Sophya Soulwright

Imagination | Anxiety | Don’t see me | SIN | Secrets and Lies | Sarcastic Bean | Odd | Isolation | Avoidant Attachment | Shy | I’m trying, I swear

Sophya is a Cad’his; a soultrickster. Technology whispers to her. Souls call for her. Surprising absolutely no one, she wants nothing to do with any of it. 

I’m delighted to figure out what she finds in Horizon’s Crown and if she’ll come to terms with what (and who) she is. And if you’re curious, then you can read about her journey in Aphelion, a slowly unfolding cyberpunk-lite zombie apocalypse novel with a heavy helping of romance and a dash of sassy soul cat.

Aphelion: Chapter 3, Urban Decay

In which Varrett considers therapy and has a very profound epiphany about bean bags; and we learn what the life of a Runner in Horizon’s Crown looks like.

Preview:

Varrett hauled his reluctant ass out of bed. 05:02 his bedside clock said with an obnoxious neon-orange flash of light and a quiet buzz. He swatted for it — and much like every other morning, the stupid clock dodged him. All while being perfectly immobile.

Oh, how he’d have liked to be immobile too; stay flat on his back in his room and let Horizon’s Crown do its thing out there without him for a day or two. Yep, of course he had a room. Nothing near as spacious as Naemie’s bedroom (which he’d totally been in before), but big enough for a low bed with a reasonably comfortable mattress, a desk of the orderly, yet cluttered variety, a dresser with the drawers never closed, a standing mirror in a corner, and enough floor space left to allow for one Varrett-sized klutz getting laid out face first.

Because sitting up had been one thing. Blearily rubbing at his face and forgetting he’d dropped his pants next to it? That was a different story altogether. One that ended with his feet tangled up and the floor saying Hi by smacking him in the chin.

“This is going to be an amazing day,” he mumbled into the dusty carpet and wondered if, maybe, just maybe, he should have stayed in bed.

But then who’d earn all the credits he’d thrown at Clive yesterday?

Ten minutes later, and he’d herded together his work gear, slapped it on, and was busy latching his vest shut while he sifted through a handful of messages that’d come in overnight. They scrolled by at the edge of his vision: two repair offers for the water boiler, a garage bill with a countdown crawling towards zero at the bottom of the message, three variations of Hey, V, would you mind [insert errand here], and one from Naemie with a— woah, hello —attachment. Plus a bunch of spam. Because where would civilization be if no one tried to sell you snake oil cures for the known universe’s most terrifying virus or add another inch or so to your dick?

It’d be— once and for all —over.

Read Aphelion on Ao3
Explore Aphelion on Campfire

Exploring Horizon’s Crown as I write it is so much fun. There is a lot to see and not enough words that fit into one chapter. Though what’s even better? Exploring it with Varrett. He has got just the right amount of fucks to give and his optimism helps me through the grimmer places.

I’ve also got to say I am really enjoying Campfire. It helps me keep my own facts straight and I’ve reached a point in Aphelion where that’s beginning to be really important.

Varrett Vild Vickers (V.)

Live | Loving Son and Big Brother | Tireless Always tired | Stubborn | Overworked & Underfucked | Open Skies and the Vastness of Space | MUSIC | For the Thrill of it | Unintentional Hero | Murder is still a big deal | Fake it ‘till you make it | Dancing on the Devil’s Dance Floor | I got this

Varrett is a bisaster who loves his family, loves life, and knits his friends bracelets. He’s got gasoline pumping in his veins, misses dodging asteroids and defying the laws of physics in his Hawk, and mopes if he can’t get his fingers to dance on a piano keyboard for too long.

Some say he has a resting dork face. He says those people probably smell funny.

Read all about him in Aphelion, where landlords survived the apocalypse and Varrett does all he can to make rent and keep him, his mom, and his adopted kid brother off the zombie-overrun streets. At least until a woman falls from the skies and turns his already very lopsided life very sharply sideways.

Varrett giving Sebastian a soft kiss on the lips.
Varrett and Sebastian (by shobi)

Aphelion: A Cyberpunk-lite Web Serial

#zombie apocalypse #slow burn #cyberpunk-lite #soulmagic #soul links #a tiny bit of horror #hope in the face of darkness #rated m for language because Varrett is a potty mouth

In a world where tech runs off the concept of one’s soul and where dragons steady cosmic scales, heroes are shaped in the shadow of an ancient grudge.

