Aaron Rosenberg’s Patchwork Divinity Beyond Borders


Aaron-Rosenberg-DuotoneWhen Bob, Paul, and I first came up with the idea for ReDeus, we started with a single, simple question: “What if it was modern day and all the ancient gods returned all at once?” A simple question with a very big,very complex, very far-ranging answer, to be sure, but that’s where all the fun is, right?

We talked about what would happen to the world and its people when they discovered that the gods were real, that they were physically back, and that they were every bit as powerful as the old myths claimed. We talked about which pantheons we absolutely knew we would have to talk about—the Greeks, the Celts, the Egyptians, the Norse—because everyone knew at least a little about them, and some of the smaller, lesser known ones that would be fun to play with exactly because most people didn’t know about them as much, if at all. We talked about which countries and regions each pantheon would reclaim—or try to—and where the obvious fights for territory would occur (how many pantheons have held sway over England, exactly?). We talked about the rule of monotheism, what would happen to Judaism and Christianity and Islam when all these ancient gods returned—and the One God didn’t. We talked about needing a neutral ground somewhere, and how that should be Manhattan, and how that came about. We talked about a lot of things.

The one thing we didn’t talk about was what the gods were actually like.

Not because we weren’t interested—obviously we were dying to find out. Was Zeus really as much of an obnoxious womanizer as the old stories claimed? Was Thor really as much of a hothead? Was Set really that evil, or Loki? Of course we wanted to find out, that was part of the fun.

But we didn’t want to sit there going down the list and saying, “yes, he’d be this way and she’d be that way” and so on. We wanted to discover each of the gods and goddesses for ourselves as we wrote. That’s the way good writing works, after all. You have an idea of where you’re going with your story, certainly, but even the most rigorous outline gets fleshed out as you write, all of the actual details developing and flowing into place as you work your way into and through the story, breathing life into the whole. Why ruin all of our own fun by nailing everything down before we started the first stories? Far better to have a few basics in place and then see where the stories took us.

When we decided to open things up and invite other writers to join us, this proved to be a godsend.


Because what we handed these other writers was all of the notes we’d made thus far, about which pantheons and which regions and so on. But nowhere did we say what any of the specific gods were actually like.

We left that up to them.

And, just as we’d hoped, our friends and peers surprised us. In the best possible way.

As we read over the outlines and then the actual stories, we discovered these gods. They came to life for us. And as more stories came in, their details overlapped, creating a more cohesive view of this newly changed world.

With Beyond Borders, that went one step further. Some of our authors decided to use gods who had appeared in the first book, Divine Tales. In some cases they’d already written about those gods and wanted to continue with them. But in others a writer was tackling a god someone else had already introduced, picking up where the other writer left off. Adding more depth and more detail.

Bob and Paul and I made sure that no one was stepping on anyone’s toes, that no one was outright contradicting what had already been developed. But beyond that we stayed out of the way. The whole point of the anthologies is to let each writer play in our sandbox, to allow them the creative freedom to develop their own stories, their own characters, their own little corner of the world.

We’re building a patchwork here. We’re stitching all of the pieces together into a cohesive whole, far greater than just the sum of its parts.

And so far, I have to say, it’s been divine.

ReDeus: Beyond Borders will be available in print and digital formats on Friday.

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