For some time now, years actually, my family and friends have been trying to get me to write fictional stories for publication. For a long time I resisted that notion because I write non-fiction and to tell you the truth I haven’t really considered fiction to be nearly as important an effort as non-fiction since I was a kid. But they’ve kept at me, and to tell you the truth I ain’t as opposed as I used to be to the idea, and in some sense I’ve even warmed to the proposal. The idea doesn’t automatically revolt me like it used to. So I’ve started working on some fiction. And to that end I’ve had a series of ideas about some stories for some time now about which I’d like to get some opinion and feedback.
No. 1 - Basically this idea involves a series of fictional stories that take place mainly in the Byzantine Empire, in and around Constantinople, circa the eras between 790 up to about 1254 Anno Domini.
These stories mostly concern events within and around the Byzantine Empire but occasionally involve people, places, and events in Europe, the Middle East, Northern and Eastern Africa and parts of Asia. The point of the stories will involve both historical and religious/mystical/mythical events that take place during that time frame. The stories will involve an ancient Byzantine Force or Special Team (what today might be considered a Special Forces Unit), which consists of military men, ambassadors, intelligence agents and spies, and clergymen. This team will be composed of a wide variety of individuals with unique backgrounds from many parts of the Empire, including Latins, Greeks, Africans, a man from the British Isles, a Frank, an Italian, a Russian, and a former Viking who has become a convert and a monk.
This team travels throughout the Empire on a wide variety of missions including, but not limited to, military and security assignments, law enforcement, investigation of bizarre events, investigation of miracles, espionage, scouting and reconnaissance, and diplomatic and religious delegations.
The stories will also involve another world, which is geographically exactly like our world during this era, but is inhabited by different types of creatures and beings, and is the home of the Realm of Prester John. This other world, home of Prester John and his people, occasionally overlaps our world and therefore the Special Team of Byzantine Agents will encounter Prester John and his world from time to time.
The purpose of these encounters will allow the stories to explore a host of mystical, mythological, spiritual, and religious subject matter as the Christians of Byzantium encounter this other world, which the Christians at first mistake for a heavenly or paradisiacal Kingdom of God overlapping our world.
The stories will also all involve real events, characters, and places and will be as historically accurate as possible all other elements considered. The stories will explore the possibility that lying underneath apparent historical events in our world is an invisible “underworld” or “otherworld” of spiritual forces at play which men do not fully grasp, comprehend, or understand. This otherworld effects historical progress, the development of science, the course of religion and spiritual affairs, and even the products of art and technology. God technology, of various kinds and at various stages of development will be important components of these stories. I intend to develop these stories into a novel of the same basic set of materials. This will not however be alternative historical fiction. The outcome of real world historical events will not be altered, but the understanding of these events will perhaps be modified for the reader depending on what invisible or otherworldly elements are exposed in the development of the stories.
So I ask you a question. Do you as a reader think you might find such stories interesting (as a general premise) and what do you think the market might be for such a novel based upon this set of ideas?
No. 2 - As a follow-up to this idea I have for some number of years now been developing a Role playing game which is similar in some ways to Dungeons and Dragons but is set in the Byzantine Empire along the same general milieu as the idea for the novel which I sketched out above. This RPG is both an historical and Christian version of a Medieval Role Playing Game, but rather than proving just a background for personal character adventure it also explores historical events, and most especially religious and spiritual matters as related to the Christian religion, Christian morals, and the historical development of Christianity as a religion over time. In other words the idea behind it is not just the development of a “character” but through game and mission scenarios to promote "character-development" through the solving of, conquering of, or overcoming of various spiritual, moral, religious, political, cultural, and personal dilemmas.
Would you as a player or potential player of such a game find such a setting interesting and do you think a market exists for such a game to be profitable?
No. 3 - This last idea is a sort of corollary of sorts to the previous two ideas. It also involves a role-playing game that I have been developing for some time now. It involves a multi-branch, multi-service, multi-agency team of operatives drawn from US and Allied military forces (US, British, and NATO forces), various Intelligence Services, and some civilian governmental agencies such as the DEA and FBI, as well as detectives and undercover operatives from US big city police forces and international law enforcement organizations such as Interpol. This Team, which is a modern version of the Byzantine Team spoken of above travels the world engaged in anti-terrorism, counter-intelligence, intelligence, anti-criminal/anti-smuggling, law-enforcement, scouting, undercover, reconnaissance, and espionage missions.
The Team itself is actually a set of smaller three man sub-component teams that can be assembled into a larger team depending upon need, circumstance, and particular mission parameters. The Team is a fictional unit but many of the members and many of the missions are based upon my own personal experiences or based upon the experiences of friends and associates of mine. Many of the stories involving this team will explore the religious, spiritual, and moral dilemmas faced by US and allied personnel and agents when engaged in modern combat, espionage, clandestine, undercover, and law enforcement activities.
Would you as a player or potential player find such a game of interest and do you think a profitable market might exist for such a game?
Well, that’s it. Thanks for your help and Happy Easter.
Be seeing ya.
© JWG, Jr. 2007
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