The Dark Society

While I try to be relatively spoiler-free, there ARE some slight spoilers to be found here – so read on at your own risk!

As with many things that are supernatural, the origins of the Dark Society had their roots in Grove’s Folly, the sleepy hamlet located just down the road from Sovereign City. Grove’s Folly is chiefly famous for two things: its massive Pumpkin Festival held every Halloween and the fact that it was host to one of the bloodiest — and most unusual — battles of the American Revolutionary War.

In recent years, a viral video of the cryptid known as the Straw-Man has given Grove’s Folly a new revenue stream: a surge in tourism related to monster and ghost hunters. Though few know that the city was built atop an open pit to Hell (known as a Hellmouth), the arrival of the Straw-Man has coincided with a number of supernatural sightings and events. The Straw-Man (in actually a gestalt being formed of a young local man named Samuel Hain and Gwydion fab Dôn, a magician, hero and trickster of Welsh mythology) also kicked off a new generation of heroes within the area. In addition to the Straw-Man, several other heroes frequented the area to team up with the Straw-Man or, in some cases, to fight him: Jupiter, Catalyst, Singularity, and the American Crusader.

When a cult attempted to use the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to open portals to both Heaven and Hell in an attempt to bring about the supposed end of days, a collection of heroes came together to oppose this plan. In addition to the heroes named above, Geist, Babylon, and Calavera journeyed to Geneva. In the end, the group saved the world — but at great cost: Babylon was seemingly destroyed in the conflict. In the aftermath, the team swore to come together again if needed.

All of the above is depicted in The Dark Society Book One: Calavera.

Later in the same year, the Dark Society established a headquarters in Romania. It was dubbed The Dark House. They were soon caught up in the machinations of August Messenger, who sought the resurrection of Cthulhu. The Society teamed up with The Peregrine for the adventure, which is shown in The Dark Society Book Two: August Messenger.

If you want more information about the individual members of the team, follow the links to roleplaying game writeups of each — and be on the lookout for the Dark Society tomes, which should be released after the first three Straw-Man titles are released.

Our art is by Gilbert Monsanto.

Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe – Updated 12/23/2022

Major Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories. 

~ 800 – Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [The Sword of Hel]. 

~ 1620 – Gwydion fab Dôn is captured by the witch Rhianna in France. She punishes him by binding his spirit to a bundle of rags. [“Gwydion,” The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born. 

Continue reading Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe – Updated 12/23/2022

August Messenger (Icons Writeup)

August Messenger
aka Nyarlathotep

Prowess 4
Coordination 4
Strength 8
Intellect 5
Awareness 7
Willpower 7

Stamina 15

Powers
*Magic 8 (Mastery: Blast, Affliction, Extrasensory Perception, Mind Control, Regeneration, Transformation – Humanoids)
*Immortality 2
*Damage Resistance 5

Specialties
Occult (Expert +3 bonus)

Qualities
*The Crawling Chaos
*God of a Thousand Forms
*Messenger of the Elder Gods

Background

In his first appearance in “Nyarlathotep” (1920), he is described as a “tall, swarthy man” who resembles an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. In this story he wanders the Earth, seemingly gathering legions of followers, the narrator of the story among them, through his demonstrations of strange and seemingly magical instruments. These followers lose awareness of the world around them, and through the narrator’s increasingly unreliable accounts, the reader gets an impression of the world’s collapse. Fritz Leiber proposes three interpretations of the character based on this appearance: the universe’s mockery of man’s attempts to understand it; a negative view of the commercial world, represented by Nyarlathotep’s self-promotion and contemptuous attitude; and man’s self-destructive rationality.

Nyarlathotep subsequently appears as a major character in The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (1926/27), in which he again manifests in the form of an Egyptian pharaoh when he confronts protagonist Randolph Carter. Leiber describes Nyarlathotep as “evilly intelligent” in this story, in contrast to the mindless Azathoth, his master.

