There’s much going on right now with my Aculeo & Amunet stories.
Both Bride of the Swamp God and Lair of the White Ape have gathered some good reviews, and there’s more stories coming, and much else.
What started as a good idea – to me, at least – and two characters I like very much, is about to get bigger, and hopefully better.
So now I’m dreaming up a name for my series.
Granted, I’ll always refer to my stories as the “Aculeo & Amunet Stories” – they are after all character-driven stories, and those are the characters driving them.
They are good characters, and I like them a lot, and I like the alliteration.
A&A – nice and smooth.
It’s really a matter of marketing – while my Aculeo & Amunet series is good and fine as such, it could be handy having a second label for my sword & sorcery stories, something to do with the setting, not with the characters.
After all, I might choose to use different characters in the same setting in some future stories.
Or, what about a roleplaying game deal?
While the Conan RPG is good and fine, an Aculeo & Amunet RPG does not sound as good – might work as a sub-title (“Whatever and Whatnot, the Aculeo & Amunet RPG“).
The Fafhrd & Gray Mouser game, after all, was called the Lankhmar City of Adventure RPG.
I thought about how to go about it.
Did some tests.
I picked the brains of my team.
And then I made a list – what’s in my Aculeo & Amunet stories that makes them unique, and mine.
So let’s see…
There’s Aculeo and Amunet, obviously.
As a sub-genre, the stories are sword & sorcery, or sword & sandal, or sword & tentacle, or peplum.
The series could also be labeled historical fantasy, or pseudo-historical fantasy.
There’s swords – gladius and pugio, that is – and enchantments.
The stories take place all over the map of the ancient world, both in the West and the East, both inside and outside of the Roman Empire (and other assorted empires).
There’s tentacles and monsters and weird cults lurking in the darker corners of the ancient world.
The series takes place during the Third Century Crisis.
But let’s face it – Sword & Tentacle Crisis sounds like a bad bawdy anime from the early ’90s.
Gladius & Pugio is fine with Aculeo, but leaves delightful Amunet and her dark arts – Egyptian Heka – out of the picture.
And Gladius & Heka sucks, as a title for a series.
Granted, Dark Corners of the World is a smashing title – and in fact there’s a videogame called Dark Corners of the Earth, based on the works by H.P. Lovecraft.
So I racked my mind for quite a while.
There is not a single word that I might use, nor a nice geographical/historical name, nor a smart pair of words connected by an “&”.
But there is something that runs through my stories and unifies them, and also describes quite aptly the venues of my characters’ adventures.
Aculeo and Amunet move at the margins, explore the borders, travel the offbeat tracks and the back waters of the ancient world.
So… Beyond the Black Stump?
Too flippant, too Australian.
But why not Peripheries of the Ancient World?
The Aculeo & Amunest Stories – also known as the Peripheries of the Ancient World series.
Might work, don’t you think?