Jon Mollison of the Puppy of the Month Book Club recently conducted an interview with me. His questions span several topics, including works that influenced Nethereal, my future plans for the Soul Cycle of which it is a part, and my upcoming work with Castalia House.
We even geek out more than a little over the finer points of Gen tribal nomenclature.
The Frisky Pagan had a specific question about the "clay tribe", the term the Gen use to describe humans. It is a curious term, with a certain religious significance. Is there is a specific reason you chose it, and why the Gen use it to describe humans, but not themselves [?]
I'm glad TFP raised that question. Back before the Purges, the Gen culture had a strong tribal dynamic that affected everything from an individual's social standing to the professions that were deemed proper for him.
Gen tribes take their names from natural substances that are thought to exemplify a tribe's essence. You'll note that Jaren is identified as having Fire Tribe heritage. Leaders like the king of Avalon descend from the Gold Tribe.
The Gen had a million year or so head start on humans. They'd already mastered agriculture when we first started living in caves. At a loss for how to fit mankind into their social hierarchy, the ancient Gen named us the clay tribe.
So in regard to TFP's second question, assigning humanity a tribe actually is the Gen's way of applying the nomenclature they use for themselves to us. It's a linguistic acknowledgement that both species are related.
Gen and human anthropologists have varying theories for why clay was chosen as the substance that best describes man. Some say it's because humans are more malleable and versatile than the Gen, which is largely true. Others consider it a term of condescension bordering on a racial slur that equates humans with a base material akin to dirt. Both could be right.
In terms of the meta-narrative, I drew from both the Genesis 2 account and Ovid's four ages.That's just a sample of the full interview. Do read the rest here.
And as a bonus, Nathan Housley continues his in-depth analysis of Nethereal. Be forewarned, participation in the PotMBC constitutes tacit agreement to have read the book, so they don't shy away from spoilers.
Chapter 49: Eldrid gives Navkin a white robe with Master Steersman markings as a thank you for tending her wounds. Later, the Gen maiden takes Jaren out on another tour of the Avalonian countryside. Jaren is about to leave Avalon, as the Exodus has been repaired. He asks Eldrid to join him, but she demurs. Jaren instead offers to stay, but is told that he must keep his word.
Over a bottle of wine, Teg confides several misgivings about Jaren and Eldrid, Deim and Elena, and Navkin’s relationship to each couple. After Navkin jokes that it’s a wonder that any Gen are born if Jaren’s single-mindedness is typical of Gen, Eldrid interrupts, telling her that the White Well has been emptied of so much prana that Gen can no longer bear children.
Inside the vault, Jaren asks Elena to channel prana into a vault cube. Elena obliges, and the experience overwhelms Jaren, knocking him unconscious.
Jaren is smitten with Eldrid, or as smitten as a Gen obsessed with avenging his family can be. But while Eldrid has his attention, Navkin and Teg are bonding. Not romantically, but over shared misery and a concern for Elena.
Only Elena can channel raw prana, as befitting the gods and their priests. It's odd that Jaren doesn't follow the logic here. As befitting his laser focus on defeating the Guild, he only sees capabilities, not causes.Once again, thanks to Jon, Nathan, and TFP for lavishing your expert attentions on my humble works.
There's still time to participate in the book club's discussion, as they are currently on chapter 54 out of 66. Nethereal and its Dragon Award-winning sequel Souldancer are available via the Amazon link below.