Foreword by C.S. Friedman
One day about fifteen years ago, a mysterious CD arrived in my mailbox. It wasn't anything I'd ordered, and I didn't recognize the address it had been mailed from, but the title immediately caught my eye. Concepts: The Black Sun. Given that I had recently published a fantasy novel called Black Sun Rising, it seemed likely this CD was connected to my work somehow . . . but exactly how was a mystery.
Flipping over the case, I saw that the track titles referenced characters and settings in my book: "Tarrant's Theme." "The Crystal Garden." "Jenseny's Dream." By far, the most mystifying title of all was the last one: "Battle (live in concert)."
My book was in concert?
Reading the letter that accompanied the CD, I discovered that it had been sent to me by a fan named Joshua Wentz. He had found my work inspiring, he explained, and he'd written music for it that he wanted to share it with me.
I still remember how excited I felt as the first strains of his opening track filled my living room. Language is a powerful tool and it has been my artistic medium of choice for as long as I can remember, but even the best of human language has its limits. Music transcends those limits. It bypasses the regions of the brain where we worry about things like spelling and punctuation and plunges deep into the right hemisphere, where it serenades the soul with pure emotion. It was little wonder that so many authors rely upon music for inspiration, some even going so far as to publish their playlists so that readers can share in the full sensory experience of a novel's creation. Listening to Joshua's music, I rediscovered the feelings which had driven me to write my book in the first place, and shared those feelings which it had awakened in him.
Fifteen years passed. And then one day an e-mail arrived in my inbox, from a writer named Jeff LaSala. He told me that he and his brother John were working on a project called Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero, a combination of science fiction and music that would be a new kind of artistic collaboration. Instead of simply setting stories to music—as human beings have done since the dawn of time—a group called The Very Us Artists was exploring the concept of multimedia fiction, with writers, musicians, and graphic artists working side by side to craft a common narrative.
The stories were dark and moody and spiced with a bit of cyberpunk. The music ran the gamut from cinematic to electronic, with modern and exotic elements seamlessly interwoven. Each track could be enjoyed as an independent composition or played as a soundtrack to the reading experience. And one of the musicians working on the project might be familiar to me, he said. A guy named Joshua Wentz, who was now an established (and very prolific) musician.
Would I be interested in taking a look at the project? And—if I liked it—writing a foreword for it?
How could I say no?
The book-and-soundtrack combo you are about to explore is a truly remarkable science fiction anthology. It offers an intriguing vision of a not-so-distant future in which our world has been transformed not by dramatic technological upheaval but by the slow and steady erosion of mankind's assumptions about his own identity. The stories are dark and gritty in flavor, set in a world in which the boundary between man and machine has become uncertain and even ancient myths must struggle to adapt to a new human paradigm. The musical tracks range from works of exotic beauty to knife-edged electronica, offering visceral insight into a world that seems both intimately familiar and inexpressibly disturbing.
Taken together, the stories and music of The Ghosts of Zero invite us to immerse ourselves body and soul in a dystopian vision, and in doing so to push past the traditional boundaries of artistic collaboration, to test the very limits of the narrative experience
Celia S. Friedman
C. S. Friedman has published nine science fiction and fantasy novels, as well as various short stories and an RPG book for Vampire: the Masquerade. Her latest novel is Legacy of Kings. Her website can be found at www.csfriedman.com.