The Unholy Consult

by rsbakker



The cover is out as those of you who frequent Wertzone already know. The Unholy Consult, the penultimate book of The Aspect-Emperor, is set to be released this July, ending a story arc that has been my obsession for some thirty years now. I’m far from done with the Three Seas, of course: The Second Apocalypse possesses one final chapter. But this arc was the animating vision, the feverish sequence of glimpses I used to paint the whole.

The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog has it listed among their top twenty ‘can’t wait to read’ 2017 releases, but I find myself growing… not so much reluctant as coy, I think—you know that wariness you get when encountering circumstances you should know, but don’t for some reason. Ever since the catalogue with the cover arrived in the mail everything has felt marginally displaced, troubled by a mismatch between shadows and sources of light. It’ll be strange, for instance, being able to talk candidly about the story. What if I decide I want to remain entombed?

It would be nice if The Unholy Consult pushed the popularity of the series over some kind of threshold, but the entire project has been a slow fuse, so I’m not going to hold my breath. The Great Ordeal made the Fantasy Hotlist’s top ten of 2016, but I’ve found that the reviews take longer to trickle in the deeper I get into the series. Epic Fantasy has become an astonishingly crowded subgenre, blessing these crazy books, I hope, with the distinction belonging to landmarks, even while increasing the number of attractions in between. My guess is that it’ll take time.

By coincidence, I just sent out the final proofs “On Alien Philosophy” to The Journal of Consciousness Studies, so in sense this summer will see my two great artistic and theoretical aspirations simultaneously fulfilled. Cosmos and History, meanwhile, just accepted “From Scripture to Fantasy,” my critique of Continental philosophy a la Adrian Johnston, so you can even throw a little revenge fantasy into the mix! If I were in my early twenties, I would worry that I was developing schizophrenia, so many threads are twining together. Add Trump’s election to the mix, and the fear has to be that I’m actually a character in a L. Ron Hubbard novel…

Not Phillip K. Dick.