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Ran Prieur blog


Thousands of years ago a Chinese sage dreamed he was a butterfly, and wondered if he were really a butterfly dreaming he was a man. More recently, Raymond Chandler wrote "When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun."

Philip K. Dick brought these two ideas together, driving his plots by repeatedly inverting the real and the unreal. This novel grew from Dick's trippiness, but it grew even more from Roger Zelazny: his dreamlike transits between worlds, his reverent balance between technology and magic, and his vibe of swashbuckling adventure. Where Dick's characters are treading water in a sea of uncertain reality, Zelazny's characters are surfers.

The vibe I was aiming for, and fell short, was the luminous innocence and epic whimsy of Hitoshi Ashinano's Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, and John Crowley's Engine Summer. Hearing that the latter was written on weed, I tried it, and it broke the logjam in my creativity — but only on an exhausting tolerance cycle of 1-4 days on and 2-10 days off. Repeatedly, my sober mind hit a wall, and my altered mind found a hidden door to move the story forward.

Of the many suns this book reaches toward, the brightest are music. Fiction doesn't come easy for me, because it's so hard for me to not bore myself. What keeps me going, sentence after sentence, is trying to match the beauty — so dense, so incomprehensible, so relentless — that I hear in the songs of Big Blood. Their lyrics are sprinkled here and there, including the entire working title.

I made all the illustrations with Picbreeder, which also trained me to follow a thread of ideas without knowing where they come from or where they're going. Picbreeder owns all rights to the illustrations. The starfield margin is a layering of two public domain images from Pixabay.

Kunigunda Angst, 1846-1928, was my great-great-grandmother. She was completely unlike the character who bears her name, but her husband did work in a cemetery.

Leigh Ann made me an aesthetic thinker, taught me the language of personality, and continues to challenge me to not be such a dweeb.