Wednesday, 15 April 2015

ID submitted. The experiment has begun.

Verifying ID. Please stand by.
ID verified. Welcome, Reader.
You have our apologies.
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The sign at the top of this page says "news and information about Pat Flewwelling's science fiction thriller series HELIX".

I should have said "From the moment you clicked on any page in this blog, you became engaged in a literary experiment."

Behind this home page is a story. A free novella. The events therein occur slightly before, during, and after the events in Blight of Exiles, (published 2014 by Tyche Books), and which lead up to the events in Plague of Ghouls (forthcoming 2016, Tyche) and in Scourge of Bones (tba).

Backstory. Side story.
New characters. Familiar characters.

In the 30 episodes following here, you'll read what couldn't fit into those three novels. Backstory of fascinating characters who didn't make the cut into the final draft. Side story of Blight characters, which would have detracted from the flow of the narrative. And one incredible story of two unlikely troublemakers - a network administrator and an accountant - who will risk their lives to save the man who will bring about the downfall of Wyrd.

And because so many of the characters in HELIX are technically inclined, there are many references to digital networks, telecommunication systems, emails, chats, etc. What I wanted to do was unveil a story for the reader to piece together, as any HELIX character would.

That meant exploring different forms of digital communication, listening intently to the actual words people use in live conversation, copying their patterns of grammatical and spelling errors, mimicking the way we use different "handwriting" styles - fonts, colours, signatures, etc. - in our standard communications. And that means testing out this experimental, narrator-absent storytelling technique on you, kind reader.

My goal: to make you an active participant in the story.

To turn your brain into the narrator.

Abductions. Viral degeneration.

Heh. Seems true to form that this blog is engaged in secret human experimentation.

These episodes were originally posted between November 2014 and March 2015. I never liked the format. Sure, I could throw in standardized rows of text, but whether it was an email or a voice transcript, it still looked like a blog post. In the spirit of my feral-geek HELIX characters, I wanted something that was perfectly suited to a virtual platform, and which could not be easily translated into standard book or novella formats. The problem was, I couldn't afford to hire someone to do a layout that would tell the story for me.

And our story must be told.
Even if *we* wish we could forget.

So, perhaps in imitation of my own characters (albeit, six months late), I taught myself HTML. I designed my own templates and elements. Now I'm returning to the story and reformatting the whole thing, one post at a time, and smithing it into the novella I had originally envisioned.

If you're new to the site, then welcome! (You poor, unsuspecting guinea pig, you.) If you're a return visitor, please pardon the reruns, but I think the visuals really do add a new dimension to the story.

Spoiler alert: it's all going to hell.