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The Vinland Invasion of Jorvik

Outland’s very own Ian Stuart Sharpe went Viking with what was billed as the “Vinland Invasion” of the Jorvik Viking Festival in the UK. You might not be old enough to remember the British Invasion, but you still feel its effects. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the...

The Soulless by Kate Martin Acquired

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Gwendolyn Nix gwen@outlandentertainment.com DARK FANTASY NOVEL ACQUIRED BY OUTLAND ENTERTAINMENT Novelist Kate Martin joins Outland Entertainment family with The Soulless KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI (MARCH 2, 2020)—A new dark epic...

Where the Veil is Thin Announced!

Hello folks! So, coming in February, will be a campaign for our latest anthology - Where the Veil is Thin. Featuring stories from David Bowles, Seanan McGuire, Glenn Parris, Shanna Swendson, Gwendolyn N. Nix, L. Penelope, Alethea Kontis, Linda Robertson, Grey Yuen,...

APEX LAUNCHED

Hello everybody! It took us a while, but APEX: Collected Edition is now LIVE on Kickstarter! Thank you for being patient, giving us feedback, and sticking with us while we sorted out all the details to give this the biggest chance of success as possible. We appreciate...

APEX to Launch January 7th!

Hello everybody! We're well aware that we've had multiple announcements for the launch of APEX: The Collected Edition on Kickstarter and apologize for that. We were excited about getting the game back out there and we made announcements prematurely. To that end, I...

Fox & Willow Acquired by Outland Entertainment

Fox & Willow, an online grim fairytale series, has been acquired by Outland Entertainment. Written by Allison Pang and illustrated by Irma ‘Aimo’ Ahmed, Fox & Willow debuted in April 2012 and has maintained a strong fanbase ever since. Following the runaway princess, Willow, and her mischievous fox spirit companion, Gideon, the overarching plot…

APEX Kickstarter Launch Date Revisited

Hello everybody! I know that we announced the hard launch date for the Kickstarter for APEX: Collected Edition yesterday. When we announced that, we felt pretty sure we were ready to roll, but we had a significant amount of feedback on the campaign. Because of how the...

APEX Kickstarter Launch Date!

Okay folks! We finally have news. We're planning to launch the APEX: Collected Edition on Tuesday, December 10th. Here's a preview of the campaign that you can check out before launch!...

Final 20 Hours of The Jötunn War Issue 02 Kickstarter!

The Jötunn War Issue 02 just reached it's primary funding goal on Kickstarter! We're now at the final 20 hours of the campaign and we're hoping to raise funds for issue three! Thank you all so much for your continued support! The Jötunn War is a FOUR ISSUE graphic...

Apex Kickstarter Update

Hello everybody! A quick update on the status of the upcoming Apex Theropod: Deckbuilding Game Collected Edition Kickstarter. We had expected to launch the Kickstarter last week, but it took a little longer than we anticipated to get all the details in from the...
The Soulless by Kate Martin Acquired

The Soulless by Kate Martin Acquired

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Nix

gwen@outlandentertainment.com

DARK FANTASY NOVEL ACQUIRED BY OUTLAND ENTERTAINMENT

Novelist Kate Martin joins Outland Entertainment family with The Soulless

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI (MARCH 2, 2020)—A new dark epic fantasy called The Soulless by up-and-coming novelist Kate Martin has been acquired by Outland Entertainment. The Soulless presents a new twist on the traditional story of seraphs, witches, and demons by intertwining original characters into a reimagined world. When a young man of unknown origins is pulled deeper and deeper into supernatural politics and war, he must use his own power to keep everything he loves from falling into the hands of a demon god—all the while discovering the truth of his parentage.

“I am so excited to be working with Outland Entertainment to bring The Soulless to shelves everywhere!” said Kate Martin. “Of all the stories I’ve written, this is the one I am most proud of to date. I’ve been watching the work Outland has been doing, and I am thrilled that The Soulless has found a home with them.”

“I’m pleased to be able to continue growing Outland’s dark fantasy titles with The Soulless,” Gwendolyn Nix, senior editor with Outland Entertainment, said regarding the new acquisition. “Kate has created an incredibly unique and engaging world with striking characters. I can’t wait to work with her to publish this story.”

The Soulless expects a 2021 release from Outland Entertainment.

