The Case of the Misplaced Hero is an ongoing blog story which was published on this blog over the summer of 2012.
Now you can buy the ebook! A complete novella-length story in 43 episodes, at Amazon's Kindle Store, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Diesel, Apple iBookstore. Or you can get it in any format, DRM-free from Smashwords. (Smashwords' free samples also include HALF the book.)
Now also at Amazon's international stores: UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan.
You can also still read it free online!
Start with the First Episode here, or read a little about the story and world below. Also find a quick-links Table of Contents at the bottom of the page.
The 2012 Blogstory Experiment
The world of this story has been knocking around in my head for many many many years. Because of that, it has so many wonderful branches of little stories and characters, I could keep telling stories from it forever.
This summer I decided to have some fun and learn a few things by writing one of the stories as a serial.
The goal is to post twice a week in very short episodes -- 600-700 words -- to make for easy and enjoyable online reading -- like a blog. It's sort of like telling a story in comic strips. And yes, the story is very compressed. (I will write an expanded version more suited to ebook reading too.)
Title: The Misplaced Hero
Genre: Alternate World / Flicker-punk / Swashbuckler.
I think of this as "Flicker-punk" -- it is a world powered by the images and tropes of silent movie serials, and adventure fiction and melodramas of the same period -- 1915-1927. While it's technically fantasy, the story is not magic-driven. The magic (as magic often was in stories of the period) is convenient -- to get the main characters from this world to that.
I do reserve the right to use pseudo-science and perhaps monsters, inventions or ghosts, as they were used in mainstream adventure fiction of the time.
Alex is a young man born in the wrong world. He's a misplaced hero, cooling his heels as a perennial student until one day, when he tries to save his professor from drowning, he takes an accidental trip to another world, one where heroes are needed. However, before he can get down to his new life, he needs to get his drunken professor home (before the old man sobers up and realizes what's happened).
(NOTE: this particular story is kind of a side story to the overall series -- the Perils of Lady Pauline -- which will continue in April of 2013. It seems like a good entry into the world.)
The World of the Story
refer to the overall world as Awarshawa sometimes, but Awarshawa itself
is only one country in a larger world -- a country where all the
Awarshawa is the place the spies are from or are going to, and the
ambassadors are always getting assassinated. It's where the border
guards stop the train and hassle you about your papers. It's where the
exiled nobles are from -- the ones who endlessly plot against one another while living off rich people in other countries. And
it's a place where refugees flee through the forest primeval, only
slightly less afraid of the local bandits and armies of partisan
soldiers than they are of legendary monsters. It's a place where they are constantly at war with someone, usually themselves.
In my imagination, the Awarshi characters are
kind of like Bolsheviks with the souls of cartoon Frenchmen. (They seem
to spend much of their time smoking, shrugging, accepting bribes and
arguing over the meaninglessness of existence.) At least that describes
the more sophisticated urban Awarshis. The wild partisans of the
mountains and forest have a much more Cossack style.
We'll see how they develop as they find their way onto the page.
Imperia and Freedonia
main characters are largely English or American (as they are in the old
stories which inspired it) -- which left me with a problem. Is this a
"Ruritanian" story? Where it's the real world, but we make up an exotic
country where all the action happens? No. It can't be. Awarshawa
simply does not fit into this world's history.
And besides, the reality of old serials isn't consistent with, well ... reality.
in order to prevent anyone from being confused as to whether there is
any pretense of reality or historicity here at all, I decided to call
these two other countries Imperia and Freedonia. One rules the waves and has lots of civilized murders in country houses, the other has cowboys and square-jawed capitalists.
Freedonia, of course, is a name already in use,
but honestly I cannot think of a better name to suit the tone and
reality level of the story. (But no, it's not going to be as funny as
the Marx Brothers.) Besides, Freedonia doesn't play a big part in the
story as imagined so far. (It's just that Alex is mistaken as being
from Freedonia.) So for now, for the blog version of this story,
Freedonia is a place sort of like America. If I feel the need to change
the name, I will.
There will be other countries,
which will be named as necessary. Don't expect them to conform to
reality, but do expect them to borrow from cliches and tropes and
Now on to Episode 1, where we meet Alex, and his eccentric Aunt Flavia.
Table of Contents / Quicklinks:
Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6
Episode 7, Episode 8, Episode 9, Episode 10, Episode 11, Episode 12,
Episode 13, Episode 14, Episode 15, Episode 16, Episode 17, Episode 18,
Episode 19, Episode 20, Episode 21, Episode 22, Episode 23, Episode 24,
Episode 25, Episode 26, Episode 27, Episode 28, Episode 29, Episode 30,
Episode 31, Episode 32, Episode 33, Episode 34, Episode 35, Episode 36,
Episode 37, Episode 38, Episode 39, Episode 40, Episode 41, Episode 42,
Episode 43 (or the epilogue/credit cookie).
For those who are impatient, echeck out "The Story So Far..." for plot summaries of the first half of the story.
See you in the funny papers.