In “The Dreams in the Witch House” (1933), Nyarlathotep appears to Walter Gilman and witch Keziah Mason (who has made a pact with the entity) in the form of “the ‘Black Man’ of the witch-cult”, a black-skinned avatar of the Devil described by witch hunters. Although inhuman, some characters mistake him as a human of African descent, though his facial features are described as Caucasian.

Finally, in “The Haunter of the Dark” (1936), the nocturnal, tentacled, bat-winged monster dwelling in the steeple of the Starry Wisdom sect’s church is identified as another manifestation of Nyarlathotep. This avatar cannot tolerate light.

Lovecraft suggests that the fake Henry Akeley that appears at the end of The Whisperer in Darkness (1930) is also Nyarlathotep. In the story, the Mi-Go chant his name in reverential tones, stating “To Nyarlathotep, Mighty Messenger, must all things be told. And he shall put on the semblance of man, the waxen mask and the robes that hide, and come down from the world of Seven Suns to mock.”

In the Reese Unlimited universe, Nyarlathotep took on the form of “Mr. Black” when commissioning Felix Cole to aid in the creation of The Great Work (“The Great Work,” The Family Grace: An Extraordinary History)

Nyarlathotep later appeared before The Peregrine several times in the late 1930s before his physical form was finally dispatched. His heart was then used by the Peregrine to fashion his ring, with which he would brand the foreheads of criminals. (The Peregrine Omnibus Volume One)

As August Messenger, he battled the Dark Society and the Peregrine in the early 21st century – a plot that involved the near destruction of the earth. (Dark Society Book Two: August Messenger). This version of Nyarlathotep was crafty and capable of being almost charming but he was also a devout sadist.

The Peregrine – Modern Version (Icons Writeup)

The Peregrine
Created by Barry Reese, Copyright Pro Se Productions

Prowess 5
Coordination 5
Strength 5
Intellect 5
Awareness 6
Willpower 6

Stamina 11

Powers
*Telekinesis 4
*Telepathy 4
*Precognition 6 (Limit: Uncontrolled)
*Modified Pistols 5 (Extra: Burst)
*Protective Suit – Damage Resistance 5
*Knife of Elohim – Strike 4 (Extra: Against enemies that are of a supernatural origin, it does Strike 6; Extra: Glows in the presence of evil)
*Gadgets 4

Specialties
Athletics, Business (Expert +2 bonus), Drive, Investigation (Expert +2 bonus), Leadership, Martial Arts (Expert +2 bonus), Medicine – First Aid, Occult (Expert +2 bonus), Pilot, Sleight of Hand (Expert +2 bonus), Stealth, Weapons (Expert +2 bonus), Wrestling

Qualities
*Way older than he looks
*Where the good is swallowed by the dark, there the Peregrine plants his mark!
*This reminds me of when I fought so-and-so back in the old days…

Background

The Peregrine is actually Max Davies, born in the year 1900. Max was the only child of Warren and Margaret Davies, two of Boston’s most prominent citizens. Margaret was the heiress to a vast fortune while Warren had earned every cent of his own money, founding a publishing company that now included three newspapers, two magazines and even a line of encyclopedias. When Warren and Margaret had met by chance at a charity function, it had been love at first sight. They’d courted for just over six months before Warren proposed to her. Max had been born two years into their marriage, a healthy baby boy who had charmed all who knew him. His ever-present smile had brightened the spirits of his parents, who genuinely considered themselves the luckiest people alive. But there were dangers lurking on the periphery of their happy lives. Warren had become increasingly disturbed at the graft and corruption surrounding them. Taking the editorial reigns of one of his newspapers, he’d launched a blistering series of articles detailing the problems facing the city and the manner in which elected officials had sold themselves to the mob. Death threats and harassment did not deter Warren Davies from his pursuit of the truth and his wife adored him all the more for it.

