What I like to think sets my work aside from other superpower fantasies is its world. Andala is, very simply, an entire civilisation where everyone has their share of these abilities. Aner is not the special gift of a chosen few. It belongs to everyone.
Think about that for a second. Everyone can do it. All of them. Not just the mighty élite, but the lowest of the humdrum everyday ornery. And then we arrive.
My peculiar interest is in just this kind of culture shock. From its destructive effect on the traditional tribal lives of the Bushmen, to its broader impact on the very foundation of our global history: this stuff is right up my alley. What little I know of super heroes tells me what I’m doing is quite distinct from the norm. Where episodic adventures require a rhythm and a routine reset to the way things were before, I can explore a whole different horizon.
There’s something that really appeals to me in the idea that aner – that unsettling, uncanny, and essentially un-human power – is so perfectly natural on Andala. Marie’s described the first time that we saw it. Aner is startling, terrifying and baffling stuff; a veritable deus ex machina of course. And my hesitance to work on it is as just much a metaphor beyond the book. But there it lies. The focus and the magic.
The world, then, is where I see my best work. It’s a playground for my own games of consequence. There is one continuity in this story. One timeline! (And a relativistic one at that; as long as I can keep the details straight.) Everything the characters do is done for good. Change is eternal, as it is in reality. Anything less doesn’t feel the least bit right. Dodgy prequels and the like have torn the patience out of me!
But what’s a culture like when everyone is Superman? I’ve spent a good while wondering about this very question. Andala is my attempt at answering it. The only way you can: one piece at a time.
From out of those a world is made. No more, no less.