Given that the final installment of the Elkie Bernstein trilogy / series has been published, here’s the latest version of the Fur-Skins Order of Play posts.
- There is essentially just a write up of my world-building notes with respect to what I would like to do here if I get back to it – while hopefully avoiding spoilers of what already exists and what could exist.
- As well as the page linked above (and across the top of the web-site), the Fur-skin’s world has a category and a tag
- You can find earlier versions here: version 0, version 1 and version 2.
With that in mind, here we go…
Alex & Conn
These are all stories told from the point of view of Alex Jones and / or Conn(or) MacLochlann. The over-arcing story point for the cycle is the relationship between the two of them but the short stories began as a tool for exploring the world. Part of the exploring is looking at particular issues – what other werewolves and humans want out of the world. I think I’ve written all I can from these two’s point of view (never say never…) and I’m hoping to clean them up and put them in a collection some time.
- Half-Breed (Short)
Published: Twisted Tongue, Issue 11, 29/08/2008
Podcast: Cossmass Infinities, Episode 5, 01/05/2010
- Heart’s Desire (Short)
Published: Drops of Crimson, Volume 2, Issue 1, 01/11/2009
- Second Date (Short)
- Dog Handler (Short)
Published: Title Goes Here, Issue 1.9, 02/09/2011
- The Grace of Wolves (Short)
- Three Swords (Short)
- The First Man (Short)
- The Last Kiss (Short)
Oh, and Half-Breed is still waiting for a less offensive title but nothing has so far occurred to me. Although, to be fair, any of the titles may change to something more suitable in terms of the overall arc.
Elkie Bernstein is the lead character of the “25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf” story. As I’ve mentioned before, the initial story was never intended to extend (despite the extendible ending, sorry) and comes out of a conversation about how to kill werewolves. The extensions came sometime after the original draft was finished and the book was in the acceptance process. They were initially prompted by thoughts about how awesome Elkie was and a couple of titles, which changed along the way.
- 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf (Novel)
Published: Fox Spirit Books [External Link], November 2014
- A Pack Of Lies (Novel)
Published: Fox Spirit Books, June 2015
- Fool If You Think It’s Over (Novel)
Published: Fox Spirit Books, January 2017
This group of three have their own sub-category – “Elkie Bernstein” – which is used for posts related solely to this set of stories. There are also three tags, each used for posts that mention the three works: 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf, A Pack of Lies, Fool If You Think It’s Over.
Relationship to Alex & Conn
Elkie’s arc starts about fifteen years after the start of Alex and Conn’s and what turned out to be a mere year or so after Alex and Conn finish their arc.
Conn is an Easter Egg in “25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf” but his part is recurring and progressively more important. Well, it was important before but it’s more obvious that he’s involved in the later books. He even makes it onto the blurb of the third book cover.
As the testing ground for a number of concepts, ideas that first appeared to me in the short stories are expanded in the novels. However, most readers will have that time-line inverted on that as the Elkie novels have been published before (most of) the short stories are publicly available.
The two core concepts at the heart of my Fur-Skins world are encapsulated in two posts that have been around a while: The rules of the werewolf game and Living Together. Most ideas that I’ve pursued in my writing of it have basically been to explore what they mean, what exactly the boundaries are and, potential spoiler, subverting them.
Alex’s introduction, Half-Breed, came out of the idea of what happens when you make the scale between canine and human sliding (see Living Together) – and the idea crops up again in The Grace of Wolves. The existence of individuals is vanishingly rare due to the squick (don’t think about it too much) and, if these sliding-scale inhabitants are rare then, the idea of a co-ordinated community that survives that way for generations is… problematic. Full humans can’t know about them without finding out about werewolf related magic – and will probably think they’re just an abomination. Werewolves are generally going to be fathers with serious issues or even less interested. However, they’ve got potential to be truly amazing (for writer purposes, this means “capable of surviving a lot of bad shit”).
People familiar with Norwegian folklore had a minor spoiler / gift with respect to the mention of “Valemon” in “A Pack of Lies” and “Fool If You Think It’s Over”. There’s a similar spoiler on the cover of the latter, for those who can spot it. For those who don’t and also want a teaser, this relates to the If Werewolves, Then… post back in 2011. Which means that Elkie 3 bust the Fur-Skins world open that little bit more and there are options to pursue with that. I would quite like to work with the Valemon again.
It has also been joked that I should do the whole “big three” of horror monsters and get “25 Ways To Kill A Vampire” and “25 Ways To Kill A Zombie” while I still can. This may or may not happen. I do have some blurb for the first of these two but whether it becomes an actual story is another matter.