Their enemies he had made finally tired of the game, however, hiring a gang led by a cold-blooded killer named Ted Grossett to deal with the crusading Davies. Grossett eventually gunned down Warren Davies, murdering him in front of his 8-year old son, Max. After the death of his father, Max watched helplessly as his mother slowly began to waste away, heartbroken. Max fell into the care of a kindly but emotionally distant uncle, who was unaware that Max had begun to experience painful visions of the future, usually revolving around crimes yet to occur. Max eventually began taking steps to try and prevent these crimes, hoping to prevent others from suffering as his family had.

Realizing that he had to better himself, Max had taken off as soon as he’d turned eighteen. He’d spent time in Kyoto, in Tibet and in France, amongst a dozen other places. He’d become a master in various sciences and in the killing arts… and the painful visions had kept coming. For a time he studied under a Sensei who also called himself the Warlike Manchu. When it became clear that Manchu wanted Max to become heir to his criminal empire, Max fled, earning his master’s hatred.

Max later fashioned the Peregrine identity to keep his friends and lovers safe from harm. Let the denizens of the dark fear the masked vigilante known as the Peregrine, allowing Max to have some semblance of a normal life.

After years of travel, Max returned to the United States and became a member of the Nova Alliance, an adventurer’s guild based out of Boston. The Peregrine became a prominent figure in the city, reports of his nocturnal exploits dominating the headlines. But Max had become sloppy in protecting his identity and whispers became to circulate that the son of Warren Davies might be more than he appeared to be. When the Peregrine had made an appearance at a New Year’s Eve bash in Max’s own penthouse, police commissioner Croft had seen enough – he wanted answers.

Max evaded the questions as best he could and took off to Colorado, where he was once again prompted by painful visions to take action against a local killer. Max fled one more time, this time settling in an old plantation house outside Atlanta… and the sense that his world was slowly crumbling began to overwhelm him. In Atlanta, a reckless Peregrine fell in love with B-movie and stage actress Evelyn Gould and became embroiled in an affair known as Lucifer’s Cage. During this, he learned that the painful visions of the future came from an outside source: his dead father, who had sought to mold his son into a force against evil. Angry with his father, Max nevertheless came to an uneasy true with him and began experimenting with other mental powers he possessed: telekinesis, telepathy and more. All are difficult to use but are available to him if necessary.

Max and Evelyn married and she began to sometimes accompany him on missions They eventually had two children: a boy named William (named after his close friend, police chief Will McKenzie), and a daughter named Emma.

Beginning in the late 1940s, Max led a team called The Claws of the Peregrine. He often worked in a supervisory capacity, leaving the team to operate independently. The core membership consisted of Catalyst (Nathaniel Caine), Esper, the Revenant, and Frankenstein’s Monster, though other heroes drifted in and out of the group.

Max adventured as the Peregrine into the late 1960s when William took over the role. Unfortunately, William began a descent into drugs and depression that ended with his suicide. Emma adopted the Peregrine persona in the Seventies but retired from the role in the mid-1980s, at which point Max resumed his nocturnal activities. In 2009, Max passed the mask on to a man named Ian Morris shortly before he died. Morris carried on the legacy until 2012 when he sacrificed himself to prevent the apocalypse — during this process, Max was reborn as a man in his mid-Twenties. As of 2022, Max operates as the Peregrine once more, pretending to be his own great-grandson.

This physical description of Max comes from Lucifer’s Cage: “He was a handsome man, with a slightly olive complexion and dark green eyes. He was trim, with a swimmer’s athletic build, and seemed exceptionally poised and collected” Unlike in his younger days, the Peregrine nows wears a form-fitting uniform based on the one that Ian Morris used.

Lilith Gets A New Review!

