I love contests.
Recently I entered a contest at We Fancy Books and won a fantastic prize - three episodes of a continuing graphic fiction series called The Wish and the Will, by Chaz Wood.
To read this series is like opening a door into a lively, bawdy, frightening, beautiful world. The sinister and eccentric Daemonlords, led by the insane Jester King Paimon, rule the inhabitants with ever-increasing firmness. The great City Clock stands still at one stroke before midnight, and the whispers on the street are that soon the Clock shall strike - to signify an event of world-shaking proportions.
When down-on-his-luck gambler Jeth Sundancer reluctantly agrees to perpetrate the 'biggest-ever bank job', the brainchild of the appealing but mysterious Claudia, he soon wishes he had stayed among the anonymous outcasts in Middengarth's City Warrens...
Wood has built a complete universe of characters and plot, but there is far more than that.
He has created an entire system of time, a magical government, a Blimey Almanac (which is quoted throughout the episodes) as well as lovely illustrations throughout of the large cast of characters in the series.
The title is explained here, in the Blimey Almanac:
“Once upon a time, there was magic in the world, and legends and fairy stories were all true. Two great and opposing forces of nature, called the Wish and the Will, battled with each other for untold aeons. And in so doing they created a third and neutral power, which became known as the Fury, and the whole fabric of the world and the universe changed.
But you ain't got no need to know any of that. What you do need to know, me old pal, is that you're now in the City o' Middengarth. Or Old Mid as it is referred to inside this sprawling metropoliwhatsit thing of ours. And if you want any chance of keepin' yourself alive from this ticky-tock o' the clock onwards, and not getting up the noses of their Daemonic Majesties who rule us all, then you'll read everything what I have to tell you, okay?”
- from the preface to the 57th edition of 'Arry the Vagabond's “Blimey Almanack: a Personal Companion to the Streets, Gutters, Public Latrines, etc. etc. of the City of Old Mid."
Look at some of the characters from Episode 3:
Mr. Jeth Sundancer, An unfortunate gambling man
Engineer Loxxibana Flauccivana, A riverboat engineer
Mr. Nunsuch Pryde, A gambling man's gambling man
Dan, a Lavatory Maintenance Engineer
Smike the Boss, A Grotmonger Captain
Chaz is also the author of Maranatha, part of the Trinity Chronicles. That book, along with its prequel, Venus in Saturn, explore the possibility of finding the actual DNA of Jesus. In order to publish those books, Wolf founded FenrisWulf Books in 2008, a publishing site with several contributors. One is Frang McHardy, the author of 'The Sword of Lochglen', a weird historical Scottish fantasy.
I wanted to showcase how well the world in the WatW has been developed by quoting the system of time in the book:
The following ready reckoners ought to be memorized to prevent embarrassing lateness at social functions, or unexpected termination of employment:
Season = equivalent to a year
Tithe = equivalent to a month
Click = equivalent to a day
Tick = equivalent to an hour, hence Half-tick = half an hour, quarter-tick = quarter hour, &c.
Tock = equivalent to a minute
Hick = equivalent to a second
Titch = a moment, or otherwise, any very short period of time
Got that? Of course you have. Some few have dared to suggest that the nomenclature of Middengarth's time periods has been designed to be as confusing as possible. Such individuals are clearly of very low natural intelligence ...