created on 2022-01-19, updated on 2022-03-31

Most of the fiction I’ve written has been part of a science fantasy saga called Starbreaker.

The year is 2112.
The dark lord wears white.
He already rules the world.
Now he wants to save it.
All he needs is a little help from his enemies...

What the hell is this?

My Starbreaker saga is a gonzo science fiction project inspired by heavy metal lyrics, JRPGs, and sf and fantasy from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. I’ve been working on it since 1996, and have written several novels and short stories in a near-future post-apocalyptic cyberpunk setting where soul-searching androids and swashbuckling soprano catgirls struggle against corruption and tyranny while defying demons from outer space and the machinations of a Silicon Valley Saruman.

How did this start?

Believe it or not, I didn’t get my pseudonym directly from a Judas Priest song. Instead, I got it from a gonzo science fantasy project I’ve been banging away at since 1996.

It started with me getting stuck with a creative writing elective that I hadn’t actually chosen during my senior year in high school. I was a bit miffed, but while the law said my parents could choose my courses there was no law that could make me pass what they picked. The instructor was one of those snobs who insisted that the only valid literary genre was modernist realism and that if you weren’t writing like Hemingway you weren’t writing properly.

This instructor didn’t care much for me, so when I turned in a novelette called Starbreaker featuring a metalhead who took on both God and the Devil because they had the temerity to start Armageddon on the day he had tickets to a local Metal Gods festival. He had a little help from the Lead Bodhisattava, who gave him a black crystal sword called Starbreaker (rather than Stormbringer to avoid being too blatant) that could cut down God himself as long as he could get close enough to swing it. And the protagonist was based on a character from an old comic published in Epic Illustrated back in the 1980s: A Matter of Vengeance.

Naturally, I failed that class. The instructor told me something like, You have no talent whatsoever and shouldn’t write even as a hobby. All you’ve got is a mental chop shop that takes stories you like, strips them for parts, and files of the serial numbers for use in Frankensteinian parodies of works best forgotten.

Maybe I had it coming. Starbreaker was basically Elric on a Harley and written with an enthusiasm-to-skill ratio of 69:1. But I didn’t give a damn at the time and I still don’t. Instead, I told the instructor to go fuck themselves because I was going to keep writing anyway, even if I died in obscurity, unpublished and unread.

Why Starbreaker?

I don’t have a rationale for my writing. For me, writing is a labor of hatred and a sacrament of defiance. What got me going at first was that I finally had a dream of my own to chase, instead of realizing my parents’ dreams. It was work I could do purely for myself, something that gave me a sense of purpose a bit more meaningful than busting my ass to make rich assholes even richer.

So I kept writing, even though I wasn’t any good at it. I might not have had any talent, but all that meant to me was that if I did eventually get better it would be through my own efforts and not because of some accident of birth or the grace of some god who couldn’t leave well enough alone.

What keeps me going is the emotional and intellectual stimulation. All the women I’ve ever had the privilege of loving were women I met because of my writing. It’s kept me going through a lot of tough times over the years. It gave me an identity outside my job. It’s self-care; it never paid the rent, but it fed my soul — basaltic thing that it is.

Was Starbreaker ever published?

I was able to get some material from the Starbreaker saga published by a small press in the 2010s. Without Bloodshed was released as an ebook and trade paperback. Two short stories, The Milgram Battery and Limited Liability, appeared in anthologies. Silent Clarion was serialized on the publisher's website and released as an ebook but never made it into print.

All of my fiction is out of print now since the publisher pretty much went out of business and ghosted all of their authors in 2019. According to the contracts I signed with them, the rights to all of my published work should have reverted to me at the end of 2020.

Art from Starbreaker

Here is some promotional art for Starbreaker from the 2010s. Some of it I commissioned myself.

promotional artwork
artwork by Harvey Bunda, commissioned by the author
clockwise from top left: Claire Ashecroft, Isaac Magnin, Morgan Cooper, Naomi Bradleigh, Desdinova, Elisaeth Bathory, Christabel Crowley, Edmund Cohen, and Tamara Gellion
promotional artwork in art nouveau style
artwork by Sara McSorley, originally commissioned by Curiosity Quills Press