By Steven H. Wilson
So you’ve heard of three-part deities, right? The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost in the Christian tradition, the Triple Goddess Hecate in Greek Myth and the Wiccan traditions? Well, Crazy 8 has a triple deity of its own, personified by Bob, Paul and Aaron. This trinity edits ReDeus, reads our stories, and transmits to us via the divine email words of wisdom. You’re never sure which of the three is speaking, but the results are always awe-inspiring, enlightening, and delightfully snarky.
It was in one of these divine communiqués that a couple of throwaway lines in my story “Axel’s Flight” were transformed, as Io was transformed into the sacred cow, into a story of their own. Clever deities, these, even if you don’t know which is which. Ovid couldn’t have described a more wondrous metamorphosis.
The passage thus selected was:
“The gods had curtailed a good deal of Hollywood’s output over the last decade, offended by the CGI special effects which made their miraculous powers seem commonplace. Only swift action by a consortium of gods of arts from various pantheons had prevented the outright destruction of the likes of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, and such films were rarely seen now by mere mortals.”
Not sure what about it grabbed the three-headed spirit of editorship. Perhaps, like Ganymede, it had really interesting thighs. Whatever it was, one, two or all of the heads said unto me: “Oh, and this would make a great story for Native Lands!”
When the god(s) speak, you don’t ignore them. Especially when they’re offering you money, a shot at a Hugo Award, and the privilege of sitting next to them on the autograph lines at several cons. Well… they’re offering one of those three.
And so I developed “Chinigchinix Nixes Pix,” a tale of a young(ish) screenwriter who’s working on a Summer blockbuster about the Angel of Death. If the title baffles you, it’s because it’s written in slanguage, otherwise known as Variety-speak–something akin to mystic runes. Our narrator, we’ll call him N, takes a meeting one day and discovers that Chinigchinix, or Quaoar as he’s more commonly called, the patron divinity of the Tongva people who once inhabited the hills of LA, has taken over the American film industry. He’s shelved all projects that don’t have the potential to glorify the gods (yes, even the romantic comedy based on Windows for Dummies that was to star Brad Pitt.) But he likes our hero’s story, Call Me Sam. He likes it so much, in fact, that he’s going to help with the re-write. That means he needs to spend a lot of time with our beleaguered protagonist, and that means they’re moving in together.
I set out to write a short, punchy tale about censorship, writing by committee, and the clash of cultures between humans and gods. It was to be a brief adventure in the style of Douglas Adams. As each volume of the Hitchhiker trilogy (all five of them) was short, so my little visit to La La Land would be a quick in-and-out, don’t-worry-if-it-offends-you-because-it’s-going-away-soon, not-long-on-the-plot jaunt. Did I mention it was short? I kept it under 10,000 words. If you know me, you know that’s not easy for me to do.
And yea, verily, the god(s) said, “It sucks. Make it longer.”
Gods. What can you do, right?
So I added fifty percent more words. (I discovered a box of them in the pantry, behind the Quaker Oats. They were past their expiration date, but I figured “What the hell? Who’ll know?” I poured them in, stirred, and now “Chinigchinix” is a lot longer. If the language is a little moldy and archaic in spots, that’s why.)
When it was done, I asked the Trinity how I was to deliver it unto them. They told me to put it on the altar in the back yard and burn it. (You have an altar in your back yard too, right? They told me it wasn’t just me.) So I threw the pages on the grill–er, the stone stained with the blood of countless sacrifices to Bob, Aaron and Paul–and touched the sacred Bic unto them. The wind did carry the smoke and ashes unto the heavens, where dwell the Three, and Chinigchinix is nixing pix in Native Lands, volume three of ReDeus.
I said am I right? You got the sacred ashes, right?
Bob? Aaron? Paul?
ReDeus: Native Lands, truly containing this story, is now available in print and digital formats.