O is for—Opera
There's a reason I keep on calling the Hexslinger series my “blood-soaked black magic gay porno horse opera” (or various recombinations thereof), aside from the fact that it obviously amuses the crap out of me. And essentially, that reason goes right back to my formative years, when I would tell people I liked horror and people would wrinkle their noses and ask: “Uh...why?” The implication always being that horror is (to any reasoning human being) a disgusting, exploitative genre which aims to make entertainment out of our most intimate and dreadful fears—it's sexist by nature because of fetishizing female victimhood, often -ist of multiple other stripes through exoticization-of-evil tropes, heterosexist and heteronormative, nihilistically bleak, etc. Also just plain gross, with all those bodily fluids. What kind of a person are you, tiny Gemma?
Answer: I'm the kind of person who likes opera, lit and fig. I don't see these things as icky or wrenching. They uplift me in a literally awful way. I don't know why, but each succeeding clusterfuck is like yet another aria, black and red and purple all over. It's glorious. Expect more of the same.
P is for—Pinkerton
Oh Allan Pinkerton, you probably weren't a good guy, exactly, but you sure weren't as bad as I've spent three books making you out to be. That being said, I think the way Pinkerton's degenerated by the beginning of A Tree of Bones is set in stark, fairly intentional parallel with Ixchel's degeneration on the other side of the War on Hex: He's the same sort of villain, the same sort of monster, the same sort of addict, but he thinks he's different, because he's using science rather than superstition to tap into that massive field of what one can only assume is a natural force, hexation. But just like her, he's sacrificing other people right and left to his “cause”; just like her, what he really wants at base is to usher in a bold new era of parasitism and slavery. And half my people have to work with/for him!
Then again, lurking in the background, we do have those two agents who've broken from the fold and are now working against Pinkerton, Frank Geyer (first introduced in A Rope of Thorns) and George Thiel, who we've heard of but not from, thus far. Like Pinkerton, both are actual historical characters who I seized on and bent to my own ends; Thiel, for example, is mainly known as the guy who split off to form his own detective agency, but didn't manage to eclipse Pinkerton's original brand. The great part about alternate universes, however, is that things can end up very differently—and to me, in both cases, the true legacy of Allan Pinkerton is the “detective agency” concept he pioneered, an unacknowledged branch of the government with ties to the Secret Service who functioned as a sort of proto-Federal Bureau of Investigation. A very useful thing to have control of, in any universe that contains hexation.
Tomorrow: Q and R!