Jordan Stout: Writer
First off, could you introduce yourself for our readers?
Good day to you all. It is a pleasure to meet all the readers of 10,000 Dawns, I hope you are well, sassy, classy, and currently enjoying a good book of some kind. My name is Jordan Stout and I am proud to say that I am one of the writers for the 10kd universe. I've been with the 10kd project from the beginning, and I am honored to still be here helping readers make that special astonished face you all make when something too crazy to be possible happens on the page. Yes, you do totally make that face. Yes. Its kind of like the expression lemurs always have by default. Yes, like that, its my favorite, and I love you for it.
So you've been part of 10kd for a long time, how did you first get involved in this endeavor?
10kd for me started with a college friend desiring to embarrass me and my roommate with an obscure science fiction card game he had stolen from James' room that we had never played but he deceptively and wickedly already knew all the rules to. Naturally my roommate and I were disgraced forever and will never completely live down the shame, but there was something very thought-provoking about the cards themselves and the very lightly brushed on conceptual story behind them and it got us working out new and different ways to play the game, making a newer and deeper story, and then ultimately starting a full role-playing game and living out adventures in the world of our design every Saturday night, with the ever-creative James Wylder as game master. The adventures were rich and brilliant and often the sun would rise on a Sunday morning to us still laughing and shrugging off our exhaustion for another roll of the dice that would determine fates to altered the very alignments of planets and moons in our solar system. As much as it meant to us, originally it was almost a joke. There were only four of us at the start and it was almost embarrassing to tell others about this game we played that was loosely based off of a card game that no one in their right mind would have even heard of. We would get looks like we were all wasting our Saturday nights and there was no way to really explain. Stories, however, have a way of speaking for themselves. We gained two new people to make six just before I began a semester traveling abroad in Europe, and when I returned I was astonished to find more that thirty people sitting at the same little table the next Saturday night, all with characters woven into the intricate story that James had continued to weave. It only grew from there. The game evolved into an overwhelming topic of conversation, started holding its own reserved room at college events and conventions, taking form on social media, drawing the attention of other science-fiction writers, hosting its own website, inspiring us to write short stories, and eventually became so big that rare was any hour of any day where a large group of people would not be sitting in the campus center discussing, bickering, building, or scheming some angle of the story arch and so there was never a time a person couldn't conveniently find someone to talk to about this story at our college. At that point it was clear that it had taken a life of its own, and after graduation it was keen to become the subject of literature.
What's it been like developing the 10kd universe together?
How do I love having my own characters represented in your work? Well, speaking on behalf of my character, Doitzel, he truly loves your work James, and is trilled to see himself come to life under your pen, and, oh wait, he's demanded to speak for himself, he says “you haven't yet written about him at all yet,” and “what's the matter,” he seems rather angry. Oh, maybe he's crying. ”Are you afraid of my magnetic personality? Think I will try to take over your story by force? I won't, scout's honor, I'm a changed man.” I'm terribly sorry James, I'll have a chat with him. “Is it because I'm insane?” No, Doitzel, you need to stop this now. “I'm not you know, I have a letter from the state that says I've been pardoned.” Yes, well done, Doitzel. “Not many people have those!” Doitzel, please calm down. Remember what happened the time when you shot the coffee machine. “I've always wanted to be in your stories, Jim, why don't you notice me? What do I have to do, take over a planet or something? I will if I have to.” Doitzel, you need to stop threatening authors, this is becoming a bad habit. “Believe me, you'll want me in your story on your terms, don't let them be mine! Don't forget how many side characters were never fully developed because of me!” I'm sorry about that James, he's just cranky because of his tragic background. You know he can't be held accountable for his own words. He's harmless, really, you have nothing to worry about, and should keep up the good work we all love.
Now, you're a part of 10,000 Dawns: Anthology, which is set in the Prime Universe of 10,000 Dawns, featuring very different versions of some of these characters we've just met. Do you think readers will be surprised at what they'll see?
