WHAT IS THE PROMETHEUS SAGA??
M.J. Carlson introduced me to Ken Pelham and their joint enthusiasm for the writing experiment they wanted to try made me really interested in the project. They were proposing the collaboration of, ultimately, thirteen accomplished and award-winning writers in a fiction writing and marketing plan to be called The Alvarium Experiment. The first project, the Prometheus Saga, would involve each of us writing science fiction stories of 5-10,000 words. Each story would in some way include an alien probe named Prometheus, who has been sent to observe the human race from its beginnings to current day. The very thoughtful and thorough details of both the Prometheus character specifications and business plan that Ken and Charles Cornell had drawn up inspired me to jump up and down yelling, “I’m in, if you’ll have me! Pick me!”
One of the challenges of writing a Prometheus Saga story is that you are writing into an existing framework with a character that has set boundaries. I love a structure challenge when writing story. The Prometheus specs gave me just one character out of my control, which provides just enough boundaries to make writing the story a puzzle challenge. How do I fit this particular character with these particular traits into a story completely my own? I also chose to write within the historical boundaries of a real life mystery because I’m a structure masochist that way. The benefit of having such boundaries is that it allows the time you would’ve spent world-building to be spent instead on strengthening the smaller details of your story through research and craft and concentrate on putting your reader right there in the story.
In this case, Prometheus inspired me to try a version of the Roanoke story I’ve been wanting to write for years. Like many Americans, I’ve been completed fascinated by the mystery of the lost colony since I learned about it in history class. I wrote a novel-length fanfic for the show ‘Bones’ several years ago that revolved around the possession of Virginia Dare’s remains. My research taught me a lot about the Lumbee tribe in North Carolina. I had intended to write about Virginia Dare as a character for the Prometheus story, placing her among the ancestors of the Lumbee, but then I found Manteo and couldn’t resist writing the historical realty of Roanoke in the framework of the Prometheus project.
In Prometheus, I had a great ‘outsider’ viewpoint to exploit to give a wider perspective than I might have otherwise managed. It also let me share the historical events while being respective of the real people involved and the fact that we don’t really know their personal motivations for their actions. I let Prometheus become the scope through which we view the events. I also wanted a more visceral point of view. The real person I chose for that second viewpoint became Manteo once I discovered he was one of two people who were present for the entire history of the colonization of Roanoke, involved in all the major events that led to its demise, and that he had no voice in the historical record. I also liked that as a Native American he knew both sides of the occupation, since he also took the initiative to learn English, travel to London, and learn about the English vision for America. It seemed to me that Prometheus would be drawn to observe such a man.
The process for this story was quite a bit different from my current process, but very similar to writing fanfic, which I did quite a bit of when I was sharpening my writing skills after a long hiatus (and still do on occasion!). My personal life at the time of writing this story was very difficult and harkened back to the years of writing in fifteen minute bursts when my kids were little. It was nice to have the set framework, which freed me up to write the details.
Go HERE for links to all the Prometheus Saga stories and HERE for author info.
The Saga spans the range of the existence of Homo sapiens. The stories do not need to be read in any particular order; each story is an entry point into the overall story.
The Prometheus Saga stories & authors are:
“The Pisces Affair” by Daco Auffenorde. CIA operative Jordan Jakes meets Prometheus when the Secretary of State becomes the target of a terrorist attack at a head-of-state dinner in Dubai. Visit Daco at www.authordaco.com.
“On Both Sides” by Bria Burton. When a mysterious woman vanishes during the American Revolution, young Robby Freeman searches for answers from a cryptic sharpshooter who deserted Washington’s Continental Army. Visit Bria at www.briaburton.com.
“Ever After” by M.J. Carlson. Two mysterious women convey the same Cinderella story to Giambattista Basile in 1594 and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1811. How different cultures retell this story reveals humanity’s soul to those who listen. Visit M.J. at www.mjcarlson.com.
“The Blurred Man” by Bard Constantine. FBI agent Dylan Plumm's investigation of a mill explosion puts her on the trail of the Blurred Man, a mysterious individual who may have been on Earth for centuries. The case turns deadlier at every turn, placing Dylan in the crosshairs of shadowy antagonists even as she unravels a centuries-old mystery. Visit Bard at www.bardwritesbooks.com
“Crystal Night” by Charles A. Cornell. Berlin, 1938. On the eve of one of history’s darkest moments, a Swedish bartender working in Nazi Germany accidentally uncovers a woman’s hidden past. Can he avoid becoming an accomplice as the Holocaust accelerates? Visit Charles at www.charlesacornell.com.
“Marathon” by Doug Dandridge. Prometheus, posing as a citizen of Athens, participates in the battle of Marathon alongside the playwright Aeschylus. Visit Doug at www.dougdandridge.net.
“The Strange Case of Lord Byron’s Lover” by Parker Francis. Writing in her journal, Mary Shelley recounts a series of perplexing events during her visit with Lord Byron—a visit that resulted in the creation of her famous Frankenstein novel, but also uncovered a remarkable mystery. Visit Parker at www.parkerfrancis.com.
“Strangers on a Plane” by Kay Kendall. In 1969 during a flight across North America, a young mother traveling with her infant meets an elderly woman who displays unusual powers. But when a catastrophe threatens, are those powers strong enough to avert disaster? This short story folds into Kay’s mystery series featuring the young woman, amateur sleuth Austin Starr. Visit Kay at www.kaykendallauthor.com.
“East of the Sun” by Jade Kerrion. Through a mysterious map depicting far-flung lands, a Chinese sailor in 1424 and a Portuguese cartographer in 1519 share a vision of an Earth far greater than the reality they know. Visit Jade at www.jadekerrion.com.
“Manteo” by Elle Andrews Patt. In 1587, Croatan native Manteo returns from London to Roanoke Island, Virginia. Can he reconcile his strong loyalty to the untamed land and people of his home with his desire for the benefits the colonizing English bring with them before one of them destroys the other? Visit Elle at www.elleandrewspatt.com.
“First World War” by Ken Pelham. 40,000 BC: As the last remaining species of hominid, Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis, fight a desperate battle for ownership of the future, the outcasts of both sides find themselves caught in middle. Visit Ken at www.kenpelham.com.
“Lilith” by Antonio Simon, Jr. In this retelling of the Adam & Eve story, a hermit’s life is turned upside-down by the arrival of a mysterious woman in his camp. As the story of their portentous meeting carries forward through the millennia, only time will tell if Lilith is a heroine, a victim, or a monster. Visit Antonio at www.DarkwaterSyndicate.com.
“Fifteen Dollars’ Guilt” by Antonio Simon, Jr. 1881: After a close brush with death in a steamship disaster, Prometheus encounters another survivor who gripes about how aimless his life has become. Prometheus helps him find his calling, inadvertently setting in motion the assassination of President Garfield. Visit Antonio at www.DarkwaterSyndicate.com.