West 96th Street
Manhattan, New York
13 January 2114
Dear Bertena Verney,
I’ve no doubt you find it odd to receive a letter from somebody you regard as a figment of a novelist’s imagination, delivered through that novelist’s hands. While Mr. Graybosch no doubt insists I am indeed a product of his imagination, inspired perhaps by memories of a woman he once loved and a woman he has loved since the turn of your century, I am as real as you. Please don’t begrudge him his belief. I’m sure he clings to it as my husband Morgan once clung to his belief that he was only human and nothing more — for sanity’s sake.
Morgan, our friends, and I consulted theoretical physicists at universities in London, Tokyo, Geneva, and here in New York. The most plausible explanation any of them could offer was that my mind and those of the other principle characters depicted in what Mr. Graybosch regards as “metalhead science fantasy” are entangled with his on a quantum level across two different space-time continuua. All of them cautioned us that their explanations are more metaphor than hypothesis, cannot be falsified, and are no doubt gross misapplications of existing theory.
He can read our minds and experience our world through our senses. It’s a sensation akin to knowing that God is real, and knows you more intimately than you know your own self. I still have trouble believing he would cheer at my triumphs and mourn my defeats, given his almost divine connection to me, until I remember he’s as human as I am. I sometimes had to stop myself from praying to him because he isn’t God and can’t reach into my world and help us.
But I can reach into his mind, see the narrative he crafts from my experiences, Morgan’s, and those of our friends and enemies. It comforts me to know that he can find some meaning in our struggles. It pleases to see that his struggle to understand the war against Sabaoth in which Morgan, our friends and I became embroiled lent meaning and a sense of purpose to his own life and helped him connect to people.
While it’s unnerving to live with the knowledge that another person can read your mind and has access to thoughts, fantasies, fears, and desires you barely admit to yourself, let alone to your husband, our mutual awareness that this access is a dual-edged sword encourages restraint. I suspect it has even made him a better writer. Since he is reliant upon our experiences, but has no control over our actions, his art consists of the selective recreation of our reality.
Or, as Claire puts it, he can’t make me ogle myself for his readers’ benefit.
Fortunately, he refrains from including in his narrative most of the occasions on which various men, Morgan included, have ogled me for their own benefit. Whether it’s a principled respect for individual rights he seems to share with Morgan and me, or simply dedication to his art, is immaterial. The only exception of which I am aware was his description of the morning before Morgan and I departed for Boston, when Morgan saw me in Adversary’s battle dress for the first time and admired me as an avatar of Pallas Athena.
Reading Mr. Graybosch’s narrative through his own eyes, it seems Morgan fell in love with me all over again that morning. Being able to witness that is a privilege few women are afforded. I must confess it’s amusing to see myself through Mr. Graybosch’ imagination as well, or at least his imagination filtered through that of the artist he commissioned to visualize his image of me.
I hope he thinks to attach a copy so you can see for yourself. It’s really quite a flattering image, since he compares me with an actress and singer from your own world named Sarah Brightman. Since I’ve listened to some of her recordings using Mr, Graybosch’s senses (turnabout being fair play), I can say that I don’t quite sound like Ms. Brightman. I’m astounded, however, that how closely my singing voice resembles that of Annie Haslam from Renaissance. I honestly thought he was just making that up to build me up as a more interesting character.
However, Morgan and I never joked about having kittens because we didn’t have contraceptives. That’s just Mr. Graybosch being silly. It seems he does that rather often, giving us dialogue based on allusions he finds amusing. I don’t even like Jane Austen, for hell’s sake. I find her endless descriptions of late eighteenth century upper-class courtship tedious, and positive evidence of the dire need for feminism in pre-Nationfall society. Incidentally, I prefer Michael Moorcock — though not for the puerile reasons Claire suggests. My husband is more than adequate to my requirements, thank you.
On the other hand, the bit about kittens was a subtle hint that people with CPMD might be human, but not homo sapiens. Graybosch can be a clever bastard.
