Steve Lyons sees Spirits Beyond Borders

By Steve Lyons

stevelyonsAugust, 2032. The biggest festival of the Aztec calendar is in full swing.

It’s the Day of the Dead, when the spirits of the dear-departed return to the world of the living… for real this time?

I’ve wanted to tell this story – or, at least, one like it – for over a decade. My inspiration was the computer adventure game, Grim Fandango. I don’t play a lot of computer games, but my brother introduced me to this one, and I fell in love with its depiction of the Aztec Land of the Dead and its inhabitants.

Since then, I’ve wanted to use the Mexican Day of the Dead as a backdrop to a story. I’ve just needed a story to tell – and, in the world of ReDeus, I finally found one.

So, the Aztec gods are back. They have rebuilt their pyramids and re-established their rule over the lands of South and Central America. They have returned the Day of the Dead to its rightful pre-Columbian place in the calendar, and the death goddess Mictecacihuatl herself presides over the celebrations.

So, the Land of the Dead must be a real place, right? The spirits of the dead – at least, the Aztec dead – must reside there. And they must be able to pop back home to visit every summer, because the gods wouldn’t lie to us about something like that.

They wouldn’t… would they?

My first ReDeus story is called Dia de los Muertos. It concerns a young lawyer by the name of Ruby Velez, whose newest client has an unusual tale to tell. He has been accused of murder, and the evidence against him is overwhelming. He claims, however, that someone else committed the crime: his long-dead wife.

Could such a thing be possible – even in this brave new world?

The spirits of the dead are invisible and intangible, undetectable by any conventional means. Somehow, they enjoy the offerings left for them by the living – their favourite books, music, clothes and even food – without disturbing those offerings in the process. Even so, in the Mexico of 2032, few doubt the spirits’ existence.

And belief, it seems, only makes the spirits stronger…

What if Ruby’s client is telling the truth? What if his girlfriend was murdered by a vengeful ghost? How can she hope to prove such a thing in court? And what would it mean for the whole concept of law and order if she did?

My favorite thing about ReDeus is that its world isn’t too dissimilar to our own. The gods’ return has changed some things, but others haven’t changed at all. Most people are just trying to get on with their lives, as we do today.

And even though this world has seen proof – absolute, incontrovertible proof – of the gods’ existence, some things are still a matter of faith…

ReDeus: Beyond Borders will be available in print and digital formats in late May.

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