A little geography lesson…

Interested in learning more about the geography of The Hollow March and At Faith’s End? Like any bit of fantasy, it can sometimes seem like there’s a lot of names being tossed around therein, so it never hurts to provide a little point of reference for the undertaking. Here are some of the more important names to remember from around the world of Lecura:

A (*) next to a name indicates a capital city.

Those figures listed next to the provinces are the leading figures of those provinces.

Geography

Idasia; Anscharde*, and its provinces: (The Main Focus of the Novels, located on the continent Marindis.)

  1. Dexet—Duke Urtz
  2. Varstein—Count Palatine Veldhart (The Sheep) [As of At Faith’s End, Bishop Hargrove of Tennesburg]
  3. Karinth—Baron Yohan Wendoc
  4. Sorbia—Duke Burkhard Rusthöffen (Lord Steer)
  5. Baharia—Count Haisher Hendensleuce
  6. Thorinde—Count Corwick Ibin
  7. Usteroy—Count Palatine Walthere Cullick (The Lion); Fürlangen*
  8. Jaritz—Count Witold; and Verdan, with Lord Matair; Gölingen*
  9. Berundy—Count Palatine Diedrich Kurste
  10. Lucretsia—Baron Erim Pordill (The Black Goat)
  11. Momeny—Margrave Dustan Scheyer; Ungerührt Tor*
  12. Turgal—Count Herbst Irkaller
  13. Dornitz—Baron Milbard Bresche
  14. Fritensia—Count Palatine Hewlitt Mayse
  15. Brabeck—Baron Kraste Uschent
  16. Khetzen—Baron Othmann Joher
  17. Waibar—Baron Perstin Osich
  18. Wassein—Duke Turgitz
  19. Arlaine—Margrave Kasch Hiris
  20. Corvaden—Crown Land

Kingdom of Effise; Mankałd* (Located to the east of Idasia, sharing a border with its provinces of Arlaine and Momeny. It is presently in a state of war with Idasia.)

Kingdom of Surin (A chaotic, utterly decentralized nation to the east of the Idasian provinces of Jaritz and Baharia, beyond the River Jurree. Following a previous war with Idasia, a loose confederation of barons has seized control, with its king being little more than a figurehead)

Principalities of Ravonno; Turnina*; Palace of the Holy Seal (Located to the south of Idasia, separated from the Empire by a chain of mountains. It is the religious heartland of the Visaji faith, and dominated by four principalities united under the Patriarch of the Church.)

Frmr Kingdom of Narana (The westernmost nation of the Marindi continent. A broken nation now, reduced to a mere province of the invading Zutam Empire.)

Kingdom of Asantil; Calvijon* (Borders Idasia’s western provinces. A devout nation nevertheless viewed as responsible for the rise of the Farren heretics. Widely regarded at the last true check of Idasian power on the continent.)

Kingdom of Banur; Sayerne* (Located to the southeast of Idasia, this rugged land is an ally of Idasia, through marriage to the Imperial family and the Count Palatine Walthere Cullick.)

Dutchies and Baronies of Lorace (Once a collection of tribes, and now a collection of interlaced city-state-like baronies and dutchies, Lorace is located south of Asantil, along the sea. Regarded as vicious fighters, their independence is their own great issue.)

Grand Duchy of Walim (Often regarded as independent in name only, this erstwhile ally of Idasia sits on the Empire’s western border, serving as a sort of buffer state between it and Asantil.)

Island Nations of Karnush (Northwest of the continent lies the isles of Karnush–a smattering of atolls, sandbars, and large islands in their own right, regarded as some of the finest traders of the modern era. A fierce navy and savvy knowledge of the seas is their greatest shield.)

Confederacy of Forlia (Adjoining Banur in the east, this confederacy of states is a sort of half-effort in democracy, with an elected tyrant sitting over the citizens in question)

Holy Empire of Zutam (Zutam the Holy. Zutam the Mighty. Zutam the Terror. A continent and an Empire in its own right. Its origins lie in a continent south of these others’ landlocked existences–but since it crossed the sea and smashed Narana, its presence has become very real for all.)

Talimphate of Tajalik (The easternmost state known to most residents of the Marindi continent–a land of silks and spice, hard men and women, and a rugged landscape dotted at least as much by tribes as civilization–it is the subject of many tales among the Marindi nations, and few of them true. Its size is of some dispute, but its power and elegance is not.)

