“The Traveller’s Cup” and “Louisiana Blood”

I thought I’d take a day out to talk about a couple of Inkshares books instead. These are both approaching the end of their funding periods, and I really hope they hit their pre-order goal.

travellers-cup_300.jpgFirst up is “The Traveller’s Cup”, by A.C. Baldwin. Premise: our hero, a pampered noble, “wins” a position on a team of peasants for suicide mission to the home planet to retrieve some sort of macguffin. There are space dragons. That last line pretty much advertises that this book will be playing with a bunch of tropes from both the science fiction and fantasy genres. But I think it sells itself short by touting itself that way.

From what I’ve read of the uploaded excerpts, the true strength of this book lies in its world-building. I’ve tried to describe a bit about it in conversation, but I’ve always fallen short of the whole. Glowing nobles and grey underclass? Well, sure, that’s part of it … but it’s also more than that. There’s the system of beliefs and the structure of the society, and all the details of a culture that appears both decadent and alien. Heck, I thought I knew what was what after reading the first few excerpts, but now I’ve taken a look at the later excerpts and there’s even more. There appears to be a mystery at the bottom of the whole societal structure–possibly linked to the macguffin they’re supposed to find? Probably!

At the very least, I’m really expecting some sort of epiphany on the part of our hero with regards to the relationship between the aristocracy and the underclass. The whole premise just screams it. And, of course, there are the space dragons.

Louisiana_Blood_300.jpgNext up is “Louisiana Blood”, by Mike Donald. This is a very different animal: a fresh take on the mystery of Jack the Ripper, drawing the action across time and the Atlantic to the sweltering bayous of Louisiana.

Donald has done his homework. When you stop by the project page, you’ll notice an immense write-up in which he discusses the basis of the plot. Maybe you don’t want to read all of it: it comes very close to spoiling itself, if you ask me. But the fact that it exists at all should be all the assurance you need that this story is going to be well-considered and well-thought-out. The translation from London to Louisiana? Well, that’s part of the mystery, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you want to find out just what on earth is going on if key evidence to an old, famously unsolved English mystery surfaced halfway around the world?

It should also be mentioned that Donald’s background is in film-making. This is a man who understands the visual element in story-telling, and it shows. Some of the teaser elements in the excerpts might even come across as grotesque; given the subject matter, that seems very appropriate.

As I mentioned at the beginning, these two books are reaching the end of their funding periods. This means there isn’t a lot of time left if people want to pick up a signed first-edition copy of one, the other, or both. And as I said, I’m really hoping to see them both cross that funding finish line and win their publication deals.

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