Greetings ALL Fanatical Palamarans!
Forward/Afterward – the most boring part of the book as this is the author’s thoughts.
While I was growing up in Upper Montclair New Jersey, my dear friend Marc Elfenbein had a huge mansion on Upper Mountain Avenue with a large swimming pool and many bedrooms. Whenever I visited Marc’s home, I half expected to find a magical wardrobe somewhere around that would transport me to Narnia. Actually, it was the bathroom by the front door that always fascinated me. This bathroom had several mirrors positioned around the sink. When you looked to either your left or right, you would see hundreds of other images of yourself looking in all directions. After awhile and many visits to that bathroom, I began to imagine all of those “me’s” living in parallel dimensional realities. Once when I was in my late teens (maybe even early twenties), I was embarrassed when Marc’s mother heard me through the bathroom door saying to my mirror images “Ok guys! Let’s go out and do good deeds! Break!” as any huddled football team would do before executing their next play. After my embarrassing explanation, Marc’s Mom Joyce Elfenbein laughed and suggested I try focusing on the real world for awhile.
Most of my life I have been a fantasy junkie. My life has been enriched with Logan’s Run, Star Trek, Star Wars, LOTR, Narnia, Marvel Comics, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Dragonlance, Harry Potter, Babylon 5, the Firefly TV series and many other magical fantasy tales. Like everyone else with imagination and sophistication, I waited in line until midnight at my local Borders or Barnes and Noble book stores to get the latest Harry Potter book and I still play AD&D whenever I can find suitable players to join me. I have attended many Gen Cons and Star Trek conventions and had the pleasure of meeting Isaac Asimov several times in New York City with my grandfather. Mr. Asimov even graciously signed all of my copies of his Foundation books for me and many of my friends. Robert Asprin and Lynn Abbey’s Thieves World books and Frank Herbert’s Dune sagas are also favorites and definitely are required reading for most truly (or should be) committed fantasy junkies. I even once met both Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman at the 2002 Gen Con (any faithful fantasy junkie already knows what both Gen Con and Origins are. Comic-Cons are OK too) and enjoyed visiting briefly with them.
In 2004 I was in Louisville Kentucky beginning a teaching career. I started writing a story and found myself suddenly finished with a prologue and a chapter one. There are literally thousands of fantasy swords and sorcery books available and I suppose every aspiring writer in the genre wants to become the next JK Rowling. So for two years I was adding a scene here or there until I had three rough draft chapters. In 2006 I almost gave up on the entire project until my friend Max Massey asked if he could read it. At first, I thought he was just being polite but he did actually read what I had written and encouraged me to continue with it. I have since lost contact with Max but I wish to thank him here. When I heard that thousands of Chinese writers had rewritten JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books and were claiming authorship, I copyrighted my prologue and first three chapters in rough draft form just as a precaution and filed everything away on my computer.
My goal was not to write a children’s story but something that I would enjoy reading myself and for all ages. JRR Tolkien’s (pronounced correctly Tolkeen – yes I am a LOTR fan – rhymes with boater) masterworks with The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are pioneering, powerful and continually provide me endless entertainment and inspiration over most of my waking life. Yet his LOTR stories are so sterile and sexless. Yes, Aragorn and Arwen have one son and several daughters and Sam Gamgee has thirteen children with Rose Cotton but most of this is barely mentioned in the appendices that not everyone sadly even bothers to read. Tolkien has most of his characters motivated by power lust with possessing magic rings or wanting to protect their homes and families from enemy swords. But what about money, sex, social climbing, and revenge for character motivations? If I were a wizard and could cast real spells then would I not want to bedazzle some supermodels, magically acquire plenty of gold and create my own kingdom? To me this is a no-brainer.
One of my favorite book series of all time was Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone saga and his Eternal Champion tales. Here is where I most clearly encountered the concept of the multiverse and the parallel dimension Star Trek “Mirror” episodes helped too. In one of my graduate school programs, I also read repeatedly about one of my favorite American philosophers, William James, who first coined the word “multiverse” in two of his 1895 essays ‘Is Life Worth Living?’ and ‘The Will to Believe.’ It occurred to me that every time I was reading a book, watching a TV program, or enjoying a movie in a theater, my mind might be travelling to another dimensional plane in the multiverse where everything I was experiencing was ‘temporarily real,’ for me.
