Short Story Updates: “The Crownless King” and “Old No-Eyes”

Despite working my full-time job at Outer Places (which included an interview with P. Craig Russell, who’s scripting the new American Gods comic), I’ve been doing a lot of writing. I’ve got two stories on deck this month, one out for submission and one in the late stages of revision. At this point, I’m offering copies for people to read and let me know what they think. Here are the descriptions:

The Crownless King

When I took the draft of “The Crownless King” to a monthly Brooklyn Sci-Fi Writers workshop back in November, I was blown away by the feedback: people said it was “strange, eclectic”, “original,” “gruesome”, “fantastic,” and “fucking spectacular.” It was super encouraging, especially considering that I’d been working on the story for about seven months and eight drafts. You can read an excerpt and check out some of the sketches from the early draft, back in January 2016, here.

“The Crownless King” revolves around a wizard and his student holed up in a frozen tower buried under snow in the aftermath of the end of the world. While they’re preparing to head up to the surface, the wizard (named Samal) decides to teach his student (named Iz) a very old, dangerous piece of magic, which is ‘the crownless king’: the ability to remove one’s head.

People loved the lore and history woven into the story, as well as the parts dealing with self-surgery and magical flesh-work. It’s one of the first stories where I get to showcase my world’s take on wizards, magic, and ghosts. Here’s are some notes/sketches I did around the magic of ‘the crownless king’:


Old No-Eyes

This is another one I brought to the BSFW writing group, this time in December. “Old No-Eyes” came from a much bigger and more complicated story involving Yute, the subject of my post on psychopaths and madness, and the Nokizi, the book of necromancy and mathematics that I ended up writing especially for that story. I wanted to focus on those two elements, so I cut it all down and wrote a new story, which is “Old No-Eyes.”

“Old No-Eyes” deals with Yute, an eccentric, ruthless necromancer with a talent for mathematics, and his former, backstabbing colleague named Tenza, who needs Yute’s help decoding a bizarre occult book written by an anonymous madman who calls himself “Old No-Eyes,” who claims that the text will teach the road to immortality to anyone who can decode it.

I’ve been passing around this one since December, and again, the response has been overwhelmingly positive: despite being a psychopath, people love Yute and his twisted sense of humor. People also liked the way mathematics was worked into the story and the depth of the worldbuilding. It’s the first of my stories to dive into the world of necromancy and introduce Yute, who’s one of my favorite characters. Here’s a sketch my friend Joel Clapp made of him:

One of Joel Clapp's initial sketches of Yute, based on Charles Manson
One of Joel Clapp’s initial sketches of Yute, based on Charles Manson

Want to read A COPY?

If you’re interested in receiving a copy of these stories, I can send you a link to the private postings on Medium or a PDF via email. Shoot me a message at christophmahon [at] gmail [dot] com or hit me up on Twitter @DeadmanMu.

Short Story Updates: “The Crownless King” and “Old No-Eyes”

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