Shortly after finishing my novel Alterra, a scene came to me. The
setting would be on Asura, some hundred years or so after the walls
first went up. The society inside the walls would have operated
completely oblivious to what the Deranged had been up to for that
century, and the more time passed, the more certain they would become
that their defenses were impenetrable. Until, inexplicably, a boy,
seemingly human, would somehow appear inside the walls.
However, in 2014, I had no idea what to do with this idea. I didn’t know
who the boy was, why he was there, who would find him, or even what the
Deranged had become that would make them send a person inside the walls
in this way.
It took until 2019 for me to answer all those questions. For over two years, I
had struggled on and off with a difficult novel project: how to take the US political disaster
of the 2016 election and translate those issues and concerns into a
science fiction narrative. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it took
me all that time to come back to that idea I’d had, you know, the one
involving giant walls.
That scene became the flashpoint for The Other, and I loved how it
fit into the narrative. I liked it so
much that I commissioned an illustration of it from Zhivko Zhelev,
which turned out wonderfully.
I don’t have any plans to produce a limited edition hardcover run of
The Other anytime soon, but when I do, you can bet this illustration
will feature inside it.