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  • Writer's pictureJohn Lombard

Inspirations - The Lights

The concept here is straightforward - what if the light from stars controls minds, and light pollution in cities blocks it. From there, the conflict is between town and country, with people in rural areas serving their Gods, and people in the city trying to protect themselves from the influence of the stars.

To structure the story, I took elements from Jospeh Campbell's hero's journey - the story has beats where the hero crosses the treshold, goes into the belly of the whale, meets the (sort of) goddess, and undertakes a magic flight across the return threshold.

I used this heroic template to add irony because the main character is actually engaged in an awful mission to enslave his brother to alien Gods - although, from his point of view, he's doing the right thing. In showing the protagonist's shock at the state of the city, I probably went too hard on making him bitter and judgemental, but after all he is a zealot in the service of unknowable and terrifying powers.

Another key influence is Lovecraft's Beyond the Wall of Sleep, where an intelligent star commmunicates with humans.

In terms of style, with this and the Beans of Production, plain and straightforward felt the right way to go... As a writer though I want to have a bit more fun with language, so I may aim for a decorative prose style in coming stories.

The park with illuminated water features is inspired by the Circuito Magico Del Agua in Peru, a park with impressive light shows on its fountains.

There is a hefty amount of world building here - with the world in perpetual darkness after some mysterious cosmic event, and lights essential to protect freedom, I had to decide how the city works and interacts with the country, and show it through details. I'm proud of the fashionable woman who wears a string of multicoloured Christmas lights in her hair... Hopefully it all makes sense for you!

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