Blog post by Bill McCormick
What is The Brittle Riders?
The obvious answer, a trilogy written by me, doesn’t really do anyone justice. It would be more accurate to say it’s a trilogy written by me with the specific intent to bend things. Badly and whenever possible. From the cover art to the prose nothing is as it should be. And that’s purposeful.
The cover, designed by Bhri Stokes based on characters designed by Brian “Bigger Lion” Daniels, is your first clue this trilogy is a different animal. Printed sideways, with no author name included, you have to manually turn the book to find out which episode you’re about to read.
If an understanding of Roman numerals eludes the reader the books are also color coded; red, blue, and green, in order. Of course, if an understanding of Roman numerals eludes the reader then maybe books aren’t their thing.
When our, hypothetical, reader flips open the book they are greeted with a cheery missive from me and then the appendix. Yes, everyone involved knows that appendixes are meant to be placed at the end of the book. Otherwise it would be called a prependix. Duh!
But, in this rare case, the appendix is actually a part of the story. A dry recitation of facts that belie the weirdness readers are about to encounter. Think of it as a linguistic map for the universe of The Brittle Riders.
Once they slog through that they are welcomed into the preamble. In just a few, short, pages every man, woman, and child on the planet Earth is killed and almost all monuments to humanity are razed. As readers will discover this horrific turn of events stems from a party.
However, to be fair, it was a very nice party.
There was food, booze, nude wait-staff, mutant seals, pretty much everything any reasonable person could want.
The fact that it kickstarted the apocalypse was just one of those things. Like losing your car keys, missing that important job interview, and ending up homeless. But with more bloodshed, death, and stuff.
Once the reader has gotten this far the actual story begins. Look, like I said, this thing is bent.
The first book is written in present perfect; i.e., character is running across the room versus character ran across the room. It was done this way to reflect the point of view of the titular characters. They have no past worth remembering nor any future worth believing in. Everything in their world is in the now.
In fact, it’s not until readers are almost a hundred and fifty pages into the first book that Geldish, R’Yune, N’leah, Braarb, and Sland (a/k/a The Brittle Riders), begin to acknowledge anything outside of their truncated world view. Don’t worry, it’s worth the reader’s time, I threw in a really fun sex scene there to keep things interesting.
Over the course of the next two books the writing style opens up to more traditional modes as the characters develop. By the end of it all it reads just like a book normal people would write. With minor plot lines others might not include. For example, when you’re done with the trilogy, you may never look at taking a dump in the woods the same way again.
The fact this is an important plot point merely reinforces my earlier statement that this trilogy is well and truly bent.
I could go on, and often do after a few drinks, but you get the idea. Nevertheless, just in case I’m wrong, read what some pre-readers had to say about The Brittle Riders.
1) If David Brin came off a three day tequila bender and dropped acid, he would have written The Brittle Riders.
2) McCormick packs more in twelve words than other writers pack in twelve paragraphs
3) Fuck him for making me horny and sad in the same book.
4) It’s like everything and nothing I’ve ever read before. He uses language like a weapon.
5) Everything I know is wrong, everything I believe is stupid, and everything else is terrifying.
The Brittle Riders, courtesy of Azoth Khem Publishing, Apocalypses Are Funny That Way.