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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Traffic Valkyrie

People ask where the ideas for the Gods in Chaos Magic came from. I'm always tempted to say a bottle of Ketel One. Truthfully, it's a little more complicated than that.

As a little history on Chaos Magic, a couple years ago, I wrote a story titled Sybaris for Torquere Press' Myths anthology. It was based on an obscure Greek myth. I liked the characters and was exploring the idea of doing a graphic novel following them beyond their first meeting. That never happened because

1) manga scripts are extremely time-consuming to write,

2) I realized I'd have to do tons of research on warfare circa 400 BCE in southern Italy (While Sybaris is a Greek myth, the story takes place in a real location. It was a colony of one of the Greek city-states in what became Italy.), and

3) I hate the detail level it takes to get historicals right, because then the story tends to be about those details and not the plot.

But I loved the characters. So to solve all my manga problems, I thought "What the heck, I'll bring the guys up to contemporary times and write it as a novel." The problem was that I already had it in my head that the guys interacted with their Gods as if the Gods were real people. I mean, back in those days, if you were a professional hero(AKA mercenary soldier), I'm sure that you slipped the Gods a little sacrifice before heading into battle as sort of an insurance policy. Then I was thinking about how many times I've heard people say things like "It looks like I need to make an offering to the computer god." They don't believe in such gods, but they do tend to evoke them. So I started thinking about what kinds of gods would exist in this modern world.

Angelena, the Goddess of Traffic, was the first God that evolved from my musings. That's not surprising, I live in Los Angeles and spend a lot of time in traffic. Just two days ago, due to a huge accident, it took me two and a half hours to drive to work (18 miles) and two hours to get home. Most of us sitting in our cars creeping along were wise enough to adopt a Mañana attitude about the inconvenience, but then there were those other folks.... As an Angeleno, I always think of Those People as Not Being From Here. They're the type who honk their horns, which is the height of rudeness in LA. They're the type that cut off people at merges, or pull into the shoulder and drive 50 yards down the road and cut back into the lane. After watching Those People drive ugly for a couple hours, I was in a smiting mood. Oh to be the Goddess of Traffic for just one hour. Those People better watch out, because if I ever becomeAngelena, I'm going to be a Valkyrie on a hog. Vengeance is mine, sayth the Goddess of Traffic.


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