Monday, May 9, 2011

Where Did It All Begin?

Garth 'Nickels' N'Chalez (don't ask me how to pronounce the name, I only wrote it down like he told me) was first born as an attempt to win a grade 8 creative writing contest. Then, as now, I had absolutely no idea how to write anything 'short'; my entry was the first chapter in an incredibly nebulous, ill-defined and never-ending mash-up of all my favorite genres. I vaguely recall there was a smokin' hot babe named 'Lexani A'lein' (subtle, right) and a super-villain who was, shamefully, a knock-off of The Master. What can I say? I liked Doctor Who. I still do.

From those first, feverish scratchings of a teenaged supernerd, Garth Nickels as he is now was born, but in order to get from then to now, he went through an awful lot of permutations, many of them dictated by what was popular in whatever science fiction genre I read. For a (short) time he was like Bill the Galactic Hero. Even shorter was his incarnation as a hardcore crusty warrior a la every damn thing amazing writers like David Drake wrote about.

I've been a lot of places with Nickels. I've traveled through time with him, I've journeyed through the dimensions. I've subjected that poor bastard to just about every known horror that one fictional human being can endure. At one point, when I wanted desperately to be well shot of the man, I even wrote his death, all so I could turn my focus to something else. And I did, and I will tell you all about that later.

Garth Nickels is now someone I'm essentially proud of; he's come a long, long way from that slapsticky superhero with phenomenal powers and a quip ever-ready on his lips. Oh, he's still got powers (just you wait) and he's still got the quips, but he's fleshed out now. He makes mistakes. He does things he knows he shouldn't do because he, like me, is human

Foreign Devil, the first in at (least) a trilogy of volumes occurring in Latelyspace, is merged together from something like half a million (or MORE) words I've written on the man down through the last fifteen years; even more of what I know never made it to the page, but is stored in this vast cranium of mine. I'm relatively proud of the work, I believe it has merit, I know that if you stick with the story, you'll enjoy the ride. 

Foreign Devil is a fun ride, sure. It's got explosions and death and wise-cracks and even the stereotypically ubiquitous AI sidekick that featured so prominently in the works that crossed my hands in the 90's and most of the decade following. But it's got more than that, it's about more than that. It's about a man trying to find the meaning behind his life, the reasons he is who he is, and I think that is a story that'll never get old.

Foreign Devil starts midway through Garth's life, referencing adventures (both good and bad, brave and awful) that he had while in the employ of Special Services and when I am ready to tackle military science fiction writing, I will assuredly do so. 

For now, if you'd be so kind, join Garth Nickels in Latelyspace. I'm certain you'll enjoy the ride. It will take you places you can't imagine.

As always, go here : Foreign Devil

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