Reddit AMA Today!

Friends and neighbors: do you have some question you desperately want answered about me, my books, or the universe in general?  Swing by Reddit today and ask me anything!

How it works:  Click here.  Then type a question in the box and hit ‘save.’  (If you don’t have a Reddit account, you may be prompted to create one.  It’s not a difficult process, and they require no personal information, so hah.)  The rest of the madness will take care of itself!


3 Responses to “Reddit AMA Today!”

  1. Chia

    Hello Max,

    Since Reddit comments are closed, I hope don’t mind that I have posted questions and comment here.

    1. Did you use Inca civilization as your model for Dresediel Lex? I wonder because the Quecha are a people who live in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Argentina and that the language they speak is Quecha, which was also the language of the Incan Empire.

    2. Does or can the Red King represent Pizarro and/or the Spanish Empire? I ask because the way the way you have described the Red King as a destroyer of gods,(“broke Qet Sea-Lord on his own altar”), reminds me of how the the Spanish destroyed the gods and cultures of Mesoamerica. Does colonialism exist at the intersection of your critiques of power, business and economics and their impact on the environment?

    I am disappointed by the cover. Tara Abernathy, she was imagined perfectly. Caleb, as the son of what I think of as an Quecha or Inca Priest King, his cover image is all wrong. Where is Caleb’s broad nose? He should look like the younger guy in the foreground with the broader nose of the older man in the background of this photo.

    One last question: is there any talk of a film adaption? I would love to see Tara Abernathy imagined on screen.

    So far, I am really digging Three Serpents Rise. Thanks for writing.

    • max

      1. The Quechal culture in the books draws more from Mayan and Aztec sources than from Incan. Because I focused my research on Mesoamerican cultures, I encountered the Quechua language group and peoples relatively late in the drafting process. After some thought, I decided that spelling, mythology, history, culture, and geography were different enough between the Quechal and the Quechua that it wouldn’t confuse people. I’m still not sure I was right—as your comment indicates, the names are very close, perhaps too close for comfort! I do find pre-Pizarro Andes culture fascinating, and I hope to use it as a more direct source for future Craft Sequence novels.

      2. That’s a very interesting parallel to draw. Not one that was topmost on my mind, but that doesn’t make it invalid. Dresediel Lex’s colonial situation is interesting due to the shape the God Wars took locally. The King in Red, himself Quechal, believed he was leading a revolution to free his people from tyrant gods and their crony priests. However, the world-system that’s taken shape in DL as a result of their victory is basically the hegemonic world-system of the Craft, which has a kind of through-the-looking-glass neoliberal feel to it, and, as Mal points out, is much friendlier to powerful interests outside the city/state than it is to powerless interests inside it. (Not that the old priests were particularly kind to powerless interests inside their own borders either!) The King in Red, as an individual, has accepted the hegemonic values of the Craft—its subject-object vision of human relationship to nature, its emphasis on individual freedoms, etc.—and put them into practice. To the True Quechal, this makes the KiR worse than a traitor—he’s replaced the world-system of his birth with a foreign one, yet claims at the same time that his actions (based on these new foreign values) are in the name of, and for the good of, the Quechal people. To them, he’s not Pizarro—he’s the local who helped Pizarro for selfish reasons. Neither the KiR or the True Quechal is ‘good’ per se: the old system was crazy; the new system is crazy in a different way. (Shades here of the—much more complex—relationship between Maoism and Chinese traditional culture.) Short answer: colonialism grows central to the Craftworld critique as I learn more, and write more—Two Serpents Rise deals with the colonization of the mind, and future books will deal more with direct colonial power, and the threat of it.

      3. I love the cover painting as a painting, and I think it’s evocative of the world and of the book’s themes and spirit, but you’re right. Tara was great; Caleb looks too Anglo. In the past my engagement with the cover process has been very limited, and by contract I have no control or veto authority over covers, for good reasons—many authors including yours truly suck at visual design, and sometimes go to war over bad design ideas. I sent Tor a description of Caleb with reference photos. The cover artist’s model ended up being from the right geographical region, but he wasn’t of the right ethnicity. When I finally saw the cover, I pushed back; my publisher understood my concerns, and we were able to make a few changes, but it was too late for full repainting, which can take weeks or months.

      As a result of that process, the folks at Tor (who were stand-up and understanding the whole way through) have worked to include me more in cover design for the next book. The artist, and Tor, and I all want the covers to be close to the characters in the text, and I’m glad we’re working together to make that happen.

      4. I’d love for there to be a film adaption! We’ve had a few nibbles—rights queries basically—on Two Serpents Rise and Three Parts Dead, but really it’s up to Hollywood. The more excitement and support people show for the books, though, the more likely it is to happen!

      Thank you for reading, and I’m sorry if these answers went on for too long! Ask a novelist and you get what you get. ☺

      • Chia

        I am both pleased and surprised by your detailed answer, which has enriched my understanding of “Three Serpents Rise.” I read for enlightenment and enrichment, not just for entertainment; I cherish books that further my understanding of the world. For example, I randomly chose “Mauprat,” from a library shelf and that led to a study of French Romanticism. I have read all of the works of George Sand as well as biographies about her. Amongst the most cherished books in my library are “Flaubert-Sand: The Correspondence” and “The Intimate Journal of George Sand.” Reading Toni Morrison led me to Faulkner, the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement. Reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez led to the discovery of Latin American writers and poets. Octavio Paz (favorite poet), his writings led to a trip to Mexico and an interest in pre-Columbian civilizations. “Three Serpents Rise” has become a part of that continuum.

        Your explanation of the backstory of “Three Serpents Rise,” has inspired me to continue my study of pre-Columbian civilizations. When I finish your novel, I will read “1491” by Charles C. Mann (2nd edition). And then I will turn to “The True History of Chocolate,” by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe, which is about the pre-Spanish history of chocolate. I’m only on chapter 13 in TSR, so I don’t know if chocolate is mentioned (or even if you thought it necessary), but it was very important to the Maya who used it in medicine, (which Caleb could use now). The Maya taught the Spanish about chocolate.

        So, The King in Red is to the Quechal what La Malinche is to modern day Mexicans: he’s a malinchista. I sympathize even more with Temoc as a freedom fighter.

        If it’s not too much trouble, I would like to know what you read during your research. I’d like to increase my understanding of neoliberalism as well.

        If there is a film adaptation, please, if you can, do not allow the Anglicization of your characters and their worlds. We’ve had enough, “colonization of the mind.”



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