Category: Books

The world of the imagination, one word in front of another.

KS Backers Receive The Song of Unmaking

My new Werewolf: the Apocalypse novel, The Song of Unmaking, has just gone out to the backers of the Werewolf: the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary edition. It was born long ago as a stretch goal for the book’s Kickstarter campaign, which was rather quickly achieved. Now, the book is done and in the hands of those who helped to support its making.

It will go on sale to everybody else sometime within the month. I’ll certainly let you know when it’s available, with links and all.

You can see the cover below. It uses an astounding Ron Spencer illustration from the 20th Anniversary rulebook, which happens to look a lot like a scene in the book (I didn’t plan it that way; it just worked out).

Kinfolk: A Breed Apart

Hey, the advance PDF version of Kinfolk: A Breed Apart is now available! It’s for Werewolf: the Apocalypse 20th anniversary edition, and features such authors as Jess Hartley, Ethan Skemp and Jackie Cassada. Developed by me. All sorts of updated info on Kinfolk — for both Garou and the other Changing Breeds. Also, never-before seen details on the Kin Fetch spirits used to mark and track Kin through their First Changes. Get it here.

Here’s the product description:

Born to Run

The Garou are born of two kinds: humans and wolves. These are their Kinfolk — those “of the blood.” These special people — whether of two legs or four — carry in them the hope of the Garou: the promise of future generations. Although Garou are born to Kinfolk, nobody knows they’re different until they undergo their First Change. Until such a blessed (or cursed) time, they are just like their more mundane Kin. Most live as humans, suffering the foibles of humanity, all the while hoping they’re secretly special, that they harbor the wolf within. Even though that wolf will never howl for the majority of Kin, they’ve still got a vital role in the war, aiding the effort from behind the lines.

Stuck in Second Gear

This book gives the Kinfolk the spotlight and shows how they live their lives as adjuncts to the Garou — werewolves who could be their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, even their parents. It explores the society of Kinfolk, both those “kenning” (in the know) and “callow” (ignorant of the Garou). Storytellers will find advice on running Kinfolk-oriented chronicles, while players can discover special Kinfolk Gifts and fetishes, as well as learn the many differences between Garou and Fera Kin.

Kinfolk: A Breed Apart contains:

  • Overview of the Kinfolk, both kenning and callow, including some of the Fellowships founded by Kinfolk to aid the Garou cause — and to protect themselves from their cousins’ Rage.
  • Character creation for playing Kinfolk, including new Skills, Backgrounds, Merits and Flaws, as well as special Kin rites, Gifts, and fetishes.
  • Guidelines for running Kinfolk chronicles, as well as in-depth information on the Kin-Fetches, the unique spirits used by Garou to watch over their distant cousins and warn the tribes if one of them should undergo the First Change.

Smashwords Alerts

I sell my ebooks on Smashwords (well, I sell one ebook at the moment, with more to come). They now have a new feature where you, the reader, can sign up to be alerted when your favorite authors have new books available. If you’d like to do that for my books, just go here:

Smashwords Alerts – Bill Bridges

Thanks!

Continuity is King — the King is Dead! All Hail the King!

Fans of created universes (*Star Wars*, *Star Trek*, the World of Darkness, *Forgotten Realms*, etc., etc.) love continuity, those thousands of details and “historical” events that convince readers/watchers/players that the world has internal *consistency*, a hallmark for being “real.”

But for creators, continuity can become a shackle. Certainly, it initially provides for the type of limits — the enclosed box — that can spur creative solutions. Alan Moore, for instance, is renowned for his ability to reinvent characters without rewriting old continuity, such as he did with *Swamp Thing*: he peels back layers of realization, showing that the new version was always there, waiting for its cue. Geoff Johns did the same when he brought back Hal Jordan in *Green Lantern*, brilliantly re-envisioning the sad Parallax affair in such a way that it opened up whole new vistas of metaphysics for the title. But still… continuity that gets too tight, too specific, can restrict creativity, especially if the editorial department isn’t willing to let creatives do the sort of radical Moore-ian or Johns-ian twists that can reinvigorate tired, stale old storylines.

All that preamble is to say: Let’s talk about *Star Wars: the Force Awakens*. The new owners have thrown out years of continuity-based stories that appeared in comics, novels, and video games. Why? Because the new filmmakers didn’t want to tell those stories. They had their own. And, especially in the case of Star Wars, the movies are the central core, with all other media subservient to its imperial dictates.

The sort of continuity “reboot” has happened many times in comics, with the DC’s ’80s *Crisis on Infinite Earths* perhaps being the first full-scale universe reboot (rather than individual title reboot). Later, we saw Marvel introduce separate universes (the New Universe, and then the Ultimates) rather than break up their core continuity. But now *Battleworlds* and *Secret Wars II* have torn all that up, just as DC’s the New 52 and then *Convergence* rewrote the DC universe (again).

I’ve had some experience with this, when we ended the “classic” World of Darkness in the mid-‘00s and introduced newly visioned takes on modern-day vampires, werewolves, and wizards. We learned the same lesson I know the comics guys learned (despite their continuing to bust up their worlds): Every crack in continuity splits the fanbase. Some people stay with the original, even if it means no longer buying new products, and some buy into the new stuff. (This same splitting happens with new RPG editions, even if the continuity change is merely an advance of the “metaplot”.)

All the benefits of continuity — a shared, sprawling universe in which all stories are facets of the universe’s single story, growing the fanbase with each new spinoff — are belied by the raw fact of continuity’s lifecycle: Creators will one day have to tear it all down, and with it might go the fanbase that ensured its success.

Fans come to love certain characters, places, plots. When they’re taken away, it leaves an empty place, a void. Of course they get angry, now that they have to confront death, a reminder of their own mortality. All things must pass. *It’s not fair — I read to escape such hard realities*!

So, fans: Use these lessons, these little deaths, as esoteric gifts, invitations to rehearse your own eventual ultimate letting go. Things come, things go, and then come again.

You’ll fall in love again. Some day there will be a new property (who knows? it might be the reboot of the old property!) that will grab you and suck you in, soaking you in all sorts of spinoff tales: movies, books, comics, games.

And then, it too will pass. And another will rise to take its place. Continuity is fleeting. Creativity is forever, universes without end.