Naw, I think our readers are brave and ready to handle the surprises in store.
Can you tell us a little about what you're creating for 10kd: Anthology?
Most of my writing will be focusing on events on the Rim as well as one of my characters to grow out of the original role-playing game, Doitzel. It looks like I'm going to dive into the Rim in a few more questions here, and I dare not tell you what role Doitzel will play in the history of the known universe but suffice to say he is far from the conventional hero we've come to expect from our classic stories, but often, for better or worse, finds himself at the turning point of a story where in an ideal world the more conventional hero really ought to be. Audiences can be assured that he is not the kind of man who can do more than one pull-up, be counted on to always find the right solution over the most entertaining solution, and most certainly of all, learn anything meaningful about life or humanity over the course of a given story. I am delighted to see what you readers will think of my tales and characters and what you judge them to be for yourselves. Most frequently I feel natural writing a story out through thick layers of humor guided along by a brisk, confident pacing like the stride between two blind men who haven't realized the other is blind leading each other across a busy street. You can reasonably expect my stories to quickly rush up to the limit of where you will expect things to go and then take that one step over the edge, and I do hope you will enjoy every word, it's what I wrote them for.
What else do you do in your free time? Do you have any other hobbies or pursuits?
I rather like to keep my free time overbooked with as many things, equally ridiculous as my stories, as possible. I like long walks on the beach, traveling to any place less geographically level than central Indiana, which thankfully is almost everywhere, I play semi-professionally in the chamber folk band “Willoughby Sprig,” I am told that my volunteer tours of the Indiana Central State mental hospital are very “...enlightening,” I occasionally build my own home electronics out of unconventional things, and my dream is to one day photo-bomb the James Webb Space Telescope. I am truly blessed to have a cat that judges me abusively if I do not stop things I am working on and go to bed at a healthy hour.
You really helped shape the feel of the Rim in 10,000 Dawns, a place that our readers have yet to explore in depth! What sort of adventures can we expect to see out there? What drew you to it?
I have been, more or less, the creative designer of the Rim in the 10kd universe with the generous help of many other writers here like Andrew McLung, Taylor Elliott, Miguel Ramirez, and of course James Wylder. I took a rather passionate liking to working on the societies out there due to our need to write them as wild, frequently irrational, and possessing a far wider range of cultural differences than are found on Earth and Mars. With the story centered around a time when humanity looked to the stars, pushed boldly out to the edges of our solar system and then said “eh, that's good enough,” the Rim becomes a place where people live ignored, desperate, short, but clever and exhilarating lives, mostly free from the powers of the planets, and organized into ever-warring gangs that might frequently be underestimated by the strong power of Earth. Readers can expect locations on the Rim to be strange and turbulent, and the characters from the Rim to hold dreams, specifically of the big and dangerous variety. Expect pirates with cybernetic bodies to be taking big risks for big payoffs. Expect crazed space-prospectors to ramble madly about pods of probably equally crazed space-whales they saw swimming past Neptune. Expect floating cities on the oceans beneath Europa's icy crust. Expect violently temperamental and shadowy gang bosses to be hatching layers of convoluted schemes against each other and the powerful governments of the inner planets. Expect remarkable space stations that could be possessed by ghosts. Expect scientists that my no means should have lived as long as they have to be messing with things that they really shouldn't be, and of course, expect our heroes to be right in the midst of it, holding their own.
If you could punch any 10kd character, who would it be and why?
I probably wouldn't punch any of them because its a universe where people are likely to punch back very hard.
Is there Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
Many, many thanks to all you readers and supporters for the time and interest you give to this project. We couldn't do something like this without you, well, okay, actually we could but it would be pointless and dismal. I am trilled to be working on these new bits to come out and I hope you are all just as excited, and if not, then I hope the sheer strength of your obdurance is consolation enough for reading this entire article against your better judgement. Best wishes to you and happy reading.
Thank you so much for talking with us Jordan!