Longtime reader Ray Bara has posted a new review of The Chronicles of Lilith on Amazon.com. He gave the book 5 stars and titled his review “Another Wonderful Barry Reese Romp!” Here’s his full review:

“Another epic Barry Reese novel. He never fails to deliver a great tale. I love the Lilith character and would love to see more of her. My only complaint about this story, and it’s a small one, is that I would’ve liked to see more of Lilith’s Crimson Ladies. I feel they are big part of what makes Lilith interesting. More of them would’ve made the book even more interesting. I also loved the way Reese brought in an old favorite character, very ingenious! All in all, a great adventure. Go read it!”

Thanks, Ray! Sorry you didn’t feel we got to see enough of the Crimson Ladies. I definitely agree that they’re a key ingredient in the Lilith recipe. Since this was Lilith’s first solo book, I did want to keep the emphasis on her as much as possible but if there are future volumes, I’m sure we’ll explore more of the Crimson Ladies. Glad you enjoyed the guest appearance by Max Davies 🙂

The image accompanying this post is of actress Mia Goth.

Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe – Updated 11/12/2022

Major Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories. 

~ 800 – Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [The Sword of Hel]. 

~ 1620 – Gwydion fab Dôn is captured by the witch Rhianna in France. She punishes him by binding his spirit to a bundle of rags. [“Gwydion,” The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born. 

Continue reading Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe – Updated 11/12/2022

The Strange Tale of… Catalyst!

Catalyst, at least in the form of Nathaniel Caine, is one of my oldest characters. I created him way back in 1985 and he went through several permutations, popping up in various stories, comic book scripts, fanfiction and roleplaying campaigns over the years. When I finally became a professional writer, it was only a matter of time before Nathaniel would enter my Reese Unlimited universe. Why does he still linger, when so many of my other characters from my youth have fallen by the wayside? I’m not sure. He was the first creation of mine that I felt was worthy of saving… plus I always loved his green color scheme. Credit has to go to Cari Reese for taking my original (and very derivative) costume designs and merging them with the Kirby-esque Asgardian and New Gods looks that I desired. Other artists have depicted him since then but all of them have used her costume design.

So who or what is… The Catalyst?

The Gifted is the name given to humans that possess the natural ability to tap into the most primal forces in existence – the stuff that normal humans called Magic. The Catalyst is the High Mage of his era and generally there is only one per century, though their tenure sometimes varied in length and occasionally overlapped. They could be recognized not only by their power but by a peculiar uniform that went along with the responsibility of wielding that much magical ability… an emerald set of clothing that changed appearance with the times but always bore a similar look.

Historically, the first Catalyst that we’ve seen in my universe is actually Andre Thierry, the Catalyst of the 19th century. A creole sorcerer, Thierry’s first recorded activity involved brokering a peace between local farmers and a subterranean race of monsters known as The Shamblers. This treaty took place in 1853 and was mentioned in the story “It Wants To Kill You” that appeared in the eighth volume of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray. In 1903, Thierry died in mystical combat but he used a spell powered by his will to retain his corporeal nature. In this form, he remained on earth, combating evil into the 1930s. In 1937, he journeyed to Sovereign City and aided Lazarus Gray in defeating The Three Sisters (aka Selene, Fiona and Phoebe). These events are shown in “Immortals,” a story that appeared in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume 5. In that same volume, he helped make sure that Lazarus and Kelly’s wedding went off without interruption by any of their enemies (“Wedding Bells”). Less than a year later, in 1938, Thierry’s time as Catalyst came to an end, as his spirit was destroyed during the events depicted in the novel Götterdämmerung.

With Thierry dead, the time was right for a new Catalyst to emerge.

Nathaniel Caine was a police officer in England during this time and he’d fallen into a deep depression following the murder of his girlfriend by a killer known as Tweedledum in 1936. Caine distrusted vigilantes due to the fact that Dan Daring had failed to stop the murder. By 1942, he was a frustrated man, ready to call it quits on his career. That was when he met The Peregrine and a young psychic named Rachel Winters, embarking on a bizarre adventure involving a Nazi experiment called The Un-Earth. Nathaniel and Rachel became lovers, he took on the role of Catalyst and Rachel became his partner, known to the public as Esper. All of this was depicted in “Catalyst,” which appears in The Peregrine Omnibus Volume One.

