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Guest Post: J M McDermott on megacorps, Cinderella, and his latest Kickstarter endeavor

In the future, one corporation will rise up and consume the others into a hulking monstrosity. It will likely begin inside the border of either Russia or China or the United States, where the oligarchs that quietly rule our kingdoms will merge political authority with corporate economics until there is no distinction between the private and public sphere, and all life and energy will pour into the machinery of the corporation. There, too, AI will become advanced and sentient enough that some new kind of life might emerge in the system of complexity and human cog, human gear. If Wal-Mart wins, there will only be one company, one global squid emerging into life by sucking out the life of Meat and Tree and Bone. This future is too depressing to write about directly. Indirectly, then, I wrote about it.

I did my best.

I thought it would also be interesting to write about the older Cinderella, with the threat of incest, the ring, and the bestial cloak.

The clockwork kingdom of Saxonia engineered itself into a machine of the law, refashioning even its citizens’ bodies into cogs and pistons. Before the chirurgeons and engineers splice his brain inside the crown, Prince Hollownot escapes into the kingdom’s flogistan soul, where he sees all possible futures. In one, Princess Sapsorrow can break the law with contradiction and shatter the kingdom. But saving the world from the machine comes at a high price: Her love, her family, and her physical body will all be destroyed.

The neighboring kingdom of Bavaria has seen nothing come past the great clockwork wall of Saxonia for centuries until a Straggletaggle appears with an odd physiognomy — maybe human, maybe not — and an incredible tale of escape from Saxonia. She claims ignorance of the nearby fatal airship crash and the exquisite prosthetic foot in the wreckage. When a phonograph wrapped in the shell of a man arrives demanding Princess Sapsorrow’s return, Bavaria’s disgraced prince and scientist princess, with their intrepid bodyguard, embark on a perilous mission with the Straggletaggle as their guide, to stop a war that, should it start, can only end with Saxonia turning the people of Bavaria into components of its horrific machine.

The book was edited by Janet Harriett, who edits books for Apex Publications and worked on Disintegration Visions with me. I hired Wizards of the Coast alumni at ElfElm Publishing to do the layout and design. I have the book ready to go, ready to be sent out to reviewers and public on sale. I have selected to Kickstart to raise revenue for promotion.

Even if the kickstarter fails, there will be a book. But, it will not be promoted very much. It will just sit in a warehouse and wait until the Steampunk prophecy of corporate life in the book comes true. I hope to raise enough revenue to buy advertising in different genre publications. I want to take the revenue raised and pour it back into the genre. I hope to at least clear this tiny hurdle, where what I spent is earned back, through pre-orders.

There are so many kickstarters, now. One more humble goal, perhaps, is too much to ask. But, it is such a humble goal, and I hope that the book looks interesting enough and my work, to date, has been interesting enough. Do not lose faith, yet. Do not give up. Walk with me past the clockwork wall into the terrible wastelands of Saxonia. Witness these terrible nightmares, there. Break the main spring that drives these nightmares with a single vow.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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