to sort of add some closure to the first book. This won’t use any of the first two books’ main characters or even side characters as the main one, but will heavily feature them because the story will involve them in some way that I’ll reveal once Lord of Poison comes out (eventually, whenever that might be).
For now, however, I will present to you Ave Plague.
Ave Plague will tell the story of a bounty hunter some years after the ending of Lord of Poison and just from the outlines I’ve been drafting I get the feeling this book will be in the 150k words area if not more. There’s just so much I want to do with it, but for now I have main plot points and main character down.
Following the naming convention of the first two I knew I needed to go with a religious theme, but with a sinister twist. I truly feel like this will be a huge payoff for everyone reading XENOCHRISTand eventually Lord of Poison. Where XENOCHRIST pays homage to death metal, and Lord of Poison with famed artist David Alfaro Siqueiros, Ave Plague will have classical-era (think Baroque etc) music and composer homages. The book will also feature very strong themes of faith and religion. Not that it’ll argue that you must believe, but more about a look into what faith is and how the main character explores it albeit in a cyberpunk future.
And as always I have a teaser cover for Ave Plague:
I don’t have an expected release for this outside of anytime around 2022 possibly. I think this’ll be my biggest book yet so it could take longer, but if I can get Lord of Poison finished by spring 2021 I’ll start working on Ave Plague around May/June and hopefully have it finished within a year from start.
I’ve now finished the prologue and first chapter of my next novel in the Of Man & Machine series Lord of Poison! I’ve also started some of the other minor processes for the novel, a lesson learned from doing XENOCHRIST. With my first novel I waited until after I’d already written and edited to get everything together, the cover, the marketing images etc., so I’m happy to be doing all of that while writing Lord of Poison.
I think my biggest snag is making sure I stay as faithful as possible to a lot of the cultural aspects referenced. With XENOCHRISTI was able to invent a lot of things since the characters travel a lot in that book, but with Lord of Poison it all takes place in central Mexico, so I’m having to study and ask a lot of questions just to stay true to the cultural sources. There’s some things I do know and understand because I live in Mexico City, but as a white male writer who isn’t from this culture you often see writers just like me fail in that regard. That’s how we got American Dirt! The last thing I’ll ever do is write something so culturally and ethnically obtuse.
Ultimately, for me, Lord of Poison is a celebration of such an incredible place full of incredible people. When we scifi/cyberpunk authors write we often use Japanese influenced imagery, XENOCHRIST wasn’t immune to that either, so I wanted to really do something different.
Mexico City is now Metropoli de Mexico and it has that “used future” feel you get from works like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, but instead of the “future retro” vibe of Japan it’s Mexico. There’s so much beauty in this country and so many cool things to imagine a cyberpunk future with that I think it’d be so cool to explore. Like, imagine a cyberpunk future where your camotero or tamalero uses a flying or hovering cart to bring you plantains or tamales? It’d make my life more convenient rather than having to run 3 flights down and chase the guy!
I guess what the post has turned in to is my point that there are still so many incredible scifi and cyberpunk stories to tell in locations that aren’t often used, with themes largely ignored. I’m not pioneering anything with my story in Lord of Poison, but I hope that I can add to such a great catalog of existing stories of the future set in non-traditional futuristic settings.
If you haven’t noticed already I’ve made a few updates to my “Works In Progress” section regarding “The Brainkiller”; namely I’ve changed the title. “Lord of Poison” will be the same story and setting as the novel formerly known as “The Brainkiller”. This change came after discussing with my good friend and XENOCHRIST cover artist Brian aka Brain Killer with what the next book’s title should be. The novel’s plot will still involve our protagonist artist Velouria seeking the artist named BRAIN///KILLER, but we’ve added some changes to keep the two brands separate.
I settled on the title “Lord of Poison” as it’s a reference to an artist I’ve been heavily influenced by, Mexican social realist painter David Alfaro Siqueiros, and his 1918 piece titled “The Lord of Poison” which is referenced in my novel. The story behind the painting itself has several versions but all of them involve a priest here in Mexico who would kiss the Corpus Christi and the feet were poisoned by someone to assassinate said priest. The legend is the feet of the statue moved inward to keep the priest from kissing the statue, and in another version, the icon itself absorbed the poison thus the statue turning black.
My expected time for finishing everything, writing, editing etc is Spring 2021 and will probably have the same release window as XENOCHRIST. For now you can follow my blog and my social medias for any updates!