James Alan Gardner

Sections

Main Page  
News  
Appearances  
Books  
Writing Advice  
Bibliography  
Rambling Thoughts  
Miscellaneous  

Fire and Dust Sequels

Of course I wrote Fire and Dust with possible sequels in mind (although I hope the book stands on its own as a complete adventure anyway). The rest of this page gives a brief sketch of what the entire series would have looked like.

Note: I'm afraid the ideas are mostly vague because I like to make things up as I go along. In particular, I don't have answers to a number of questions raised in the first book. Sorry.

By the way, this material contains a few spoilers related to Fire and Dust. You may not want to read this if you haven't read the book.

Structure

The series would have four books, with the following tentative titles:

  • Fire and Dust
  • Water and Light
  • Air and Ooze
  • Earth and Ash

Just as Fire and Dust had a lot of fire imagery, the other novels would have water, air, and earth imagery (beginning with Britlin, Hezekiah and Miriam passing through the portal from the Glass Spider to Mount Celestia and plunging into Mount Celestia's holy water ocean).

The three unwritten novels would also feature extended sequences in the inner planes mentioned in the titles: Radiance, Ooze, and Ash. In each book, the villain would have a stronghold in the relevant plane which Britlin and company would eventually have to confront.

As for the villains...in Fire and Dust Rivi mentions that she has two sisters: one who was trained in sorcery and one who was trained in clerical magic. What Rivi doesn't mention is that she performed psychic surgery on the sisters, making them both as nasty as Rivi herself.

In fact, the three sisters have been working on a master plan to mount an assault on Sigil. Rivi may be gone, but the other two are still out there: a high-powered sorceress and a high-powered cleric, madly conspiring to grab Sigil for themselves.

In Water and Light, Britlin and company would stumble straight into the cleric sister's schemes. She was a priestess of a Good deity before Rivi brainwashed her, and she has extensive knowledge of Mount Celestia... including places where a now-evil cleric can hide. She kept in touch with Rivi by shuttling back and forth through the portal in the Glass Spider, so she's very close by when our heroes show up.

Air and Ooze would move on to the sorceress sister (who specializes in wind sorcery and other airy stuff). Britlin goes after her because he knows she's probably been corrupted by Rivi; if Rivi brainwashed one sister, she probably whazzed the other one too. Reluctantly, he would find Rivi's home plane and follow a trail of clues to seek out the sorceress.

Earth and Ash would finish the series by bringing back all three sisters once more. Giroux (the ferryman humiliated by Britlin in Fire and Dust) has found Rivi and company as petitioners in the Lower Planes and has restored them to their old despicable selves by fetching their memories back from various depositories in the Astral plane. All three come gunning for Britlin and company, partly for revenge and partly because our heroes have been acquiring a useful set of artifacts that the sisters can use against Sigil.

Loose Ends

Since I mostly make things up as I go along, I have very few definitive answers to many questions readers might have. This means that I have a few idle ideas, but if I ever were to write the novels, the answers would probably change.

For example...is Yasmin actually Britlin's sister (or rather half-sister)? Well, here's a thought off the top of my head. Unbeknownst to Britlin or anyone else, his father was actually one of a pair of identical twins. (This helps explain how Niles Cavendish could do so many heroic things: there were actually two of him.)

Niles disappeared in the middle of the night when his brother came to him, telling him about some urgent matter that needed both their attention. Niles and his brother have been involved in this urgent matter ever since. Britlin is the son of one of the brothers, while Yasmin is the daughter of the other. Therefore, Britlin and Yasmin are cousins, but not brother and sister.

By the way, Niles' brother is named Toby. Yes, he's the infamous Uncle Toby, which means that Niles himself is Hezekiah's father, and Britlin is Hezekiah's half-brother. Why not? I never have to write the last three books, so I can invent as many wild coincidences as I want.

Why I Am Not Writing the Last Three Books

Much as it was fun to write Fire and Dust, it took me about nine months to do it...nine months when I wasn't writing other things. Furthermore, the number of people who've read the book on the web is nowhere near the number of people who've read any of my hard-copy novels (published by Eos).

I'm afraid I'm not ready to give another two years or more to produce further novels that will only be read by a handful of people. I can have just as much fun writing other things, and those other things actually bring in money.

Still, I'm happy that readers have liked Fire and Dust and I don't regret writing it. It taught me a lot about writing novel-length fiction, and I still get a kick out of some of the schticks in it (like the Portal of Flies, and the giant who's used as a Molotov cocktail). I also loved writing the action scenes, and wish I could do more slam-bang in more "serious" novels. Maybe some day a Fire and Dust movie? Well, I can always dream.

Copyright © 2016, James Alan Gardner