Sharing again my appreciation for Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, an episodic science fiction saga where the focus is on the characters and narrative continuity, with the science and politics of this future Earth playing a crucial yet secondary role. The latest issue switches the first-person narration to a different character from the previous issue, and in just a couple hundred words the following information is conveyed:
The narrator, Alexand, is a fierce fighter who may have too much confidence in her abilities
She has just regained a device, called a writer, that allows her to teleport and/or communicate across great distances
Despite her anger and stubbornness, Alexand has great affection for her lover, Katherine
Alexand suffers from a disease that has a cure which is difficult to obtain
Katherine works in a laboratory, but can’t help with Alexand’s disease
Now that Alexand has her writer, she’s eager to see Katherine again but nervous over how she’ll be received
Alexand’s about to discover something about Katherine that she probably isn’t going to like
All this information is conveyed as the narrative shifts from a battlefront argument to an intimate encounter at a laboratory halfway across the world; it’s difficult to provide this amount of background detail while advancing a narrative at the same time, but the writing is more than up to the task. It’s an enjoyable series, each episode packed with enough information to get readers caught up if they’ve missed the past few episodes, and its unique narrative structure is fascinating to study.
When linking to another blog, I typically include an original work of fiction or (usually bad) poetry inspired by that link. Making an exception today, because the focus this time needs to remain on the source rather my own efforts.
Cheryl Moore writes an ongoing series of what she calls disconnected stories, assembled under the title Unbound Boxes Limping Gods. Each story is short (very lunch-break friendly) and strong enough to stand on its own, yet also has connections to a larger narrative. After finishing the most recent story, I found myself clicking through more episodes (each illustrated with a delightful pencil sketch), never attempting to proceed in a chronological fashion.
Cheryl’s blog is a fascinating experience, and is inspiring me to reconsider my strategy for drafting my novel. I occasionally pursue side projects, using characters and scenes from the main narrative in order to explore some idea or theme that interests me. Most of these side projects won’t make their way into the novel (although several were incorporated during the massive revision effort I undertook the previous two months), but they have been very productive. Yet lately these projects have been rather lengthy, taking a week or two to complete — too much effort, it seems, for what’s essentially scratch pad work.
These disconnected stories I’ve discovered have shown me a different approach — vignettes that can stand alone, yet provide connections to a lengthier work that readers can explore if they choose. Not sure I can pull off this technique with the expertise displayed in Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, but it’s an effort worth exploring.