The Pacific Northwest

An odd entry you might think. A whole year of writing short stories one a week, with a note to blog once a week and… we’re talking about regions of America?

Well, there’s a tie in.

I’ve never had the opportunity to go to the Pacific Northwest, but I feel like  I’ve been there. The region calls to me to be perfectly honest. For about a year, I was seized by a kind of madness. I did a lot of research into the Portland area. It seems like a place where the arts are feasible as a way of making a living. Weird stuff comes from it. Most importantly, it’s where Powell’s Books is – a kind of mecca to the passionate bibliophile. I’d love to live there I think.

But if I want to be really honest, I’m attracted to the Pacific Northeast because of Shadowrun. The Emerald City is the nexus for all things Shadowrun. In the continuity of Shadowrun, Seattle is a unique city because it’s a treaty city. It’s surrounded by mostly unsympathetic new nations (most of which administered by Native American Nations that rose to power in North America on a waxing tide of magic), and extraterritorial corporate holdings. It’s a smuggler’s paradise and home to corporate intrigue because of nothing more than proximity to extralegal oppotunity. I spent years of my life playing RPGs set in this universe and came to identify with the Native American art that came from it (extensively featured in early editions of the game), the literary genres that it espoused (both sci-fi and fantasy), and the wariness of trusting anyone with too much power or ambition (never, EVER, deal with Dragons).

If that wasn’t enough, a top five favorite series, Dead Like Me, is also part and parcel, a Seattle-centric thing. The tale of Georgia Lass becoming a Grim Reaper is set among the fir trees and moss covered shingles of the Seattle area.

Top it off with my new found interest in a show I missed as a kid, Twin Peaks, and you can see why I turn my eye repeatedly to the region. It’s a place I have seen in film, television, and culture (RPGs are a cultural thing – just accept this) that it’s a place I should like to go to sooner rather than later.

It’s a place with good stories behind it (did you know there’s an entire, somewhat preserved city beneath Seattle proper?) and good stories set in it (Like Stumptown, a crime comic set in Portland).

Maybe I can get some inspiration if I head out there and see it for myself. I think it’s a goal I should set for the next two years – get to the Pacific Northwest. My girlfriend can visit her family out there  and we can see the sites.

We’ll put that under the resolutions column and call it at that for now.

But, more than anything else, I have stories from there even though I’ve never been. That’s the power of good stories I guess – being able to take the reader to a place they have never smelled, or heard, or touched but make it still feel tangible and brimming with potential, and maybe even bring them there to see it for themselves. I try to get a little of that with my stories too – I want you to see the strange and alien vistas in my head. Kowloon-M, the world of the Rigored, the Servants of the Road, Ossua itself. I think that people might like these places I’ve created and fostered behind my eyes and between my ears.

Maybe they could become your Seattles.

Let’s work on that shall we?

I’ve set out to edit both Haints and the R’yleh Anomaly this weekend – one with a world estranged from our own, and another where the familiar hides only the unfathomable. If it is successful, those stories will come down from the site and the shopping process will begin.

And that’s what I have for the week, folks. Read in good health.

About the author: Maurice

Maurice Hopkins is an author, illustrator, blogger and part-time columnist for He is easily bribed with publishing offers, experience points, and diabetic-friendly cookies.