Nathaniel made his first visit to the United States in 1943 when he was contacted by members of Assistance Unlimited. Lazarus Gray was experiencing a spiritual crisis and the team needed Catalyst’s help in returning Gray to the dimension known as Dread Carcosa. After aiding Lazarus in this affair, Catalyst returned to England. These events are depicted in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Twelve.

In 1944, Catalyst and Esper were recruited by The Peregrine into a strikeforce known The Claws of The Peregrine. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, the group initially consisted of Catalyst, Esper, Revenant and Frankenstein’s Monster. As a team, they successfully took part in two adventures during this year – “The Diabolical Mr. Dee” and “A Plague of Wicked Men”, both of which are in The Peregrine Omnibus Volume Two.

The Claws of The Peregrine next appear in 1946’s “The Ivory Machine” which is also in The Peregrine Omnibus Volume Two. The group added several new members following this adventure but Catalyst and Esper remained key players in their activities.

It’s unknown how long the group remained active — we do know that by 2006, Rachel was dead but Nathaniel was still operating as Catalyst.

He aided the Ian Morris version of the Peregrine in dealing with the rise and fall of The Black Mass Barrier. He also aided Babylon in dealing with a mystical assault in London in 2011. Shortly after 2012, he finally passed on, leaving the door open for Logan Jenkins to assume the role.

Much of Logan’s past is still unknown but her mother – a Japanese witch named Kyoko – operated as a magical terrorist under the name of Lady Grimdark. While her mother was madly in love with a master villain named Lord Grimdark, she had gotten pregnant with Logan during a one-night stand — not only did this cause problems between the Gimdarks but it led to a lifelong resentment that Kyoko felt towards her daughter.

As Catalyst, Logan moved to Grove’s Folly where she opened a curiosity shop called Jenks (pronounced Jinx). She has become extremely close to the Straw-Man and, alongside him and several others, founded the team known as The Dark Society.

Peregrine (Icons Writeup)

The Peregrine
Created by Barry Reese, Copyright Pro Se Productions

Prowess 5
Coordination 4
Strength 4
Intellect 5
Awareness 5
Willpower 6

Stamina 10

Powers
*Telekinesis 4
*Telepathy 4
*Precognition 6 (Limit: Uncontrolled)
*Modified Pistols 5 (Extra: Burst)
*Kevlar – Damage Resistance 4 (Limit: Only protects torso)
*Knife of Elohim – Strike 4 (Extra: Against enemies that are of a supernatural origin, it does Strike 6; Extra: Glows in the presence of evil)
*Gadgets 4

Specialties
Athletics, Business, Drive, Investigation (Expert +2 bonus), Leadership, Martial Arts, Medicine – First Aid, Occult, Pilot, Sleight of Hand (Expert +2 bonus), Stealth, Weapons (Expert +2 bonus), Wrestling

Qualities
*Devoted father and husband
*”Where the good is swallowed by the dark, there the Peregrine plants his mark!”
*Tortured hero

Background

The Peregrine is actually Max Davies, born in the year 1900. Max was the only child of Warren and Margaret Davies, two of Boston’s most prominent citizens. Margaret was the heiress to a vast fortune while Warren had earned every cent of his own money, founding a publishing company that now included three newspapers, two magazines and even a line of encyclopedias. When Warren and Margaret had met by chance at a charity function, it had been love at first sight. They’d courted for just over six months before Warren proposed to her. Max had been born two years into their marriage, a healthy baby boy who had charmed all who knew him. His ever-present smile had brightened the spirits of his parents, who genuinely considered themselves the luckiest people alive. But there were dangers lurking on the periphery of their happy lives. Warren had become increasingly disturbed at the graft and corruption surrounding them. Taking the editorial reigns of one of his newspapers, he’d launched a blistering series of articles detailing the problems facing the city and the manner in which elected officials had sold themselves to the mob. Death threats and harassment did not deter Warren Davies from his pursuit of the truth and his wife adored him all the more for it.

