“Art is finally democratized! Anyone can access the tools of production! Sure it can be tough to reach an audience, but if you work hard and persevere, you have a legitimate shot of making a living doing what you love. The gatekeepers have been abolished! The indie revolution is here!”
So goes the common refrain.
And that refrain is certainly truer for more indie artists now than ever before in history. But all artistic mediums are not created equal. As someone who comes from the indie film world, who has friends in the indie music world, and who is now setting sail in the indie publishing world, I’m consistently surprised by how the indie revolution has manifested itself differently in each different medium. Although I do have more questions than answers about this.
For instance, why did the various indie revolutions start at different times? Indie music started taking off in the late 90s, indie film in the early 00s, indie games in the late 00s, and indie publishing not until the early 10s. This makes no sense to me, since publishing is the least technologically complex of all the artistic mediums listed above, and so it’s presumably the easiest to democratize, taking control away from The Man and putting it in your hands and mine. Publishing is essentially just printing words on a page. Shouldn’t the indie revolution have hit publishing first? But instead it hit publishing last.
But that’s beside the point. Perhaps my biggest question about the …
I’m beyond excited to announce my new series of books, the Thorn Saga. Thorn is a character I’ve been contemplating since 2007, and I typed the first words of the story in November 2012, so finally publishing these books feels like the end of a long and rewarding marathon to me. The Thorn Saga tells the story of Thorn, one of the most evil demons of all time, who is suddenly faced with not only the end of his reign, but also his own assassination. In the face of such an existential threat, the germ of a long-buried moral conscience appears in Thorn’s mind. But how could Thorn ever become good? His demonic peers hold him to a strict standard of wickedness. God, the tyrant that he is, despises Thorn and his kind, having cast them out of Heaven long ago. Even worse, some of Thorn’s “pet” humans will probably get caught in the crossfire if he tries to put up a fight… and he cares for some of them more than he’d like to admit. Then, just as he’s certain there’s no way out, he discovers something… something secret, something big. A conspiracy reaching back to the beginning of time…
I’ve always considered the Thorn Saga to be a fantasy story, but many of my beta readers have told me it’s a horror story. So I’ll call it a dark fantasy, with elements of mystery, action, and even a little romance thrown in the mix. If you …
Look at that.
Just look at that! Isn’t it incredible?
It’s not a digital painting created inside a computer. An actual human being sent an actual camera up into actual space, turned it around, and snapped this actual photograph—or rather, several photographs that were composited together to make this image. If you lived in North America at the time it was taken, then there you are somewhere in this picture. (Unless you chose to hide beneath a cloud, silly you.) This blue orb is a real, tangible place.
And so is that black space behind it.
When you look at a photo taken from much farther away, or at an incredible scale model of the solar system, you start to get a sense that the Earth is extremely small. Your body is the same size compared to Earth as Earth is when compared to the whole Solar System.
So the Solar System is unfathomably huge. I can’t even comprehend a distance that big. But then I look at this picture:
It’s a visualization of the Milky Way galaxy. (You can’t take a real picture from outside of the whole thing like this, because we haven’t been outside of it… yet.)
You can only see the very biggest, brightest stars. Everything else, including our own Sun, is just a luminous blur. Our sun is so tiny in this visualization that you can’t even see it. On this scale, the Sun is microscopic.
As if that doesn’t blow my mind …