Straining my Cranium – In River Cardinal

The new year is starting off with a bit of bang.

I got COVID, which is a bit annoying, since I managed to avoid it for THREE YEARS. And of course, since I wasn’t sick over Christmas, as is the wont of God and/or the universe, I was given something fun to deal with over my birthday…

…Which is the day I’m writing this post on, in fact. Happy Birthday to me, who is now twenty years old.

I got my driver’s license yesterday–in typical ‘me’ fashion, it was on the very last day before my operator’s license expired… I got that thing in 2018…

Anyway, I’ll talk about this book now.

There have been some hints about a new book for 2023, and for those who haven’t looked into it yet, this is that book. It’s called In River Cardinal, and is based on an old screenplay I wrote years ago. (On a side note, every book I’ve published was either written as a script, or is a literal script. Unintentionally.)

This book is almost entirely revamped from said screenplay. The characters are all different, and the story bears very little–if any–resemblance to its predecessor.

It centers around a man named Dewey Becker, who is always referred to as The Technician. If you want to read more about the details of everything, click this link to visit the page.

Halfway through the book, the perspective shifts–similarly to my last book Ceres–and we finish the story off from the perspective of Roxanne Robbins. She’s one of the Operators sent by Cardinal Medicine into the Red Runnel on a scouting mission. Does that sound confusing? Good.

My writing style is completely changed for this project. Instead of elaborate descriptions, this book is almost ‘not descriptive enough’. On purpose, though. I was inspired by books like Neuromancer, where very little detail is given, and the reader has to form their own mental pictures as to what things generally look like.

But Tony! How is that possible? I won’t be able to understand anything!

Don’t worry, my fine feathered friend, it’s not as bad as it sounds. This kind of writing cuts heavily on long, slogging descriptions and meaningless drudgery, and gets to the point of the scene–allowing for a much deeper examination of the story as a whole. With a complex narrative like this one, this writing can be helpful.

It’s very much inspired by video games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. The Japanese have an interesting perspective on many aspects of storytelling, and though I despise Anime with (almost) every fiber of my being, just load up almost any horror film, game, or book written in Japan, and you’ll find some crazy shit.

I, myself, happen to deal in crazy shit. So naturally, I developed a bit of an curiosity in these things.

Anyway, I feel I should say the story itself is not written like a video game. If I was writing a video game, then I’d be writing a video game. I’ve plucked certain ideas from the stories of these things and injected them into my story. For those unversed in this media, there’s generally some large monster stalking you throughout the duration of the story. A bit of a recurring enemy, typically carrying some metaphorical significance in its appearance or behavior. Kind of an interesting idea, I think. Like a mental demon one carries around, unable to shake it.

Aside from those inspirations, you can expect to see a bit of H.P. Lovecraft in here. Cosmic horror is something that shows up in my work whether I try to put it there or not. So I usually list Lovecraft as an inspiration preemptively.

This’ll be a bit of a horror/thriller/sci-fi story. I still have to nail down the genre. I’m quite pleased with it so far; the story is complex and forces you to think a little to understand what’s going on, and the characters are starting off layered. My protagonist is the type of guy I never thought I’d write. I wanted to make someone very unique–in both the way he appears, and the way he behaves.

So I hope you’re looking forward to it. I’m certainly quite excited.

Oh, and the sore throat from COVID is a bitch.

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