Their enemies he had made finally tired of the game, however, hiring a gang led by a cold-blooded killer named Ted Grossett to deal with the crusading Davies. Grossett eventually gunned down Warren Davies, murdering him in front of his 8-year old son, Max. After the death of his father, Max watched helplessly as his mother slowly began to waste away, heartbroken. Max fell into the care of a kindly but emotionally distant uncle, who was unaware that Max had begun to experience painful visions of the future, usually revolving around crimes yet to occur. Max eventually began taking steps to try and prevent these crimes, hoping to prevent others from suffering as his family had.

Realizing that he had to better himself, Max had taken off as soon as he’d turned eighteen. He’d spent time in Kyoto, in Tibet and in France, amongst a dozen other places. He’d become a master in various sciences and in the killing arts… and the painful visions had kept coming. For a time he studied under a Sensei who also called himself the Warlike Manchu. When it became clear that Manchu wanted Max to become heir to his criminal empire, Max fled, earning his master’s hatred.

Max later fashioned the Peregrine identity to keep his friends and lovers safe from harm. Let the denizens of the dark fear the masked vigilante known as the Peregrine, allowing Max to have some semblance of a normal life.

After years of travel, Max returned to the United States and became a member of the Nova Alliance, an adventurer’s guild based out of Boston. The Peregrine became a prominent figure in the city, reports of his nocturnal exploits dominating the headlines. But Max had become sloppy in protecting his identity and whispers became to circulate that the son of Warren Davies might be more than he appeared to be. When the Peregrine had made an appearance at a New Year’s Eve bash in Max’s own penthouse, police commissioner Croft had seen enough – he wanted answers.

Max evaded the questions as best he could and took off to Colorado, where he was once again prompted by painful visions to take action against a local killer. Max fled one more time, this time settling in an old plantation house outside Atlanta… and the sense that his world was slowly crumbling began to overwhelm him. In Atlanta, a reckless Peregrine fell in love with B-movie and stage actress Evelyn Gould and became embroiled in an affair known as Lucifer’s Cage. During this, he learned that the painful visions of the future came from an outside source: his dead father, who had sought to mold his son into a force against evil. Angry with his father, Max nevertheless came to an uneasy true with him and began experimenting with other mental powers he possessed: telekinesis, telepathy and more. All are difficult to use but are available to him if necessary.

Max and Evelyn married and she began to sometimes accompany him on missions They eventually had two children: a boy named William (named after his close friend, police chief Will McKenzie), and a daughter named Emma.

Beginning in the late 1940s, Max led a team called The Claws of the Peregrine. He often worked in a supervisory capacity, leaving the team to operate independently. The core membership consisted of Catalyst (Nathaniel Caine), Esper, the Revenant, and Frankenstein’s Monster, though other heroes drifted in and out of the group.

Max adventured as the Peregrine into the late 1960s when William took over the role. Unfortunately, William began a descent into drugs and depression that ended with his suicide. Emma adopted the Peregrine persona in the Seventies but retired from the role in the mid-1980s, at which point Max resumed his nocturnal activities. In 2009, Max passed the mask on to a man named Ian Morris shortly before he died. Morris carried on the legacy until 2012 when he sacrificed himself to avoid the apocalypse — during this process, Max was reborn as a man in his late Twenties. As of 2022, Max operates as the Peregrine once more, pretending to be his own great-grandson.