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ABOUT KATE MARTIN

Kate Martin is the author of numerous novels and short stories–some public, some secret, but almost all delving into the world of the fantastic. When not writing, she can be found either teaching dance, or–more likely–at home with her two daughters, grumpy cat, and English teacher husband. There are a lot of books in the house. Which is good, because they live in New England–where it is usually too cold, or too hot, and rarely the perfect temperature. Follow her on Instagram at @katewmartin.

ABOUT OUTLAND ENTERTAINMENT

Outland Entertainment was founded as a creative services company in 2008 by Jeremy Mohler. Since then, Outland has worked for a wide variety of clients across the world. Outland specializes in assembling creative teams and managing projects. Contact them via their site form or go to www.outlandentertainment.com. For more information, contact Jeremy Mohler at jeremy@outlandentertainment.com.

Where the Veil is Thin Announced!

Where the Veil is Thin Announced!

Hello folks!

So, coming in February, will be a campaign for our latest anthology – Where the Veil is Thin.

Featuring stories from David Bowles, Seanan McGuire, Glenn Parris, Shanna Swendson, Gwendolyn N. Nix, L. Penelope, Alethea Kontis, Linda Robertson, Grey Yuen, Minsoo Kang, Carlos Hernandez, C.S.E Cooney, Zin E. Rocklyn, and edited by Cerece Rennie Murphy and Alana Joli Abbott! Foreward by Jim C. Hines.

Around the world, there are tales of creatures that live in mist or shadow, hidden from humans by only the slightest veil. In Where the Veil Is Thin, these creatures step into the light. Some are small and harmless. Some are bizarre mirrors of this world. Some have hidden motives, while others seek justice against humans who have wronged them.

In these pages, you will meet blood-sucking tooth fairies and gentle boo hags, souls who find new shapes after death and changelings seeking a way to fit into either world. You will cross the veil—but be careful that you remember the way back.

Here’s the preview page! We welcome feedback!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1982216861/1663873173?ref=3e2w24&token=01c54bda

Ian Stuart Sharpe on the Jotunn War Cover Process

Ian Stuart Sharpe on the Jotunn War Cover Process

One of the ideas that fascinates me most as an author are the symbols we use throughout history.

For example, the cover of the latest issue of the Jötunn War is a pastiche of a well known WWI poster. We have subverted the Army Air Service American Eagle and added in a raven, very much a Norse symbol.

Because the whole premise of the Vikingverse is that the Norse never Christianised – and in my alternate history, even conquered Rome – it is the Raven banner and not the eagle that flutters proudly across the Norse Empire. Same idea, different reality!

You might wonder why artists and propagandists were so keen on the eagles in the first place….

The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks, and also because it was then believed to exist only on the American continent. But the eagle as a heraldic device goes further back. The Reichsadler (German “Imperial Eagle”, also featured in the original) is derived from the Roman eagle standard, used by the Holy Roman Emperors and in modern coats of arms of Germany, including those of the Second German Empire (1871–1918) and the Third Reich (Nazi Germany, 1933–1945).

It was meant to embody the reference to the Roman tradition similar to the double-headed eagle used by the Palaiologi emperors of the Byzantine Empire or the tsars of Russia. It’s all about power and legitimacy.

But we all know history is rewritten by the victors, and in my setting that means Vikings! So, go and tell people to buy up War Bonds/make a Kickstarter pledge.

The Empire needs YOU!

Ian Stuart Sharpe

NEW COMIC, ORC GIRL & GOBBO, RELEASES FROM OUTLAND ENTERTAINMENT

NEW COMIC, ORC GIRL & GOBBO, RELEASES FROM OUTLAND ENTERTAINMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Nix

gwen@outlandentertainment.com

NEW COMIC, ORC GIRL & GOBBO, RELEASES FROM OUTLAND ENTERTAINMENT

 New Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Comic Releases on March 29, 2019

TOPEKA, KANSAS (March 29, 2019)—Orc Girl & Gobbo, a new comic series from Outland Entertainment releases on March 29, 2019. Created and illustrated by Chris Yarbrough, Orc Girl & Gobbo follows the story of an orc runt swordswoman and goblin pup, last of his hive, as they explore a world full of horrors and adventure. A fast-paced humorous action fantasy, this comic launches into a land where civilization sits on the brink of collapse and an unknown evil ravage the landscape, only known as “The Horror.”

