Okay, I’ve discussed the theme of domination and abuse as personified by the Bishop and his followers. What about some of the other characters in this Steampunk/Fantasy series? Where did they come from? Well, to be honest, some of them sort of ‘appeared’ as the story was progressing! My main characters in book one of my “After Earth” series, “Journey To The Black City”, are Kel and Lyria. Both of these characters come from a tribal life, outside of the vast city-states with their ‘civilization.’ I decided that Lyria would be a very strong woman, to play against the Bishop and his people. So, I gave her a strong totem animal—the saber-tooth tiger! A creature we’ve named Smilodon, and that the people of her tribe call the ‘Ice Tiger.’ This totem animal can take control in a life threatening emergency, making her a strong, and a very deadly foe. She is a warrior, needless to say. Her betrothed, Kel is a shaman in training. He’s the spiritually inclined one of the pair. When Kel’s grandfather, their tribe’s shaman, is kidnapped in a zeppelin raid, Kel can’t complete his training…and therefore cannot wed Lyria. They must travel into Los Angeles, the Black City of the West in an attempt to rescue Kel’s grandfather. And so, the first plot line is set.
We’ve been talking about the characters I’ve created for my Steampunk/Fantasy series “After Earth”. In the first novel, Into the Black City, we meet a number of people. One of these, is the tribal blacksmith, who tells Kel, before he leaves for Los Angeles to rescue his grandfather, that when one goes out into the wide world, one must broaden one’s outlook, and that “everything that is black is not bad, and everything that is white, is not good.” For just like in our world, there are prejudices and misunderstanding in this ice age world. As they travel, Lyria and Kel find that ‘city folk’ are not all corrupt and untrustworthy. By the same token, many city dwellers find, along the way, that the people of the so-called ‘free tribes’ are not renegades, murderers, and thieves! It’s all a matter of perspective—and if you’ll recall, I mentioned that I had been an art major at the University of Arizona…so I know about perspective!