As I get closer to publishing the next book, I’ll be writing some posts describing the world in which the story takes place. Mostly because when you create a really cool sandbox, it’s fun to play in it.

Chicago. Somewhere around the year 2100, though most people can’t believe how little’s changed. They’re still working, still buying food from a store, and robots haven’t infiltrated every corner of life. In fact, if you manage to listen in the right corners, you’ll hear whispers about how much better things used to be. How perfection has become anything but.

Promises were made, and those promises float overhead every day. Mechanized overseers, doing the bidding of a new aristocracy chosen not by wealth, not by (as if) popular vote, but by random chance. The drones hover like clouds, cataloging everything – metal angels for the Paragons.

Roll a dice. If the number comes up six, roll it again. Do that four more times and, if you nail that six every time, then you’ve found the odds that’ll place you above everyone else. Anomalies began arising decades ago, and with them came at first the accolades pitched in every superhero story since the dawn of time. At first that’s what they were, too – leaders and champions, guardians of society. 

Humans, though, have a way of spoiling their strengths. The anomalies began to feel used. Yanked around by politicians who needed a smile next to their election campaigns, forced into service by grubby dictators who saw them as another tool, pushed into servitude by normals who saw anomalies as de facto public servants, whatever the anomaly’s own desires.

Play with fire, the saying goes, and you’re going to get burnt. Normals see the evidence in front of them all day long. In Chicago, the Paragon’s tower dominates downtown. Would-be heroes meander, tasked according to the precepts of a world designed to maximize productivity and minimize suffering and that truly succeeds at neither. Greed has changed its stock market for a super-suit. Ambition, like a river, flows around the dams constructed by the original Paragons, those Champions who wrested the world from its discordant dance and froze it in their invincible grip.

Now, that grip thaws. Both normals and anomalies begin to sense, as the Champions grow old, that change is coming. Chicago hums with a new energy, and many hands, normals and anomalies, Paragons and humbled companies, move to use it. The world order doesn’t change often, and there’s only room for one at the top.

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