Welcome to Idasia – or, Maps, Maps, Maps!

World and Information ©Chris Galford; map © to talented cartographer Nathan Hartley.

(Geography follows below, but for the final version of Idasia’s map, consult “The Great Fantasy Extravaganza!

Welcome, all, to a little sneak peak on my upcoming novel, “The Hollow March.” While I’ll have other goodies appearing in days to come, I thought you all might be interested in a glance at some of the locales I’ll be introducing therein. Above, you’ll note a lovely map crafted by one Nathan Hartley – a friend, and quite a skilled cartographer if I might say so. Though nearly complete, there are still a few tiny details to add – and the final version, of course, will be featured in the novel itself. I’m truly indebted to him for taking the time to do this. I couldn’t have asked for more!

This is, primarily, a map of the fictional nation of Idasia, wherein a large portion of my tale takes place. Specifically, if you note that nice big forest in the east – the Ulneberg – you’ll already have an idea of where one Rurik Matair’s first literary footsteps will take place.

But now then, with your map in hand for reference, let me lead you on a little tour…

Idasia is a sprawling nation located smack in the midst of the continent Marindis, on a world known as Lecura. Dominated by plains and fields, it has long since lurched into the expansive definition of an empire, unified over bloody centuries and tense decades of peace and trade. It is a nation built originally on the concept of the power of cavalry – a notion being rapidly eroded with the increasing relevance of gunpowder to the field of battle. Yet the Empire has tried its best to maintain, and adapt, and they remain a power to be feared, as its recent gains against the nations of Surin and Effise in the east have proven all too well.

Vast rivers feed the machine of the Empire, while trading ports along the northern coast – on the Sea of Ordun – and the southern coast – on their strip of land along the well-traveled Wine Coast (an offshoot of the Marali Sea) – provide the economic means to support its structure. Both the Ulneberg and Hanschleig forests in the east offer the possibility of expansion, and both settlers and loggers flood into these places, fueled by beneficial Imperial edicts.

Being as large as it is, the Empire of Idasia has many borders. To the west, the small Duchy of Walim has long since submitted itself to the Imperial whims, in order to maintain the visage of semi-autonomy. It is a vassal state, which Idasia uses as a buffer against the ambitions of the Kingdom of Asantil.*

To the south, however, the Principalities of Ravonno have remained largely untouched by external influence, their northern borders secured by a rough and ragged chain of mountains that leave travel a monstrous challenge in the best of months.

To the east lie the nations of Effise, Surin, and Banur.

The Kingdom of Effise, presently locked in war with Idasia, was once known as the belly of Marindis, for the golden what fields that once dominated its heartlands. War’s fires have stricken these, however, either burned by retreating Effisians, or gobbled up by the invading Idasians. Though its water supplies remain mostly secured, it has lost more than a quarter of its land to Idasian ambitions. Though many of its cities remain surrounded, and its fields bare, its people hold out hope that the winter will break the intruders – as it has time and again throughout their history.

The Kingdom of Banur is a formal ally of Idasia’s, through marriage to its emperor. It has never been a large nation, but its careful politicking has long secured its borders from everyone save Tajalik further to the east. A dusty land nestled along the wealthy Wine Coast, it is its mines that have long maintained it.

By contrast, the Kingdom of Surin serves as a woeful tale of how fragile a game politics can be. Once a far greater nation, its zenith has long since passed, its coffers depleted by internal bickering and civil war, its land gobbled up by the greedy eyes of its Idasian neighbors two decades past. Only the massive river Jurree (Juree on the map – yes, I know) and the mountain “cup” along its western and northern borders has saved this landlocked nation from further embarrassment…and even these, most presume, provide but a temporary reprieve. Its valleys are lush, despite a distinct sag in population, and much of its internal land lies in the hands of powerful ranchers. A land with little central authority anymore, it is often seen as the black sheep of the continent, given its lawless and chaotic state, and the high concentration of banditry within its borders.

Well, I think I need to take a few breaths now, but I hope you enjoyed this brief peeking into my brain. It can be a chaotic place, so I’m glad you had the map to guide you…

*Note: In the map, the Kingdom of Asantil is noted as “Ajansil.” This is a typo that has since been corrected in later editions of the map.

