The Interminables began as a lifeboat.
There once was a superhero MMO called City of Heroes, and it shut down for good two years ago, stranding thousands upon thousands of characters in the digital aether.
Most players said goodbye and moved on. I didn’t. I couldn’t. It seemed criminal. I was too attached to these people—they were people by the end, to me and others—and I decided, well, I’ll just write a book then, and they can continue to have adventures there. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Yes, I’ll just write a book.
Then, about five months in, I realized I was no longer constrained by the game world. I was working alone. I could do what I wanted. Suddenly I had a robot fortress and monsters made of skyscrapers and magic of the unspeakable eldritch variety and a character that could only break the sound barrier when he wasn’t thinking about it.
Suddenly I was writing about feelings. I was researching the First World War and everything I could get my hands on about Austria-Hungary and about PTSD and about how this romantic love thing actually works anyway because I’d never quite understood it, but now it all had to be authentic, heartfelt, real. Amidst all the strangeness I couldn’t help—I love the fantastic, I love big machines and brain-bending ideas and chimerical creatures—it had to be real.
Also, somewhere along the line, the lifeboat transformed into a puzzle box.
Some of my greater influences are humor writers like Pat McManus and Bill Bryson, and humor deals in unexpected angles. Third options. Expectations met or unmet. Ideas raised and discarded and raised again (at speed, if that idea happens to be a garden rake). Perhaps due to this, The Interminables explains itself in scattered pieces and punchlines. It’s more entertaining to both write and read, in my opinion, and besides, I wanted to get to the action and the giant monsters.
Of course, being an English major, I do like to tell myself that there is more to it. That you can have giant monsters and still be ‘deep,’ like Ray Bradbury. I like to think that I have something to say about the futility of war, about getting by the best you can with what you have, about power and when you should or shouldn’t use it, about memory and history and dealing with mental illness and prejudice and so on…
…but in the end I think The Interminables is mostly about two strange old guys and their strange old relationship, something like Charles Xavier and Magneto if Magneto finally joined the X-Men and Xavier wasn’t bald. I am okay with this.
I hope you are, too.