Friday, February 7, 2014

Appendix N+1

In a discussion a few weeks ago, Aos said he was tired of the typical Appendix N and more interested in what creators specifically found inspirational in the works they cited. This is not at all a bad idea and something that I've seen in blog posts (and done some of myself), but there should probably be more if it.

To that end, here's a look behind of the curtain of some of my Strange Stars material. Since most of the posts are written vaguely "in world" maybe part of the fun is picking out the references, so if there is anyone who enjoys that, "spoilers" as the kids say. You can follow the links to the original post:

High Concept: A Jack Vance science fantasy riff on Oz as illustrated by Moebius
Important Bits: The "feel" of the world outside of Smaragdoz City is loosely in the mode of my vague (and possibly incorrect) recollections of Vance's Durdane trilogy, but not in any specific detail. The nature of the Wizard (an obvious Ozian veneer) was inspired by the Id monster of Forbidden Planet and the Uni-Mind of Kirby's Eternals.

High Concept: A Greg Eganish take on posthuman insect men.
Important Bits: A myriad of science fiction insectoids underlie this (except, of course, they aren't really insect men, except visually) but the Vrusk made me want to put an insectoid in the setting, and the Hokun from Empire of the Petal Throne influenced the visual. The works of Egan (particularly Diaspora) influenced their post-humanness, and the Sturgeon novel More Than Human supplied the name and idea of blesh (from a portmanteau from "blend" and "mesh.").

High Concept: A race of torture cultists
Important Bits: The primary inspiration was Uccastrog, the Isle of the Torturers, from Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique tales. There was a bit of Gene Wolfe influence with his Torturers Guild, too; Book of the New Sun was where I first encountered the term "algophilist." The appearance of the Torturers came from the Brom painting above, which probably reaches back to the Hellraiser films a bit.

Alright, that's enough secrets for one day. I hope it's interesting and not self-indulgent. If there's interest, I might do more of it at some point.


Tim Shorts said...

I had a hate-love relationship with the Book of the New Sun. When I read it many years ago I wasn't all that fond of it. I liked the ideas, but I couldn't get into the story. I decided to read it years later and was surprised how much I enjoyed it the second time around. And I remember reading Isle of the Torturers, but remember very little.

Trey said...

@Tim - I had a similar experience with the Book of New Sun.

Aos said...

Defintely interesting. I admire your ability to disentangle your influence from your final product.

Jack said...

Yep, definitely interesting, even though it reminds me that I am woefully unread in sci-fi type stuff.

Trey said...

Thanks guys.

@Aos - I think it may come natural from having to stuff too many inspirations in.

@Jack - If your ever looking for recommendations, I have a few.