“The Child’s Cry”

It’s just one of those weeks. Good turn of phrase, and one we’ve all heard before, I’m sure – but usually, we mean it in a bad way. It’s just one of those weeks. You know. The kind we don’t talk about, so we get all vague and shy.

Preview Image Lorelei Signal Attached alongside "The Child's Cry." ©Wolfsinger Publications and all that good stuff of course.

Well, let me just say it is not one of those weeks – at the Waking Den, it’s one of those rarer weeks for writers, the kind where people could walk right up to you and kick you in the shins, and you’d still be smiling. As you may recall, earlier this week I gave the official announcement of my upcoming book, “The Hollow March” (two months, tell your friends, ho ho ho). As if entering into the kick-off for a trilogy that’s been kicking around my own wacky little brain for years now wasn’t good enough, though, this week also marked my first short story publication.

It’s a strange feeling to see one’s work set to print before their eyes, I must say, but “The Child’s Cry” overcame its hurdles (which includes several other magazine rejections, mind you) to be published in the lovely magazine Lorelei Signal, a literary magazine under the guidance of Wolfsinger Publications. Thanks to Carol Hightshoe for taking the time to read and consider it – and to ultimately give it the green light. You can see the blurb, and order a copy of the current issue at: http://www.loreleisignal.com/. Please do – the more people who buy, the more goes to help maintain both this lovely magazine, and the talented writers within!

“The Child’s Cry” is a fantasy short (shocking, right?) set in the same world as my upcoming novel, and in fact, revolves around one of the characters therein. To sum: “When a lord’s young daughter is kidnapped and her guards murdered, a tenacious woman delves into the forest depths in search of blood and salvation.” The “tenacious woman” title goes to a ranger named Roswitte, who, while in a highly undesirable position, works to show that expectation doesn’t always match reality. It’s an adventure piece, though it seeks to also temper fantasy with a touch of reality – notably the reality of gender and social woes in such medieval settings.

Mouthful, that, but I do hope you enjoy. Plus, look at that picture they put up alongside it – isn’t that just lovely?

But to give you a better sampling, here’s a few words from the work itself:

At times it was difficult to attach purpose to life. Assal, they said, held purpose in all things though man might never know it. All were a part of the cycle, and the cycle was in all things. Simple enough. Yet life never seemed terribly simple, even for the simple.

Looking back, Roswitte thought, she might have found a new sense of salvation in the simplicity of those hours long gone. Yet they were naught but memories, perceptions of what was—never what actually came to pass. Then, she had been complaining of what she did not have. Now she was complaining of what she did. Life was a terrible mess. Would that the alternative were any better, and if the people at her feet were any indication, it wasn’t.

Picking over the bodies for a second time, she tried to make sense of what had happened. It was a damn sight beyond her usual duties to venison and poachers.

I also received word from another magazine (keeping that a touch hush-hush till I hear more of course) that another work may also see the light of publication with the dawning of the new month…fingers crossed, there.

Oh, and being a sort with a good sense of humor…I’ve of course made arrangements to tack up the first rejection letter I got for “The Child’s Cry” on my wall as well. You know – to bring a smile whenever I reflect. As writers, it’s the little things we must draw strength from, no?

A Winter Checklist, for Michigan

The Red Cedar River, MSU. By Chris Galford.

Checklist for a Michigan Winter:

1.       Thick coat. Get your dang Northface out of here.

2.       Boots. Preferably fluffy. Leather also good. Steel-toed = best.

3.       Thermal socks. Because your normal whities just aren’t gonna cut it, sweetheart.

4.       Scarf. Because that floppy little hood you’re wearing is just the wind’s plaything.

5.       Hot Cocoa. For the kid inside. And also that numb sensation you seem to be experiencing.

6.       A car that isn’t a Ford Taurus. Snow makes them go into concrete poles, you know. Er, or so I hear…

7.       Salt. Take a step outside after the first winter rain and you’ll understand why. “Boy the ground sure is shiny to—hell!”

8.       A heater. In your home if nowhere else. Don’t got one? Ignore all aforementioned then, cause you’re probably as stiff as Frosty the bloody snow man by now anyway.

9.       Purple fingers. Because hell, even with all the above, you’re still going to get them after any real time outside. It’s a real Michigan color.