This physical description of Max comes from Lucifer’s Cage: “He was a handsome man, with a slightly olive complexion and dark green eyes. He was trim, with a swimmer’s athletic build, and seemed exceptionally poised and collected”

As the Peregrine, he tends to wear a long overcoat, a suit and tie and a mask that ends in a small beaked nose, domino-style. His favorite weapons are a pair of specially modified pistols that can fire close to a hundred bullets each without reloading and the Knife of Elohim, a mystical blade once dipped in the blood of Christ. It glows a golden color in the presence of evil and is particularly painful to occult creatures.

When is too far… too far?

I keep most of my New Pulp writing in the PG-13 range but I’ve been known to cross “the line” on occasion… some of you may remember when Sun Koh mutilated a rapist in an old Peregrine story, for instance. And my novel Rabbit Heart is basically a study in excess! Whenever I thought that I might be pushing the envelope too far in that book, I went ahead and tore it open.

But when is it *really* too far? In The Adventures of Lilith Volume One, I decided to depict some extreme violence and sexual situations – it felt right for that particular story but not everyone agreed. One reviewer, in fact, said that I should pull it off the market and tone it down before re-releasing it!

I’ve kept hardcore sex and violence out of Lazarus Gray but there’s an element of subjectivity there, as with all artistic endeavors. When I wrote The Damned Thing, there was a scene early on that involved oral sex. To be honest, I’d forgotten about it by the time it saw print — it was just a brief character moment and believe it or not, not every scene sticks in the mind of the person who wrote it (I write a lot of scenes…). So when it came out, I had a reader who went on and on about that scene and how much it disturbed them. I didn’t even remember what they were talking about! See, for them, that was shocking and extremely memorable. For me, it was no big deal. So you never know how folks will respond.

But there are times when even I know that I might be going into territory that would be best left undisturbed. I’ve mentioned before that I started writing a sequel to Rabbit Heart — it was going to be titled Starstruck. In fact, I wrote about 12,000 words on it, meaning it’s about 20% complete. But even as I was writing the opening scenes of Starstruck, I knew that this probably couldn’t see print. Despite how far I’d gone with Rabbit Heart, I went a lot further into the disturbing territory with just the first 12,000 words on Starstruck. There is at least one scene in there that I think would be hard for people to get out of their heads when they thought of me… and I’m not quite sure I want to go there.

Nobody’s read Starstruck – not even people who’ve really begged & pleaded! I’ve thought about finishing it but it’s so dark and if I didn’t publish it, what would be the point? I’ve considered completing it and then sticking it in a box with a note to say that it could be published after I was dead & gone but then I’d miss the perverse pleasure of seeing people freak out!

On the other hand, I don’t want to tone the story down, either. If I’m going to write disgusting smut then by God, I’m going to write disgusting smut!

Anyway, I think that I’ll continue staying on the PG-13 path for most of my New Pulp work – I often try to craft stories that will appeal to adolescent boys the way that classic pulp did me when I was that age. A little titillation is fine but I try not to veer too far into adult territory. Of course, sometimes the characters demand their course of action (like Sun Koh did in that Peregrine story) and often what I consider PG-13 isn’t what someone else would. In fact, I had one lady tell me she’d never let her 15 year old son read my books because they contained too many “demonic” elements.

However, with the more modern parts of my shared universe, it seems right to up the ante when it comes to violence, language, and sexual content. When writing in the ‘golden age’ of pulp, I want to mostly stay within the classic confines but that’s not true of the modern or future-set stories.

In the end, the work puts whatever restrictions on itself that feel appropriate. When I’m writing The Peregrine, there’s a certain feeling to the world that lets me know the basic parameters, even if I sometimes bump against the guard rails.

Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe (Updated 9/13/2022)

Major Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories. 

~ 800 – Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [The Sword of Hel]. 

~ 1620 – Gwydion fab Dôn is captured by the witch Rhianna in France. She punishes him by binding his spirit to a bundle of rags. [“Gwydion,” The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born. 

Continue reading Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe (Updated 9/13/2022)