Yes – I know that in our common reality we have not invented affordable lightsabers yet nor have we discovered how to cast spells even for reliably effective aphrodisiacs. Sometimes, though, I have to escape from our reality so I can relax and have some magical or sci-fi fun. Laurel Hamilton and Kim Harrison are more current authors I have been reading lately. Who cares what I think or why? What matters is that in 2010, after four years of hiatus, I began writing again slowly. With so much going on around me, I think I stopped after Tanaka’s assassination attempt on Christina’s life for a year or so. In 2012, I moved to Illinois, began writing again and created a Facebook Group called “Palamaran Books and Adventures.” I even started Dungeon Mastering a 1st Edition AD&D game again with just a few modifications. Later I was told that my activities were a part of the great OSR Old School Revival for fantasy role-playing games supposedly sweeping the nation! God bless the United States of America!
When two of my faithful AD&D players, Arthur and Laura Thompson, heard I was writing a story about my AD&D campaign world, they both read what I had done so far. Arthur said he liked it but Laura devoured it and ordered me to finish the story. Laura is an amazingly clear headed and down-to-earth country lady who was definitely not previously a fantasy junkie (though I most certainly witnessed her turning into one). Yet Laura jumped into Palamar with me and my friends and began discussing every scrap of writing I had and offered to proofread my entire project. With Laura’s indefatigable assistance, encouragement and editing talents, I began finally writing in earnest and finished an entire rough draft by December 2013.
By February 2014, another amazing lady, my publisher Patti Hulstrand, gave me the idea of slicing my large book in half for easier publication and marketability. I also began adding an appendix for each book, timeline, maps and even a Palamaran Creation Myth since JRR Tolkien proved that you have to have these things to increase every reader’s fun. If even Laura Thompson loved and enjoyed my writing then maybe other non fantasy junkies might be infected and hooked…opps…I meant initiated, into my favorite fantasy genres.
The Gamemasters University I had created in 2004 as a focal point to unify my spellcasters with a common mission. The GMU mission is – To search and explore all known parallel dimensional planes in the multiverse for new and exciting games to play and then record those games for posterity. The possibilities for developing and enhancing both magic lore and technology through GMU could be pulled into almost any story I could write and allow me to have more fun writing. Maybe these Wizards, who I am convinced live amongst us in secret here in our common reality, will one day reveal themselves and teach us how to explore other realities and dimensions?
If I really could travel to other dimensions within the multiverse, I would most likely misuse and abuse this ability. Maybe I would settle in a dimension where the people would accept me as their sovereign God Emperor where every young and attractive lady would have to obey my nefarious bidding to earn salvation in the afterlife? Am I the one living in a fantasy world? After he severely burns his foot while stamping out a magical fire and saving his friends from a seductive enchantment, Puddleglum the Marshwiggle in C.S. Lewis’s book The Silver Chair, makes a very inspiring statement of faith in what he believes to be real whether it is truly real or not. I believe in God anyway even if I have no reason to. This is what faith is for. I would rather believe in Jesus Christ and after death find out that I am wrong then not ever truly believing in anything. I may wonder about many of my own beliefs but wondering is not the same as doubting.
There is one concept that I believe is truly the height of evil, stupidity, destructiveness and bloodshed and that concept is racism in all of its forms. Anyone who openly practices any form of racism never profits from such actions and I have attempted to illustrate here how ridiculous and empty racism is. Bringing many disparate fantasy races together for mutual profit is a wonderful plot line which I intend to explore here and in future books. Racism is wrong and varieties of multicultural awareness always benefit everyone.
These Palamaran books and Adventures are NOT intended as religious or allegorical tomes. They are intended to reveal amusing stories from the Palamaran prime material plane that is somewhere out in the multiverse where I, as the Dungeon Master, am God. I believe everyone should enjoy and appreciate a fun story once in awhile. Thank you for reading my books and I hope you enjoy them.
Look for the continuing saga of the Medford Family Chronicles with upcoming sequels. The next book is entitled – Capricious Deities: The Medford Family Chronicles. There are a total of five books planned so far and I will continue writing until I die (which I hope is a very long time and many books away).