Just came back from a 2 and a half hour jaunt through a frozen Michigan State University and a snowy Lansing River Trail. Cocoa now firmly in hand, I have begun the appropriate after-ritual of sitting in a corner with a space heated on and a sweat shirt pulled snug until the feeling returns to hands and feet. Fingers crossed that it’ll be soon.

We've been spending a lot of time together, these books and I.

Productive day though – a good end to an equally productive week. Poems have been sent to four publishers now, with two more publishers picked out with poetry waiting to be sent to them as soon as they begin receiving again come February. Two more publishers will be getting the e-mails tomorrow, and then, it’s time to move on to short stories. Keep an eye out, you may see some on here soon as well (and yes, I know I’ve said that before. I mean it this time…I’ve got dozens).

The last of my editors just sent in their notes about my novel, so I’m all but ready to go on that as well. One last look through, comparing notes and checking final edits…and then it’s off to another, more intricate publisher hunt, and all the stress that’ll bring. But I look forward to it, anxiously.

As for the job front…well…Michigan is Michigan.

Photos will come tomorrow, along with next week’s quotes of the week (no, I haven’t forgotten. I know you’re all watching and waiting for me to so you can say I told you so).

Hopes, Memories, and a little Creativity…

Michigan State Capitol Building, by Chris Galford

No Present

Caught himself along the past–

years passed before he ever realized

No Present.

So many are consumed by the past, and what has gone before, they forget to live in the present. As 2011 looms, I hope you reflect, but I also hope you take the time to look around you and enjoy a touch of the now.

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!

Image care of Demotivational Posters.

I’d like to thank you all for all the support you’ve shown as readers, and peers…fellow writers and photographers all. That you’ve shared your works and encouraged and supported me in the sharing of my own has been a joy without end. I wasn’t sure how well the whole “young writer hitting the Big Bad Web” angle would go for me…you seem to see everyone everywhere trying it these days, and it certainly seems daunting to try and wade into such a hefty mass–amateurs, experts, and all manner of unseen forces lurking in the background, with the looming horror of plagiarism and creative theft.

And yet, things have gone better than I ever could have imagined. When I first started the Waking Den, I never would have dreamed there was such a vibrant and accepting community out there, just waiting to nurture and support fellow creative types. It has been an honor, yes, an honor, to read your comments on my own work, and to see and to read and pick through yours. There is a lot of talent out there, and it’s always a pleasure to discover new gems.

The One Shot Wednesday Mike

Another thing I never could have anticipated this year: One Stop Poetry. When I first started posting my poetry, and my photography, I thought I would be lucky if anyone swung through. I would have been happy with a couple comments here and there, be they critiques or praise. Yet then Leslie Moon came along, and through her I met the other wonderful founders of One Stop: Adam Dustus, Brian Miller and Pete Marshall. To be a part of that community, of such an up-and-coming site for creativity, was a joy among joys. Suddenly all those fellow poets were in one places, and they were sharing, and reading, and writing…it was the promised land.

When Leslie asked me on-board as a fellow manager, I was not only stunned, but ecstatic. Never in a million years could I have predicted that – and I couldn’t have asked for more. Since then I’ve gotten to work with Gay Cannon and Claudia Schoenfeld as well, two more managers added to the One Stop family. Between them and the founders, it’s a team without equal – and the experience has been both a blessing and a treasure. I get to interview photographers about their passion, see into the minds behind an art that has always fascinated and intrigued me. I get to share something I genuinely enjoy with the world-at-large.

And one can’t put a price on that.

Pure Michigan, by Chris Galford

Joy? I have a lot of it from this year. 2010 was a great year. I graduated, and not only that, I did so while acing every class. I had a great internship with the Lansing City Pulse that showed me first-hand how a real news organization works, and gave me an

See that guy in the fancy hat? That's me. Post-graduation with my father.

opportunity to flex my knowledge of the arts, as well as my photographic eye. I’ve climbed mountains, wandered beaches. I finished my first novel in a trilogy, “The Hollow March,” edited it, and gotten quality reviews back from its first readers. I’ve met new friends, joined a community of fellow writers, established a writer’s group in my own town, and have set about the ground work for hunting down publishers for short stories, poems and that fancy novel of mine. I’ve applied to law school, gotten my letters of recommendation, and now…I’m ready to hit the ground running.