Orc Girl and Gobbo came to me in a dream, two years ago,” explained Chris Yarbrough. “Since then they, and the world they inhabit, have kind of taken over my mind. Almost every night when I go to sleep, I am plotting out some element of their characters, or the larger world. Frequently, this leads to more dreams, and I jot those down in the morning. I have so many stories in my head, it’s good to finally do something with one of them,” Yarbrough continued. “I think this is my best work so far, and I hope people enjoy it.”

“Chris and I have been working together for several years now—he’s one of the most talented and creative artists I’ve had the pleasure to work with, ” said Outland Entertainment’s Creative Director Jeremy Mohler. “When he brought up the idea for Orc Girl & Gobbo, I knew that Outland had to help him get it out!”

Orc Girl & Gobbo will release on March 29, 2019 and will be available online and wherever books are sold.

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ABOUT ORC GIRL & GOBBO

In ancient Eld Sirrah, land of thunder, civilization is on the brink of collapse. Ravaged by a century of a terrible curse, all but the mightiest of kingdoms have turned to dust. Abandoned cities and holdfasts of the old world juts like sinister teeth, ravaged by “The Horror.” It is an age of vast frontiers, an age of redrawn maps and splintered axes. It is an age of bronze, iron, and magic. It is an age of adventure!

Such an age cannot turn without heroes, and heroes are in no short supply! Here we find an orc runt swordswoman and a goblin pup, last of his hive. Together, they will ride screaming into legend, but first their tale must be told. This is the tale of Orc Girl and Gobbo.

ABOUT CHRIS YARBROUGH

Chris Yarbrough is a middling illustrator, slacker, sometime writer, force of nature, and all around actual human person.

He’s done many things you’ve never seen, some you may have (Radiation Day). He’s crowdfunded, but he’s no stranger to running from a crowd. He’s had a pencil in his hand since he was two, and done actual useful things with a pencil since he was twenty-two. He talks to crows, but they never talk back. One time, he even ate a whole spaghetti!

Chris is not a cannibal despite anything you, or anyone you know, may have heard. And, that’s final.

ABOUT OUTLAND ENTERTAINMENT

Outland Entertainment was founded as a creative services company in 2008 by Jeremy Mohler. Since then, Outland has worked for a wide variety of clients across the world. Outland specializes in assembling creative teams and managing projects. Contact them via their site form or go to www.outlandentertainment.com. For more information, contact Jeremy Mohler at jeremy@outlandentertainment.com.

 

NEW VIKINGVERSE GRAPHIC NOVEL, THE JÖTUNN WAR, LAUNCHES ON KICKSTARTER

NEW VIKINGVERSE GRAPHIC NOVEL, THE JÖTUNN WAR, LAUNCHES ON KICKSTARTER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Nix

gwen@outlandentertainment.com

NEW VIKINGVERSE GRAPHIC NOVEL, THE JÖTUNN WAR, LAUNCHES ON KICKSTARTER

The first of a four-issue graphic novel brings Norse history to life this March

TOPEKA, KANSAS (March 22, 2019)— The Jötunn War, a brand-new addition to the Vikingverse universe created by Ian Stuart Sharpe, launches on Kickstarter on March 22, 2019. The first of a four-issue graphic novel series and a follow up of Sharpe’s debut novel The All Father Paradox, The Jötunn War is an alternate universe where the Norse rule the stars with restless fleets and an iron will. When the thralls rebel, turning to the artifice of Norns to help them escape their bondage, the Natural order is thrown into chaos, causing a war that will rage across the Nine Homeworlds. Will the thrall rebellion change the Norse way of life? Or will the Empire crush them with flame and fury?

“When we first acquired The All Father Paradox, I knew the Vikingverse setting had so much potential for trans-media storytelling,” said Outland Entertainment’s Editor-in-Chief, Alana Joli Abbott. “To see the first comic coming into fruition is truly exciting—and while it stands alone, readers of the novel will get extra insight into some mysterious characters…”

“It’s been a real delight to see the stories we started telling in The All Father Paradox take on a visceral urgency in comic form,” explained Vikingverse creator Ian Stuart Sharpe. “Norse mythology is a fascinating lens through which to take a view of the world. History is full of titanic battles, from David vs. Goliath to the Axis vs. Allies, but The Jötunn War is literally as big as it gets.”

The Kickstarter will support the printing and distribution of the graphic novel’s completed first issue. Other stretch goals include upgrades of printing specs, such as a glossier cover and higher quality paper, and finally the ability to fund the printing and distribution of the second graphic novel set in the Vikingverse.