Horizon’s Crown was an Earther triumph; a stage at the frontier of known space, a city of hope and dreams and infinite potential.
Then one man bit another.
Now, under the watchful eye of its orbital island, it straddles the line between dead and dying; a city of nightmares and endless sorrow.            

Varrett Vild Vickers belongs into a pilot’s chair. He’s meant to dodge asteroids, to race dragons, not chase credits so he can pay rent while HC’s major demographic clicks its teeth at him and tries to eat his face off. But it’s fine. Really. He copes.

Or that’s what he tells himself, all the way until a woman falls from the sky and turns his already upside-down life very sharply sideways. 

Armed with nothing but her worst-kept secret and a ledger of lies, Sophya Soulwright tricks her way into Horizon’s Crown, looking for redemption and for meaning to a life she never held dear.
What she finds instead is a city trying its hardest to live, and a man who courts death every step of the way. He’s infuriating, tireless, and he’s her only hope.

They wish they’d never met. 

Aphelion is a work in progress and will be updated with new chapters and behind the scenes elements as it matures. My intention is to explore Horizon’s Crown alongside Varrett and Sophya, so expect the pacing to not be ideal at times. The eventual end result will be polished accordingly!

Comic Review: Drugs and Wires

Drugs and Wires

By Mary Safro aka Cryo and Io Black. Find it here!

Welcome to another episode of Taff Sceams About Something She Really Loves. Today I’ll be screeching about a comic I recently caught up with; Drugs and Wires.

Let’s start with what it says on the tin:

The year is 1995.

Grunge and alt-rock dominate the airwaves. Floppy disks are still the storage medium of choice. The mainstream media can’t shut up about this amazing new thing called the “Information Superhighway.” And in the shadows of glittering megacities, a loose alliance of cyber-anarchists, techno-pagans, and razorgirls is waging covert war against power-hungry corporations, sinister governments, and injustice and corruption in all of its forms.

This is not their story.

No, this is the story of Dan, pissy misanthrope and recovering VR junkie, now condemned to a dead-end job delivering sketchy packages in a post-Soviet urban hellhole.

This is the story of Lin, a cybernetics installer who treats concepts like “anesthesia” and “disinfectant” as annoying inconveniences, and likes to soundtrack life-altering surgeries with Cannibal Corpse.

About Drugs and Wires

And here’s what I got to say about it:

Drugs and Wires tackles difficult topics and sometimes it comes at you swinging hard. Hard enough to make me pause after I finished a page, two of which have taken up permanent residency in my head. They live there, rent free, and occasionally pop to the surface to give me a Oh Damn moment.

Now, anyone who knows me might now be going But, Taff. You like your fiction light-hearted, what’s up with that? And I’d go: Hold up, you reading my blog? Aw, shucks, thanks. You’re also not wrong. But Drugs and Wires handles these topics (addiction, transhumanism, corporate greed, etc..) with so much grace, I’m having a really hard time coming up with a comparison to it in mainstream media. Plus, the creators pack it full of humour – not only delivered by the story and its characters, but also in tiny details added to each panel. Smush those two together and its like you’re getting a perfectly balanced breakfast served.

A breakfast for the eyeballs and heart.

Speaking of eyeballs.

The art. The art is great. But the artist does this thing where you get animated panels thrown into the mix? They’re perfect?! If I’d worn socks when I came across the first one they’d have come off, but alas, I was reading in bed.

And the world building! You can clearly tell a lot of thought and care went into it and it provides a consistent (but continuously developing) backdrop for the characters. Oh yeah. The characters! Design? 10/10. Personalities? 10/10. Did Taff develop another crush? Yep. Two. One of them is Dan, who has charmed me with how he isn’t perfect, how he struggles, how he tries, and then falls, and then gets up again, and I just want to see him get better and grow and *incoherent flailing*.

So. Yeah. Thank you for coming to another episode of Taff screams.

You should totally read Drugs and Wires. Especially if you like any of the following: Cyberpunk. Floppy Disks. Dark humour. Cute luggage with something resembling an AI. Technology Nostalgia. Dogs (seriously, there’s dogs, I love ’em). Human misery washed down with great pacing to keep you from feeling emotionally exhausted. And great characters that aren’t great heroes.

I do want to note what D&W notes on Who probably shouldn’t read it. Just in case: This comic is not recommended to any reader likely to be offended by unapologetic drug use, body horror, questionable medical practices, existential angst, or unflattering portrayals of Slavic banana republics. In other words, proceed at your own risk.