If 2010 was a great year, I plan on making 2011 an amazing year. I hope you all will continue to support me as I do so – I couldn’t have come so far without all your kind words, your critiques, the inspiration of your presence.

And I hope above all that you all will have a wonderful year ahead as well. Here’s to the old year, and to the new – Cheers to all of you!

 

"Foggy Notions of Photography," by Chris Galford

Graduation

Photo Credits: MSU Commencement. Year Unknown.

Graduation is here at last. If you needed an explanation to why the Den’s been a little quiet this week – look no further than that. In a wash of green robes and final papers, my week has been a flurry of continuous movement, continuous demands, and this single Saturday stands as the peak at the end of the long crescendo. After this, I still have a few finals (really, whose idea is it to have final papers AFTER your graduation?) but they are merely the final stepping stones bridging the gap between this life and the next – the entrance to reality.

All next semester will be spent hunting down a job, sending out swarms of short stories, poems, and (hopefully) my novel to contests, publishers, agents, and what have you on the march to creative advancement, and preparing my law school applications. Just have to remember to keep telling myself to breathe in the meantime.

I’d like to take the time to thank you all for all the support and kind words all of you have shown here on my blog over the past year. I never would have thought I’d find such a warm reception to this little creative outlet of mine…and it’s been a kindness, truly. I’ll be back soon enough with more. In the meantime, though…excuse me as I step off into reality. Be back in a bit.

Finished at last!

“Man tames not vengeance; vengeance breaks the man.”

It is with these words that the fruit of my labors begin. Thirteen short stories led me to this point. Months of labor led me to this point. Long nights. Early mornings. Rushing to heel with pen and paper in hand, to scribble down a passing thought, a fleeting fancy. Inspiration and dedication have led me to at last announce the completion of my dearest creation to date: my novel.

“The Hollow March” has been my been my obsession. At long last, I have finished it. Laid down the final word, breathed in a sigh of relief and adoration, and leaned back to run my eyes down my work. Over 200,000 words, more than 350 pages strung end to end in our dear friend Microsoft Word (using friend loosely here of course). Backed up, filed away, stored and ready and waiting.

Tonight, and for the next few days, I may take a dramatic bow and vanish into the great beyond. For now, I feel a great need to celebrate, before the next stage begins. Editing is just around the corner, and it is all the longer. But the work is down, the words stretched end to end, and I am content, for the moment, to rest.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and a wonderful weekend. May our rapidly descending Fall find you as well as it has found me!

Winter is Coming

The day may still be a year away, but HBO’s upcoming adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s popular fantasy novel series A Song of Fire and Ice has never felt closer.

Last week, a new teaser trailer (the first) was released, showing several scenes from the show and getting all trippy on us. It doesn’t reveal much, just a few glimpses here and there of things we can gleefully anticipate.

The first season will revolve around the first novel in the series, and all seasons thereafter will follow the same theory. Martin has seven books planned for the series (though fans are still biting their nails over a five-year wait on the fifth book: A Dance with Dragons).

The story takes place in the mythical land of Westeros, and follows the story of the noble but intensely unfortunate Stark family, who become intricate parts of the gathering intrigue and drama of the land when the King draws the Stark patriarch, Eddard (played by Sean Bean) in to be his closest advisor. People squabble for the throne, characters fall, and in the midst of it all, the once semi-peaceful land devolves into war-torn madness.

The script for the show is written and produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, with Thomas McCarthy (at least at present) directing. The cast will also play host to a number of fairly well-known names, including Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey, amongst others.

The series is going to be filled with necessary pretties, and some serious cash will have to be invested in visual effects—given that we have got dragons, magic, and even giant wolves running around Westeros, all waiting for their moment on the screen. The show is said to be more “character-centric,” but we’ll see how that turns out.

The series is set to premiere in Spring, 2011, barring setbacks. And by god, there better not be setbacks.

(And yes, I know, geek points for me, since I posted this on both my blogs. I’ll live.)

Summer Snow

Yep, that's me!

