• Recommended Reads: Prelude to a Change of Mind

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    This week’s Recommended Read comes from Amanda Kimmerly, whose “Lunar-cy” we all enjoyed last week. Today she fills us in on Austin writer Robert Stikmanz’s Hidden Land of Nod series.


    Forget the inventive, quirky technologies of Steampunk.  We’re going back to our barefooted grassroots.  Or, rather, going forward, post-industrialism, where words like “simplify” and “preservation” find a home (next to a lovely organic garden, void of pesticides and chemical processing plants, of course!).  This “home” is located in the mystical universe Habdvarsha, where two types of creatures, Dvarsh and Thrm, fled to from Earth in order to save their species.  Rightly so, this innovative book, Prelude to a Change of Mind, the first novel in Robert Stikmanz’s Hidden Land of Nod series, deserves its own, innovative classification.  Environmentalists, clutch your recycled coffee sleeves as I prepare you for the coinage of a new genre–Future Geardown Fantasy, where, as Stikmanz says, “new paths rise from the shell of the old.”  A flower from soot.  A chance to start fresh.

    Don’t, however, think for one second this hidden land of love is without its dose of problems.  Enter main character Meg Christmas, a *gasp* HUMAN! She awakes to a team of elf-like creatures (Thrm), nursing and nuzzling her after a near-death incident leaves her body gravely ill.  Her father, she discovers, is dead.  And, on top of this, she can’t shake this self-absorbed, part-dvarsh (“and not just any dvarsh, mind you, but a Rigidstick of the Nondifferential clan.  Very prestigious, cadet or not”) and three-eighths human poet Jackanapes Plenty from reciting horrible (read: if Lord Byron and Kerouac collaborated on an anthology) Dvarsh poetry.  Christmas is faced with an earth-sized dilemma: does she abide by these strange creatures’ proposition to help perpetuate their species? Psh.  Read for yourself, beloved WriteByNighters!

    Infused with elaborate detail, coy erotic undertones, and even a language invented by Stikmanz himself, this Science Fiction (excuse me: Geardown Future Fantasy) novel fulfills every curiosity about the world, unlike other Science Fiction books, where I am usually left unsatisfied over an undeveloped character or setting.  Stikmanz not only poses environmental problems, he does something I wish more politicians and activists would do–offers realistic solutions.  In an interview with KOOP-FM, he calls The Hidden Land of Nod series his love song to the world.  The first two, Prelude and Entranscing, are available through his website, or online as an e-book at Smashwords and Blue Moose Press. Forthcoming soon is Sleeper Awakes and a Dvarsh Language Glossary that outlines the entire language inspired by berries, thorns, buds, and leaves.

    Check out his Facebook fan page The Hidden Lands of Nod for updates and a Dvarsh Word of The Day.


    Amanda Kimmerly received her B.A in Journalism from Stephen F. Austin State University, which somehow provided the credentials to copy-edit and market novels for local (crazy, talented, fantastical) Austin author Robert Stikmanz, read fiction submissions for (experimental, whiz-bang, revolutionary!) Fringe Magazine, and on top of this, manage a coffeeshop in South Austin.  At 22 years old, her creative works have appeared in Storychord online literary magazine and Poetry for the Masses art project, as well as journalistic works in East Texas publications, The Daily Sentinel and The Pine Log.  She writes regularly and hopes to publish more soon.  Until then, read her infrequently updated blog, stalk her on Facebook, or check out her more frequently updated writer’s group’s blog, We Put Words on Paper.

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