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ABOUT VIKINGVERSE

The Vikingverse is the alternate universe that results when Odin escapes his doom at Ragnarok; a parallel timeline where Vikings rule seas and stars and the storied heroes of mankind emerge in new and brutal guises drawn from the sagas. Hang on tightly, ’cause the Free World just got thrown to the wolves and the meek shan’t inherit this Earth.

ABOUT IAN STUART SHARPE

Ian Stuart Sharpe was born in London, UK, and now lives in British Columbia, Canada. Having worked for the BBC, IMG, Atari and Electronic Arts, he is now CEO of a tech start up. As a child he discovered his love of books, sci-fi and sagas: devouring the works of Douglas Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, and George MacDonald Fraser alongside Snorri Sturluson and Sigvat the Skald. He once won a prize at school for Outstanding Progress and chose a dictionary as his reward, secretly wishing it had been an Old Norse phrasebook. The All Father Paradox is his first novel.

ABOUT OUTLAND ENTERTAINMENT

Outland Entertainment was founded as a creative services company in 2008 by Jeremy Mohler. Since then, Outland has worked for a wide variety of clients across the world. Outland specializes in assembling creative teams and managing projects. Contact them via their site form or go to www.outlandentertainment.com. For more information, contact Jeremy Mohler at jeremy@outlandentertainment.com.

Reclaiming Norse Mythology from the Nazis by Ian Stuart Sharpe

Reclaiming Norse Mythology from the Nazis by Ian Stuart Sharpe

It is one of the most iconic scenes in modern cinematic history:  Indiana Jones is in a desperate race against the Nazis, a lone hero battling against the entire German war machine to prevent an ancient artefact of immense power from falling into the wrong hands.

Of course, as is often the case, the truth is stranger than fiction. Nazi Germany really was obsessed with uncovering ancient texts and lost knowledge, and had a special division devoted to the pursuit of artefacts: the Ahnenerbe. This shadowy organization began as a prehistoric research institute, devoted to exploring German ancestral heritage. From inception, the group’s founders were obsessed with the legend Atlantis and the mystical powers of “Blood and Soil.” Himmler soon incorporated the group into the feared SS, but they remained an ideological factory, a thinktank, with fifty different branches and more than one hundred research projects in the field—archaeological expeditions and excavations seeking proof or propaganda that could advance the worldview that Germans were the master race.

Norse mythology spoke to the men of this new, resurgent Germany. The sagas recalled an age of unity, a timeless purity that existed in Northern Europe. The popular imagery of Vikings as a fierce warrior culture, willing to defend their lands in the name of Valhalla, resonated with the SS: the double sig-runes they used as their insignia represented victory. The Ahnenerbe craved links to the bold, brave North.

One such link was the venerable Snartemo sword, found on a farm in 1933 by two farmers, buried in a hidden tomb dating back to the early 6th century. Inside the tomb were rare fabrics, bear claws, and a magnificent sword. A sword with a gold-plated hilt, entwined with ornate geometric patterns.

And swastikas.

In Hitler’s own words, this ancient symbol “signified the mission allotted to us—the struggle for the victory of Aryan mankind.” Germans had become obsessed with swastikas the moment Heinrich Schliemann discovered the hooked cross on the site of ancient Troy in the 1870s. They linked it to similar shapes found on German artefacts and concluded that it was a “significant religious symbol of our remote ancestors”—the remote ancestors that gave legitimacy to Himmler’s outlandish claims, pseudo-science, and fake history. The swastika was like the Nazi North Star.

In 1936 an International Congress was held in Oslo, with a special exhibition of the Snartemo sword discovery as the main attraction. The Ahnenerbe were, unsurprisingly there in force, following their guiding star towards glory. So much so that some Norwegian archaeologists foresaw a problem, and, with great pragmatism, hid the Snartemo sword and its swastika hilt in a vault of a remote bank. Only a few academics knew of the plan, and these Norwegian Indiana Joneses kept their secret well. The invading German forces were never able to find the original and made do with a replica, recreated from drawings.

Historical revisionism

Not so long ago, the swastika meant something very different. In the years following the sensational discovery of Troy, the symbol popped up everywhere, in vogue as a good luck charm: in Rudyard Kipling’s signature, on Coca-Cola pendants, Carlsberg beer bottles, American army shoulder patches, and even Boy Scout merit badges. Charles Lindbergh had one emblazoned on the nose cone of the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927.