Well I have returned at last from my trip to Colorado. Suffice to say, it was a beautiful trip, every minute of it. I have always felt a calling to the mountains, and I personally feel my brother is a lucky man to live amongst them. Wonderful places–breathtaking scenery, bizarre weather, and the perfect spots for exercise and the embrace of creativity. I now have more than 300 pictures added to my library, some of which you will probably see attached to some of my work in the days to come.

I saw a number of places while I was in-state. From bustling downtown Denver, to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Red Rocks, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the city of Boulder (about as artsy a town as one might find), among others. Between the sight-seeing and the time spent catching up with family, however, I am proud to say I also accomplished a great deal of work. Both there and on the flight, both in terms of poetry and my novel, I made great headway, and I will be posting the results of the weeks to come.

To start us out, I have a poem inspired by a climb to the heights of the Rocky Mountains where, despite broiling 80 degree temperatures below, a beautiful field of snow awaited, and on the peaks for miles around. A bit breezy, by the way, and I had the brilliant idea of hiking in shorts and a t-shirt. Terrible fun, but a wee bit chilly.

So to begin:

14,000 Feet Above the World

Snowball fights in shorts;

The sun beats down

Atop the world.

Slipping along the rocks

I stumble out to see the world,

And I am Freedom,

Dangling over Nothing

In the summer heat.

E-Readers

The Kindle

The Kindle. The I-pad.  The more time comes and goes, the more of these electronic goodies come prancing onto the market place. Book sales are at a terrible low, profits made only worse by the war raging between the motley crew of national bookstores left and the online sellers like Amazon.com.

So the question I ponder today is: what is the future of literature? The Kindle costs over $200, but if you are a voracious reader, you’re easily paying more than that for your hard copies every year. Books themselves can be cheap, but no book (outside of a penny and dollar shop) are going to top the stories on Kindle. Kindle’s prices are on the rise, but as a whole, its prices remain incredibly cheap compared to its hard-copy competitors. Plus, as long as you don’t drop your Kindle in water, your collection is going to last forever. Wear and tear’s not an issue there.

Another advantage of E-readers? Many books in one. You have a portable little friend that has your whole collection right at your disposal. It’s far easier to keep track of than a stack of bulky books. If you are like me, though, you have a thing for aesthetics. I love the smell of old books. I love the feeling of the paper between my fingers, nor can I focus so clearly on a screen as I can upon a book. Plus, there is nothing quite like the weight of a hard cover well-in-hand.

Still, for those well-suited to the screens, these electronic readers have adjustable fonts, to accommodate aging eyes. They can easily combat the glare of the sun, as well. There are no pages to turn, nor tear, and you can proceed at just the touch of a hand.

Speaking as a college student myself, though, the benefits to us students should be obvious. Supposing the book stores all turned to Kindles with their stocks? Hundreds of dollars are wasted on textbooks every semester. With the Kindle’s prices, imagine how much money we younglings could save?

Yet what do these electronics mean for libraries? Could the future be shelves lined with blank readers, waiting to be checked out? Maybe you would have to bring your own and set to browsing their selection. Perhaps a display—pick your program, what’s your pleasure? Just click a button and download your choice! When the due date’s come and gone, the program/book of your choice will simply disappear again, and you will be ready for another check-out. It’s less personal, but the ease is undeniable. I would be interested to see how they charge you fines, though. Perhaps it would simply do away with them all-together, if the program simply disappears after a time anyhow.

But as an author, I implore you one and all to think on what the e-reader will mean for the writer. We labor over every script, but it is we that are always the first screwed over by the companies, the publishers, etc. When the market suffers, rarely is it the companies that feel the hurt—always the writer. Money is rough to come by in the profession, unless you are one of the lucky ones like George R.R. Martin or J.K. Rowling. So when we turn to the even cheaper markets of e-books, how much additional hurt will it put on writers? Are the royalties on a $1 book sale going to keep a writer going? The companies still have to pay everyone that works for them, and at a buck a pop, do you really think they are going to be kind to the authors? That nice little copyright only means so much.

As a practical son of the times, I see the advantage of the e-readers. I see the advancement they embody for society. As a writer, however, I have to side against them. Convenient, yes, but the negatives for authors far outweigh the good. Plus, for me, it all comes back to those aesthetics. I am picky where many others aren’t, I know, but it is simply how I feel.

Think about it. Draw your own conclusions. One thing is for certain, though: the literary world is at a crossroads. One can only guess what might yet come after.