Weird Luck Interview Part 3

Welcome to this third installment of the Weird Luck interview! If you haven’t already read parts one and two of this series, you can check them out in the previous blog posts. Previously, AutPress partners Nick Walker and Andrew M. Reichart discussed WL’s origins, worldbuilding, and collaboration. This week, you’ll read about how all the pieces — the novels, upcoming serials, and webcomics — all fit together.  

— N.I. Nicholson

Ian: Next, I’d like to ask about how all the pieces fit together in the Weird Luck universe, especially so that newcomers just getting into Weird Luck understand. I (think) I get how the webcomics, Andrew’s previous novels, and Insurgent Otherworld fit together, but how would you summarize or explain this to someone whose first exposure is to only one of these: say, they’ve only read the webcomic, or they’ve only read City of the Watcher?

Nick: The Weird Luck saga is an ever-growing web of interconnected stories. Most of the stories are in prose form, except for the webcomic — though in the future there’ll be more stories in comic form with various artists.

Most pieces of the Weird Luck saga are designed so that they can be enjoyed as standalone stories by anyone who’s never read any of the other pieces. But the idea is that the more pieces you read, the richer your experience, as you get more and more sense of how all the pieces fit together into a bigger picture.

There are aspects of the big picture — mysteries and hidden plot arcs — to be discovered and figured out as one puts together more of the pieces and stumbles on hints within various stories. That’s part of the fun for both us and the reader.

You can read just one piece — just the webcomic, or just one short story in an anthology somewhere — and if we’ve done our job right, that piece is perfectly enjoyable on its own. But we’re always hoping people will want to follow us down the rabbit hole and keep reading more pieces, getting deeper into the intricacies of the bigger tales we’re weaving out of the various pieces.
— Nick Walker

If you think of any saga made up of a series of stories — the Harry Potter books, for instance — there’s a bigger picture that emerges over time; puzzling things that eventually fit into place as you read more of the books. But one thing that makes the Weird Luck saga unusual and brain-twisting is that it’s non-linear. A new reader can start reading with any piece, and read the pieces in any order. And we’re not writing and publishing the pieces in the order in which they take place.

Also, the overall Weird Luck saga isn’t centered around just one single central character or small group of characters. Different characters have their different story arcs. You read any given piece and you’ll get part of the long-term arc of that piece’s central character — and probably also part of the long-term arcs of various other characters. A character who’s central in one piece might be a minor character in a bunch of other pieces. That’s part of the fun, part of the puzzle. Figuring out the story arcs, motives, etc., of the various recurring characters, based on the glimpses you get of them in various stories that take place at various points in their lives. There are characters and events that are important to the big picture but that one only gets to learn about one glimpse at a time in the course of reading stories that center around other things.

You can read just one piece — just the webcomic, or just one short story in an anthology somewhere — and if we’ve done our job right, that piece is perfectly enjoyable on its own. But we’re always hoping people will want to follow us down the rabbit hole and keep reading more pieces, getting deeper into the intricacies of the bigger tales we’re weaving out of the various pieces.

One of the most interesting things about doing it this way is that different readers will have different experiences depending on where they start reading. If you start with the webcomic, you encounter Bianca and you’re like, “Whoa, what’s her deal? Seems like something’s kind of creepy and sinister about her? What’s her species like? How’d she get her job? How’d she lose those fingers?” And if you keep reading the webcomic over time, you’ll eventually learn everything you need to know about her. Or, you could read my novelette “Bianca and the Wu-Hernandez” in the Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber anthology, to find out the truth without having to wait for the webcomic to get to it. On the other hand, if you read “Bianca and the Wu-Hernandez” before you read the webcomic, then your experience of Bianca showing up in the webcomic is entirely different, because you already know her backstory, so it’s sort of like watching the first season of Hannibal, where the viewer already knows Hannibal is a serial killer but the other characters in the show don’t know it yet.

One example of what I mean about story arcs emerging a piece at a time is the Witch-Queen of Gomothrax. The Witch-Queen is a very important character in the Weird Luck saga. She’s had a major influence on the big-picture-level story. But she hasn’t yet appeared in person in any published piece. Instead, readers are getting little hints. You see Gomothrax, her home, at the end of Andrew’s City of the Watcher trilogy, but you don’t get to meet her. She’s mentioned in Insurgent Otherworld, in a letter written by Cordy’s friend Chiku, a researcher of occult artifacts, who reveals some interesting things about her history. And near the end of “Bianca and the Wu-Hernandez,” we learn in passing that Smiley grew up on fairytales in which the Witch-Queen was a character. More of her story will emerge in the future, one small fragment at a time.

As for how the largest pieces we’ve published so far (or are about to publish) fit together chronologically…

  • The biggest single chunk of story so far is Andrew’s City of the Watcher Trilogy,which consists of the novels Weird Luck in the City of the Watcher, Time-Traveling Blues in the City of the Watcher, and Cannibal-King. Because it’s a time-travel story, all three books of the trilogy take place more or less at the same time.
  • Andrew’s story “Monsters,” which appears in the Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamberanthology, takes place about 6 months after the end of Cannibal-King. 
  • Insurgent Otherworld begins about 24 hours after the end of “Monsters,” and takes place over the course of a couple of months.
  • The opening scene of the Weird Luck webcomic takes place about 9 months after the end of Cannibal-King and just a few weeks after the end of Insurgent Otherworld. 
  • Next year, right after we finish serializing Insurgent Otherworld on the Weird Luck website we’ll begin publishing our next collaborative novel, Gods of the Endless Plateau, in weekly installments on the site. Gods of the Endless Plateau begins immediately after the end of Insurgent Otherworld, and takes place over a long enough period of time that parts of it will be concurrent with the first few volumes of the webcomic.
  • My novelette “Bianca and the Wu-Hernandez” takes place 28 years before the opening scene of the webcomic.
  • Andrew’s novel Wallflower Assassin takes place sometime after the first several planned volumes of the webcomic.

Stay tuned for the final part of this interview series! Next week, you’ll read about how the Weird Luck webcomic came into being, plus Nick and Andrew chat the future of WL and the relaunch of Argawarga Press as part of the Autonomous family. To make sure you don’t miss a post, like AutPress on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. While you’re at it, don’t forget to follow the Weird Luck Facebook page for even more WL updates!

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