I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ken for years. He is a gregarious and generous man as well as a spectacular and lyrical author. He talks about how he was inspired by Jay Lake to write the latest in the METAtropolis series.
METAtropolis: The Wings We Dare Aspire by Jay Lake and Ken Scholes, Wordfire Press.
Back in 2010, Jay took on the editing role for Audible’s award-winning METAtropolis series, a “near-future” SF audio anthology featuring a diverse range of authors all lending their talent to a shared world. Jay had appeared in the first volume, edited by John Scalzi, and in his novella, “In the Forests of the Night,” he introduced the characters of Tygre, Tygre and Bashar. When Jay took over editing METAtropolis: Cascadia he offered me the opportunity to play along and I jumped at the opportunity.
I read the first anthology and, as often happens with Jay, I instantly sparked a story. What if Bashar took what he’d learned from Tygre, Tyre and wrote a book about it – a kind of Saul of Tarsus to Tygre Tygre’s unusual Jesus – and what if the plot that Jay started unpacking in his tale was suddenly expanding? I told him my idea and we decided that we would link our stories for Cascadia. I wrote “A Symmetry of Serpents and Doves” and then Jay took my story and wove his own around it in “The Bull Dancers.” That volume went on to win the Audie award thanks to the amazing writers and the amazing voice talent that Audible brought together.
Of course, that set the stage for METAtropolis: Green Space and because of Jay’s failing health in his years-long fight with cancer, I was brought in to co-edit with him. This time around, we decided to continue the story of Bashar and Charity Oxham and to connect our stories even more tightly. Jay wrote “Rock of Ages” and set us up, then I ran us across the goal line with “Let Me Hide Myself in Thee.” Both stories stand alone but work much better as a set.
Meanwhile, while we were drafting our stories for Green Space, I had breakfast with Kevin J. Anderson at Norwescon. Jay and I had met Kevin as a result of our Writers of the Future wins and he shared with me that he and his wife, Rebecca Moesta, had launched Wordfire Press, an author-friendly publishing company that hit the ground with a solid catalog of well-known writers in the genre. Kevin and I talked about doing something together one day down the road.
Ideally, we had hoped a publisher would pick up the entire anthology, putting all of the stories from volume two and three into print, but no markets bit and we all collectively decided we would pursue publishing our individual stories on our own. But…in looking at the five tales Jay and I had crafted, it was readily apparent that we had something that stood up fairly well as a shared collection of stories telling one overall story. Jay and I talked about it and decided to approach Kevin. Kevin was excited about the project and once he took it on, brought in artist Jeff Sturgeon to create a cover that captured the Pacific Northwest flavor of the book. And so METAtropolis: The Wings We Dare Aspire was born.
This is an especially meaningful project for me. Jay has been one of my closest friends for over a decade now and as his fight with cancer winds down, I’ve wanted every opportunity I can get to work with my friend and to support his career. This book, coming out now in the last few months of Jay’s life, is a tangible marker of that friendship and a great example of what has happened whenever our muses (Fred for him, Leroy for me) come out to play. These our paper children, born from a love of story and the bonds of our brotherhood. I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy today.
Ken Scholes is the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of over forty short stories and four novels with work appearing both in the US and abroad.