QSFer Amy Allen has a new queer urban fantasy book out:
In a world not too different from our own, where the things we consider fantasy are an everyday reality, a new goddess has just been born. There haven’t been new gods in nearly two centuries. Lacuna must work together with vlogger Khath and gamer Snap to get across the country, gather followers, and meet with the gods. If she succeeds, she will be officially divine. If she fails, they will consume her, and the world will go back to the way it was.
Urd is not a land of fantasy. It was not created by the gods – we know, we have asked them. Once upon a time there was nothing, and then some sort of super-cosmic event blew out all the matter contained within across the universe. Four billion years ago, our planet of Urd came into being from all the detritus, something from nothing. Slowly, our hunk of dirt gained life and light, and eventually the sentient races we know today emerged and evolved. Across land, sea, and sky they made their homes. Over hundreds of millennia they developed, discovering magic and technology – the two arms of progress. Thought to be combating forces that could never coexist, it wasn’t until roughly 200 years ago the inventors and the mages finally removed their heads from their asses and worked in tandem.
We defined and codified our world in record time. Where once we only had codices and tomes, we now had theorems and proofs. We used science to explore magic at the molecular level. We used magic to push scientific discovery beyond its imagined limits. We created efficient modes of transportation that didn’t require inefficient transportation magic. We could explore and discover – lands we had never mapped before, the depths of the ocean, and eventually even up to the heavens and beyond. Not even the void outside our atmosphere was beyond our reach any longer. Finally, we mapped ourselves into assurance. Urd existed amid a cloud of other planets, all orbiting the star Sol, and companioned by its own satellite Luna. Scrying probes showed us that our galaxy, the Spiral, was but one among many others, more planets that likely held other sentient races trying to reach us as we tried to reach them.
But progress is not made in a slow, steady line. It leaps and bounds and crawls and backpedals. Things are never inherently wonderful at the ground level. Witches running honest private businesses are being pushed out by corporate giants – occasionally quite literally. The various races have learned to live together, but not in peace. Orcs are expected to be strong and terse. Elves should be beings of grace and intellect. A gnome that doesn’t devote their life to science is a traitor to their kind.
Still, a new age has dawned, another generation has found their footing. The only constancy is change.
* * *
In the middle of the ocean is an island.
In the middle of the island is a mansion, the home of the gods.
In that mansion are many rooms. Del’s Solarium. Nox’s Workshop. Urd’s Oasis. Rav’s Armory.
And, of course, the Library of Pik.
It was several millennia ago that Pik chose for themself the form of a large humanoid corvid, during the First Grand Merging. One of the many trickster gods prayed into existence through a society of aarakocra, and Pik found it a most pleasing form. A noble bill, sleek black feathers, powerful talons, they were able to represent both their intelligence and their puckishness. Though in recent centuries they tended more toward the serious side.
They sat at their ornate desk slowly making their way through a tome when a nearby sheet of yellowed parchment began to glow. With practiced patience, Pik marked their place in the book and set it aside, then reached for the parchment. They traced their hand across it, as small glyphs appeared and disappeared in a pattern few could discern, and fewer could make any use of. But Pik could understand them perfectly, and the information contained within was… troubling to say the least.
Pik did not often make noises of alarm, nor did they overreact, ever. But if anyone had been present, they would have been disturbed to hear them simply utter a soft, “Hm. Oh dear. I had better call a Family meeting…”
Amy Allen is a trans woman from the east coast of the United States. Prior to making her attempt at being an author, she earned a bachelor’s degree in drama and psychology, and a master’s in theology. She is particularly fascinated with issues of sexuality, gender, religion, and positivity, and explores them throughout her books.