Sent Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain off to begin the copy editing process. The publishing business works on a long timeline, and it won’t be out until sometime next year. I won’t talk too much about it at this point other than to say it’s the story of a supervillain from Neptune who is so intelligent and capable that conquering Earth is actually part of his backstory. Emperor Mollusk (and, yes, his first name is Emperor because that’s the kind of confident invertebrate he is) is basically Lex Luthor with no Superman to stand in his way. He’s not infallible, but he is smarter than you and he knows it.
The appeal of Emperor Mollusk for me is that he’s every bit as brilliant as he thinks he is, but still struggling to figure things out. I’ve always felt that Lex Luthor would invent Superman if Superman didn’t exist. Because Lex needs a challenge. Also, Lex has a hard time accepting his own limitations, and what better target for his annoyance than a man who can fly and is bulletproof and who is always standing in his way? If there was no Superman, Lex Luthor would just find some other foe. Because Lex is never happy. He’s always scheming, always out to find the next challenge.
That’s Emperor Mollusk in a nutshell. The big difference between Emperor and Lex is that Emperor has no foe to aim his wrath at, no convenient answer for why he fails, no central obstacle he can obsess upon. Also, Emperor doesn’t have a spine and only weighs about eight pounds.
Or maybe Emperor is a morally dubious version of Doc Savage. The only difference is that Doc had a body perfected through rigorous training and superior genetics while Emperor walks around in a variety of mechanical exoskeletons. This gives him a leg up on Doc, considering that no matter how hard Doc trains, he’ll never have built-in rocket launchers. Just ain’t gonna happen.
The pulp aspect of Emperor’s universe is obvious. Every planet in the Sol system (and even the sun itself) are all inhabited. There are alien invasions, mutant dinosaurs, and flying saucers. The story cross the globe from Paris to the (not quite) lost continent of Atlantis to the tourist colonies of the moon. Characters are either plotting. Or fighting. Or plotting while fighting. And through it all, Emperor Mollusk strides like a titan, a legend in his own universe.
Too bad you’ll have to wait a year to read it. But it’ll be worth it. I promise.
Thinking about the novel though, I realize how fortunate I am to be here, doing what I do. If you consider the millions of aspiring writers out there who would willingly do this job for free, I have to say I’m amazed and humbled to have this opportunity. I’m not just lucky enough to be a novelologist. I’m even luckier to be allowed to write stories that are, for lack of a better term, “kind of weird”.
I’m sure there’s much weirder stuff out there, and I don’t want to suggest that more conventional novels are “selling out.” Either assertion would be both incorrect and obnoxious. There’s a market for cool vampires and everybody-dies-pointlessly literature. It’s a diverse world we live in. Still, I’m pleasantly surprised that there’s room in it for a character like Emperor Mollusk and his strange adventures.
Considering Emperor Mollusk is my ninth book, I think it’s not too indulgent to reflect on my career up to this point. And that’s where I feel damn lucky because not only do I have a career in the first place, but that I can write stories about robots and vampires and tentacled supervillians. These aren’t only stories I like. They’re stories I feel confident aren’t being told by a lot of other writers.
(DISCLAIMER: If there’s one way to prove yourself an idiot, it’s to declare something like the above on the internet. I’m sure there are probably hundreds of other writers creating stories a thousand times weirder and more unique than anything I’m doing. So don’t misquote me as saying something like “All those other writers are hacks and only I am creative and daring enough to write anything worth reading!” In fact, I probably shouldn’t have even put that on the internet because someone will probably use it against me at some future point. So never mind.)
Whether or not I’m truly doing anything unique or if I’m just some guy writing weird novels with delusions of grandeur, I’m still damn lucky to be here.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,