The King in Yellow
2014 by Duane Pesice
The King, the King, the Yellow King. He and I have been going a couple of rounds.
He and Cassilda are unconvinced by my storyline, telling me that it’s all contrived, and anyway, it’s not their fault that everything around them dies or goes mad from terror. They say that I cannot make everything all science fiction-y and still make it work.
Pfaugh! I say, thumbing my nose. Watch this! And I invent another metaphorical gunman, and he walks out of the machinery and into history.
What’s your conceptual continuity? He wants to know, echoing Zappa. Where’s this all gonna end up?
Y’know, I understand that Philip Klass used to talk out his stories to the extent that he didn’t have to write them, I tell the King, to his face, to his lipcurl. I could make you steampunk–I hiss through my teeth. And not the cool Mike Mignola kind, either.
BUT I GOT THE CRYSTAL BALL! He says, and holds it to the light.
I yawn and don’t even bother to snatch it all away. I think it away.
I’m the writer here, I tell him quietly.
He hoots, or does what passes for a hoot when your face is an animated skull. You’re gonna end up making me have tentacles and shit, he says, with some alarum.
I might, I admit. It has crossed my mind. Even though the Pulver eschews them. I’m not writing his stories. He writes those. I’m writing mine, putting these tropes through their paces as I rush headlong into my possible futures.
I ended the Brown Jenkins series. For now. I think it needs a little work. But the events in it involve a couple of other story cycles, so I’m going to explore those, with an eye toward a couple of eventual books.
The first three will be King in Yellow tales. They will take place on the King’s homeworld, by the shores of the methane lake Hali on the frozen and fiercely intelligent world Carcosa. I’ve taken the time and trouble to work out stuff like how the two moons and five suns would work, and perverted a few tropes to make it all palatable. Hard sf with a dark-fantasy feel.
Those tales lead directly back to Jenkin. And Jenkin leads to the troupe of ghouls that pass(ed) through my stories Ghoul Picnic and The Whispering Trees (in Crazytown), and to Nyarlathotep, that most capricious and conniving of the Great Old Ones.
And Nyarlathotep leads back to the reality of Nat Jenkins and his band, who feature in a novel that’s about 3/4 done. When that’s done, it’s time to revisit the Brown Jenkins series. That wants to be a novel eventually, too. Or a themed collection. I dearly love those. They’re like concept albums for me. I once wrote a 750-word themed collection (It’s in before Crazytown).
The three King in Yellow tales also have soundtracks. Hali, Sunrise On Carcosa, and Sunshine and Scarlet are the titles of the stories and songs that comprise the cycle. I have others, for future stories. Not sure that the inclusion of music isn’t simple conceit but I like doing that, so I’ll continue for now. My stuff.
So, fie, King in Yellow. I shall direct the never-ending play as I would, and you shall go through your steps dutifully.
And remember, there are worlds behind every word.
2015 by Duane Pesice
That’s about all I have to say about that. Lots of new songs coming up. And maybe some painting. After the website gruntwork I’ve been putting off.
Anyone for Letters from Outside?