Today I am very excited to welcome Author Tony Rand Scott, author of "The Chronologies of Gyre Series - The Gregorian Part One: Industrian Revolution." SteamU Professor Rand Scott delights us with a view into his steam driven metropolis where some citizens of Gyre have suddenly been stricken with a virus called mortalism.
Today’s Lecture by SteamU Professor: Tony Rand Scott
Author of: The Chronologies of Gyre Series - The Gregorian Part One: Industrian Revolution
Further Discourses Available:
Office Hours:Tony Rand Scott's Webpage
Today’s Lectures: Spunk and Punk- The World of Gyre
My name is Tony Rand Scott, and my love of Steampunk in all its varied forms and it was not called that then, probably started with an old TV show called Wild, Wild, West. It seemed like a western version of James Bond, with gadgets and such, but obviously due to the time period, did so in a steam tech way.
World of Warcraft
Later my influences came from gaming and Anime. I played a lot of pen and paper RPGs growing up, mostly Dungeons and Dragons and Call of Cthullhu, both which tended to have Steampunk elements to them, at least with a majority of the game masters I played with. Steam technology has always seemed to go hand in hand with fantasy settings, Warhammer and World of Warcaft as two more modern examples, which brings me to my other notable influence. I have always been addicted to Japanese culture, either in games or anime, and both have influence me in a nontraditional way with Steampunk. Dark dystopian cities and worlds of Final Fantasy and even The legend of Zelda series to a degree, part magic and part technology, many times steam technology, are a staple of both mediums and I have loved them since I was young. More recent movies such as Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle have continued this trend.
Though seeming to be the figurehead of the movement, the Victorian age Steampunk has also fascinated me from its integration into cult favorites like Dr. Who, movies like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hellboy, Van Helsing, Sherlock Holmes, Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters. Recent games like Dishonored, the Bioshock series and even aspects of Skyrim show how Steampunk can be mutable and integrated into almost any setting. I especially love how they have almost created their own Steampunk offshoot with the BioShock series. (and in fact I believe I actually saw a mention of a Bio-punk panel at a Con.) All these influences have warped my imagination and created the hodgepodge monstrosity that is my version of Steampunk.
Industrian Revolution, the first book in my series, is a Steampunk novel, though not in the traditional sense. It does contain steam powered robots and machinery, but initially lacks the Victorian trappings that are normally associated with Steampunk. There is an endgame that carries the story to a traditional Steampunk world, where steam powered machines and humans coexist, in a Victorian style setting. The story just has to get there through the progression I have envisioned.
LXG, Nemo's Car
The basic premise of the story is that Gyre, a world that is a giant steam driven metropolis constructed as a vast gear, is the caretaker of all the human worlds. They are programmed to introduce technology to the human worlds, and also to monitor and incrementally advance it in conjunction with the planets evolution, without human contact or revealing their presence.
Eventually, there was a backwash effect that was unexpected, the human influence on the citizens of Gyre. As the Gyrelins began demonstrating an increasingly humanized behavior, which is considered a disease or “virus” and labeled “mortalism”, the governing council created a system to minimize the corruption by restricting it to a small group. They created a figurehead position of rule and regulated the majority of human observation to them, so they could terminate them when the corruption became intolerable. When that didn’t work, they created their own agent, to work outside the authority of their figurehead ruler. This creates the main conflict of the story, a ruler, in this case the Gregorian of the title, and his small retinue who work to contact and interact with the humans, versus a machine government and its psychotic agent, who will stop at nothing to purge mortalism from Gyre, even if it means breaking their own laws and destroying humanity completely.
The plot revolves around the method of termination, or term limits, that the Gyrelin government has instituted, called the Renaisséance. The process of Renaisséance involves destroying the ruler, keeping only his or her databank to review on how they were corrupted by humanity, so they can hopefully prevent it from happening. This is an example where I mixed two words to represent opposing ideas for an action, but also to demonstrate how human ideas and history have affected Gyre. In Gyre, they have no concept of what a renaissance or a séance is, but the word embodies the government’s hope of a rebirth or resurgence of the restrictive values they were created to uphold. It melds it with séance, to represent the reality of their actions, that they have abandoned looking towards the future, and are trapped in the past, reviewing dead robot data cards like Tarot , looking for salvation by fixating on the sins.
One of the themes of the story is a counterpoint to humanity’s ever-increasing obsession with technology, by telling a story about robots that wanted to be more human. Though it is not politically motivated, I have included some elements alluding to issues of sexuality, race, economic issues and other current themes. It didn’t start out that way, there were just some inherent similarities when I was coming up with the lore, history, and society of Gyre that mirrored some present day issues, so I put a few Easter eggs in the writings. Some references are more obvious than others.
I plan on several series of trilogies that in some way will be named for the current ruler, The Gregorian being the current obviously, named for either famous rulers and /or ages to include The Hellenic, Georgian, Edwardian and of course The Victorian. Most of the naming conventions are just to show how little bits of humanity have slipped into the Gyrelin robot mindset, and to add a little familiarity for the readers. They also may be subtle hints at plot lines etc.One of the central characters, modeled from the core Machiavellian principle of the ends justify the means, is the Mechiavellian. He is the principle agent of The Gregorian, and he who interacts with humanity the most. He has his own secrets and motivations that even The Gregorian is unaware of, and this will play out over several books.
All of the worlds featured in the books deal with an overlying theme. Lawless Mesa is the only mentioned world in The Chronologies of Gyre: The Gregorian part one Industrian Revolution, and deals with issues of the environment. Lawless Mesa is a vast desert planet, almost entirely covered with giant mesas. The ancient Lawless Mesan seas were polluted with evolutionary accelerants and seeded with a mass overpopulation of aggressive alien life forms, which proceeded over hundreds of years, to kill one another off. The purpose of this was to turn the seas into visceral cesspools of effluence, then The Gyrelins induced cataclysmic earthquakes to drain the seas into the earth so they could become fossil fuels. Obviously, I took a few liberties with how oil deposits are created, but I needed it to fit into the storyline and theme. Some life survived the cataclysmic earthquakes and the sea, humans and other creatures managed to thrive in secret in subterranean forests. The planet was abandoned for thousands of years until the fossil fuels could develop, with only a small group of Gyrelins left behind as caretakers. The main story arc of lawless Mesa deals with the interactions between the Gyrelin caretakers, their eventual discovery of human civilization and Mechiavellian’s machinations with both sides.
This concludes the quick peek into my imagination, as expressed in my writings. I hope you enjoyed it, and hope you read my series. Thank you.
Tony Rand Scott
Thank you very much to Tony Rand Scott for joining us today! Next week we will feature author Megan Curd who will discuss her latest novel, Steel Lily!