Afterlands is my response to recent (and all-too-pervasive) grimdark, gritty, and cynical storytelling. Darkness and tragedy are unfortunately a part of our shared experience, and an important part of literature, but they are nothing without catharsis. We should tell and read stories to find understanding and healing, not wallow in the worst parts of humanity. The world needs stories of hope and perseverance.
The world could also do with a lot more gentle, kind, and thoughtful characters who, in spite of past hurts and actions, can still form meaningful connections, lead purposeful lives, atone for wrongs, and have the grace to forgive others.
About the Format
Afterlands is modeled on a mostly forgotten turn-of-the-century magazine format called the nickel weekly. The nickel weekly was a “dime novel” geared for younger audiences and costing half the price (hence the name). It was presented as a sixteen-sheet folio (32 pages) with stapled binding and a colorful action-oriented cover. Each issue was generally a single self-contained novella between 20,000 to 35,000 words long, with recurring detectives, cowboys, inventors, and other adventurers as its main characters.
Though there were serials created for female audiences, the nickel weekly was primarily aimed at young boys and was heavily patriotic, moralistic, too often racist, and sometimes quite badly written (which is why few examples of the form endure today). The format was, however, a progenitor of our modern pulp fiction, paving the way for comic books, radio serials, and ultimately television shows. It especially promoted the popularity of crime fiction, westerns, and science fiction. Modern steampunk owes a debt to nickel weeklies because of the Frank Reade Library, which capitalized on the success of Jules Verne’s creations.
Afterlands takes the best qualities of the nickel weekly formula, including emulating something of its style, and is scheduled to run as an ongoing biannual serial comprised of stand-alone novellas intended for mature general audiences (14+). Supplemental materials (stories, vignettes, art, etc.) can be found on this website.
About the Author
I’m Boots! You can find me on the twitspere @NakedEchidna. I love to write, I love to draw. I love winter and tea, Italian ice, and talking animals who wear cravats. I own a modest collection of nickel weeklies of my own, and a massive collection of 19th century-themed paper dolls. I eat a lot of crackers and never say no to sushi. I miss owning a dog, but one’s heart can only break so much.
If anything here resonates with you too, welcome to this adventure.
An early doodle of Hyrhyn, Summer 2020
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