Sunday, May 05, 2013

Welcome to The Darkside Codex!

Hi! I'm Celina Summers, the Editorial Director of Musa Publishing and a collaborator with Richard C. White on The Darkside Codex, a new shared world project with its roots in steampunk and branches into multiple genres. I'd like to welcome you to the rich and storied world of Southwatch, an ancient port and industrial city of prominence in the wide-flung empire of Dalraida.

Since we opened for submissions on April 1, we've sent out over two hundred TDC bibles to interested authors. I have every expectation that this shared world project is going to develop into a tapestry of different authors, styles, and genres. This world was designed with that idea in mind. Although we like the look and feel of steampunk, we wanted to make certain that there were areas of the city and storylines to explore with science fiction, high fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, paranormal, romance, mystery, and noir themes. Regardless of the genre, however, at the core of every TDC story is the immense and strange city of Southwatch.

Southwatch is an anomaly among cities in Dalraida. Not only has it wrapped around the natural harbor that first lent the city prominence, but due to a strange occurrence in the past, it has also grown vertically. The roofs of each structure serves as the foundation for another, and each building is strengthened and reinforced by a cunning network of beams, support columns, hidden tunnels with ladders that disappear both above and below, and architectural precision that would rival that of our Roman Empire.

But when you look at Southwatch from a distance, one major feature of the city is impossible to miss. The Dark Cloud—a toxic stew of chemicals and pollution--bisects not only the city, but the people who live in it. Below the Dark Cloud is the darkside—where the great Steamworks and other industries emit the chemicals that make up the Cloud. Above the Dark Cloud is the sunside—a place that gives the term "upper crust" a new meaning.

The dichotomy between the sunside and the darkside of Southwatch is exemplified in the segregation forced upon the city by the Dark Cloud. Above, all is light and clean and healthy, while below everything is dark and gloomy and dangerous. The Darkside Codex begins on the 23rd day of the Fifth Month in the year 2958. A week later, at the Pertcha festival, Southwatch experiences a full solar eclipse. That eclipse foretells a year of disaster for Southwatch. As legend has it, when the Pertcha eclipse is full, that means the goddess Dione has been defeated in her annual battle against Chaos. A Pertcha eclipse resulted in the creation of the Dark Cloud in 2868. What does this full eclipse mean for Southwatch and its citizens?

You'll have to keep an eye on The Darkside Codex if you want to find out. In the meantime, take a look through the pages here. We'll keep you abreast of upcoming books, special events, and authors/books that we've signed to participate in the TDC project. We'll continue to add information here throughout the project, so there will always be something new to take in.