Oh, and Matthew? I know you’re listening. What you call the “Ceiling Cat Routine” cuts both ways. Do remember that my husband is a flowseeker whose capabilities you keep downplaying in your pre-writing for A Tyranny of Demons because you’re afraid your audience won’t be able to suspend disbelief because they’re reading a novel and not watching some lame shounen anime where every duel stretches for three hours because the combatants are shouting out technique names like “Divine Wings of Tragedy” or “Innermost Polypsychotic Hellscape” like Claire insists they do in Detergent.
If you keep making me sound like a newsreader from a 20th century BBC broadcast I will have him open a pathway to your plane of existence and send Claire through with Cluebringer. I don’t have to speak Received English all the fucking time, you know.
Oh, for fuck’s sake, don’t put that in the letter to Bertena Verney. Oh, you bastard.
Oh, Christ. Now you’ll put that in, too. Do you see what I have to put up with, Ms. Verney? It makes being married to the Man Who Killed God a cakewalk. Not that Sabaoth was actually God, but you know how the media sensationalizes things, and it does sell concert tickets.
By the way, I’m thinking of getting Mr. Graybosch to do something useful if he’s going to piss about on social media instead of writing the next Starbreaker novel. Claire, Morgan, and I might see if we can get him to blog “in character”. I’ll probably talk about music. Claire, I hope, will confine her discussion to games, books, and anime. Morgan might offer the reader a “backstage” view of Starbreaker.
Oh, damn. I just got a text from Imaginos. He’s been terribly bored ever since Morgan sealed his powers after the trial and bound him to his material form. He might comment on politics and current events in your world. He is not impressed, by the way. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop him, even if I tell him that Morgan and I made him a grandfather.
God damn you, Matthew, don’t put that in the letter. I haven’t even told Morgan yet.
Do you see what we put up with, Bertena? Then again, it might be happening to you. Existence is weird, and maybe you’re better off not knowing if some scruffy long-haired metalhead with delusions of erudition is crafting a narrative of your life. Tell Mr. Graybosch if you want to hear from me or the others again. We’ll get the message.
Naomi Bradleigh, Adversary Emeritus
About Without Bloodshed:
âAll who threaten me die.â
These words made Morgan Stormriderâs reputation as one of the Phoenix Societyâs deadliest IRD (Individual Rights Defense) officers. He served with distinction as the Societyâs avenger, hunting down anybody who dared kill an Adversary in the line of duty. After a decade spent living by the sword, Morgan seeks to bid a farewell to arms and make a new life with his friends as a musician.
Regardless of his faltering faith, the Phoenix Society has a final mission for Morgan Stormrider after a dictatorâs accusations make him a liability to the organization. He must put everything aside, travel to Boston, and prove he is not the Societyâs assassin. He must put down Alexander Liebenthalâs coup while taking him alive.
Despite the gravity of his task, Morgan cannot put aside his ex-girlfriendâs murder, or efforts to frame him and his closest friends for the crime. He cannot ignore a request from a trusted friend to investigate the theft of designs for a weapon before which even gods stand defenseless. He cannot disregard the corruption implied in the Phoenix Societyâs willingness to make him a scapegoat should he fail to resolve the crisis in Boston without bloodshed.
The words with which Morgan Stormrider forged his reputation haunt him still.
Without Bloodshed Purchase Links:
Matthew Graybosch is the author of Without Bloodshed, a near-future science fantasy thriller set in the Starbreaker universe. Without Bloodshed is published by Curiosity Quills Press and currently available. His other works include:
- âTattoo Vampireâ: a short story featuring Morgan Stormrider
- âThe Milgram Batteryâ: a short story featuring Morgan Stormrider, available in the Curiosity Quills Primetime charity anthology
- âSteadfastâ: a novelette featuring Naomi Bradleigh
According to official records maintained by the state of New York, Matthew Graybosch was born on Long Island in 1978. Urban legends in New York suggest he might be Rosemaryâs Baby, the result of top-secret DOD attempts to continue Nazi experiments combining human technology and black magic, or that he sprang fully grown from his fatherâs forehead with a sledgehammer in one hand and a copy of Bulfinchâs Mythology in the other â and has given the poor man headaches ever since.
The truth is more prosaic. Matthew Graybosch is a novelist from New York who lives in central Pennsylvania. He is also an avid reader, a long-haired metalhead, and an unrepentant nerd.
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+MatthewGraybosch/about