Hi there lovely readers and now, viewers. (Yeahp, check out our nifty new YouTube channel here!)
So we had an art reveal a little while back because we were just too excited about these stunning images not to share them with you. The artist is the fantastically talented Leigh le Roux.
(Check out the video here!)
Thing is, this is not the usual type of art reveal associated with book launches. That’s generally the cover (which is still in store for you, we’re just setting the scene for it). The art we released was something different.
One of the most important things for me as a dedicated anthology reader is how things fit together, the structure and flow of the stories within the collection. I’ve developed some pretty strong feelings about what makes a pleasing structure and how you get that really smooth flow.
Because Sera Blue is an awesome publishing house and Kelan Gerriety is an awesome editor who also has strong opinions on what makes a good collection, we’ve been able to try some new and exciting things with Relative Scale. One of those things has been to organize the book into distinct, illustrated sections.
Ah, now it comes clear as to why we’ve been talking about section art in our reveal videos. This anthology is structured around a journey from childhood to being a grown-up. We’ve communicated that in two ways: first we’ve collected the stories with sections defined by the age of the protagonist. So, the first section of the book has the action carried by under-twelves, the second section driven by teenagers and the final part by people who’ve all voted at least once.
The images speak to the life phases, the unabashed delight in making of a child with chalk, an axe to strike out against the darkness and doubt of being a teenager, a hand reaching up and out to become more than we are now. Aging captured in art and metaphor.
But, growing up and getting older are not the same thing. Life phases are not governed by age alone. So we put together sections that would match the tone and language of each life phase with a specific style of story-telling.
Childhood is fantasy, the wonder and the scale, the archetypes and rules, tests of courage and cleverness. Look, genre is not a hard and fixed thing, so yes sometimes we talk about galaxies and sometimes we talk about habitation pods in our fantasy. It’s more about how the story is told than exactly the subject matter.
Highschool is horror-comedy and dark action, fear and evil, resilience and tough-guy banter, tests of trust and teamwork. If this isn’t making sense to you, I’d recommend remembering harder. Even those of you nostalgic for your teenage years must concede that they were teeming with at least metaphorical monsters.
Speculative and science fiction has always been a pretty good repository of ways to talk about growing up for me. The wonder of seeking, and sometimes bitter pain of finding, of loneliness and light of hard-earned, enduring joy. Section 3 is just that, stars and science, dialogue and communication, learning and opening and tests of faith and self-belief.
This is the section most indicative of the heart of my writing career, where I come closest to capturing the feelings in my chest, to share with people.
So there’s a story made of stories here, in their position and placement. It’s my story, your story, the universal story of existing in the world, plain as day if you know where to look.
May you have much light in your weekend and strength to your hands for the stories you will shape there.