I have actually got a couple of bits of The Myconet almost ready to go, but I’m keeping them under my pre-write belt so I can post them on the weekend.
In the meantime, and in the absence of any new entries to the aki’Pedia today, I want to introduce you to the Oræl Rides To War series.
The first book of this, aside from the short story anthology I’m putting together, will be the next thing I publish. I won’t tell you much about the series itself, but the first book will incorporate some of my earlier and semi-published works as part of my ongoing project to unify my fiction into the unified urverse we all love spitballing about. You may even recognise the series name, as it is referenced in The Final Fall of Man. Oh yeah, this shit all comes together.
 By which I mean, some bits and pieces have appeared here on the Hatstand, and some other bits and pieces have appeared on even older websites I’ve participated in, but you’re not likely to find them. Wouldn’t be likely to find them, in fact, even if I did tell you which bits and pieces they specifically were. Which I’m not gonna.
So, as a special treat and exclusive sneak, I am going to paste down here the Prologue to Oræl Rides to War, Book One, Part One. The In the Thirty-Ninth Century, great men and women of the human race strode among the stars and trod the jewelled thrones of the universe under their sandal’d feet of the next series, if you will.
It was the crest of the wave, the highest pinnacle, the tipping point. It was the last great golden age of human unity, before which the scattered tribes wandered and warred, and after which the bickering nations turned in earnest to snarling junkyard dogs for the profit of their bet-laying masters. Population, technology, attitudes and historical impetus coincided in a way they never would again. Never could, until another great and terrible slaying swept away the chaff of the world.
Perhaps not even then.
It was still a dark time for many. There were wars, there was injustice … but there was also optimism. The more fortunate human cultures made great advances, learned and shared. And more important than that, they played. It was a time of joy, of games and innocence for the general population of the Earth’s great nations.
The dominant communicating cultures labelled the march of centuries AD, marking the years since a mythical saviour-figure had reshaped the world with a message of peace that they’d been striving to live up to ever since. Anno Domini. The year of our Lord. It might as easily have meant the year of our dominion. The year we ruled the land and the sea and the beasts of the field. A golden age in truth.
The great unions of nation and politics and enterprise, of commerce and cooperation, swept across the face of the Earth. And – for a time – it almost seemed as though the shattered remnants who had survived the Fall of Rome and the rise and fall of the great empires that followed might become a single species, a unified race surpassing the arbitrary boundaries of malleable environment, conquerable geography, laughable cultural legacy. Surpassing, even, the limitations of their own brutal primate physiology and chemistry.
They didn’t, of course. It was the peak of the wave, not the pinnacle of the mountain. Even mountains grind away to dust, but waves … no. The fall, the roar, the churn, these things were inevitable. It was a golden time, but it was a gleaming and tragically brief one. The end was already beginning, and when it came, it would be awful.
The human condition was a boiling, seething ocean of fiery sewage. For a moment something, something that might have been beautiful, clawed its way to the surface and gasped for air and blinked in the light of an unattainable sun. And when it sank once again beneath the noisome skin of the swamp, it would never return. And the toxic formlessness that it left behind would seem all the more shameful for its fleeting presence.
But just for a moment – for a stretch of years, for a decade or two, for a mere blink in the eye of the vast spinning urverse – it looked as though humanity might succeed. It seemed as though the human race was destined to climb to its feet, to stand tall, and turn the crest of that wave into a bright and permanent mountaintop of diamond by sheer strength of will. The same indomitable spirit that had straightened their sloping backs and turned their muddy eyes towards the stars would carry them, bold and noble and glorious, into eternity as a grown-up and enlightened species.
The year was 1990 AD.