The swastika genuinely does have a long history, used as sacred symbol in pre-Christian religions by Hindus, Shintoists, Odinists, and Druids. The sign usually represented the sun, and the original Norse name for it was the fylfot. Vikings used it as a decoration on a bucket found on the Oseberg ship dating to 800 AD. A version of a swastika, the sun cross, adorns the top of the Gosforth cross which is central to the novel, The All Father Paradox. The antagonist of the novel knows the power of symbols only too well: ““This leathery old binding, these spindly tattoos, they tell a saga. These marks are the birthright of my people; they bind me to the dead.”

Today, continuing Nazi connotations mean that swastikas are beyond redemption in the West. But in many senses, the same ideological war once waged by the Ahnenerbe continues on other fronts. Norse symbols, once coveted by the Nazis for their raw power and ancient heritage, are now contested by rival groups of pagans, Neo-Nazis, and advertisers seeking to exploit them for their own benefit. Vikings themselves have become a symbol, representing at best adventure, risk, individual spirit, and daring and at worst, xenophobia, purification of ethnicity, and male violence. There is a berserker rage felt keenly by those white males who feel under siege by immigrants and #MeToo, an anger that some modern politicians have encouraged (and it is a sentiment that the antagonist in the novel is happy to exploit too).

But this imagery is largely mediated through popular culture rather than from the original folklore of North Germanic pre-Christian Europe. Simply put, the way we perceive Vikings today has little to do with the reality of the Viking Age and everything to do with the way we want to see ourselves. It is the greatest of ironies that Vikings, once demonised as the scourge of Europe, are now a talisman for those who are mortally afraid.

Perhaps it is time to stop hiding in the illusions of the past and start building a future built on practical reality. If the story of the Snartemo sword teaches us anything, it is that when people try to use their heritage and symbols as weapons, the true sons of Vikings will just sensibly and quietly spirit them away.

The modern Ahnenerbe

In the dying days of summer 2018, posting and commenting as @vikingverse, I came across an Instagram post. Using the tag #VikingFacts and the slogan “Facts. Not Revisionism”, the account was proclaiming that:

  • “The Aesir are your ancestors and not gods”
  • The reference to gods is an “Abrahamised mistranslation.”

It seemed the Ahnenerbe were still peddling their own warped reality. Imagine: Thor, Odin, Loki and Heimdall—all part of the family. The DNA testing kit business would go into meltdown.

I wondered, did the poster really believe his post? On what grounds?

There is a long tradition of linking myth with real historical events or personages. It’s called Euhemerism, and it supposes that historical accounts become myths as they are exaggerated in the retelling, accumulating elaborations and alterations over the centuries.

It’s a great propaganda tool in any argument. The early Christians, hostile to paganism, embraced euhemerism in attempt to undermine the validity of pagan gods. Cohortatio ad gentes, they would cry—”Those to whom you bow were once men like yourselves”.

Several centuries later, presumably to curry favour with King Hákon Hákonarson, Snorri Sturluson euhemerised Thor as a prince of Troy in the prologue to his Prose Edda, thereby linking his King to the very cradle of civilization and the Norse gods in one deft sentence. In all likelihood, this one book helped Himmler “join the dots” to his hoped-for past glory and predecessors.

I pointed out some of this background to the poster, mentioning that Æsir is the plural of áss, which is attested in other Germanic languages, like the Old English ōs, and for good measure, adding that the word had been traced back through its Indo-European roots to Sanskrit. It quite definitely meant God, I posted, and the Christians hadn’t meddled with etymology.

There was a momentary flurry of abuse, and then I was banned, my comments deleted. The rest of the account drips with misogynism and machismo—I should have looked more closely. After some research, I found out that the owner of the account is a Frenchman. Suffice to say he doesn’t speak Old Norse, or have a military background, or any of the other things he claims.

I like to think there is a different between writing fantasy and living it, but clearly for some people, the line is somewhat blurred.

***

IAN STUART SHARPE

Ian Sharpe was born in London, UK, and now lives in British Columbia, Canada. Having worked for the BBC, IMG, Atari and Electronic Arts, he is now CEO of a tech start up. As a child he discovered his love of books, sci-fi and sagas: devouring the works of Douglas Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and George MacDonald Fraser alongside Snorri Sturluson and Sigvat the Skald. He once won a prize at school for Outstanding Progress and chose a dictionary as his reward, secretly wishing it had been an Old Norse phrasebook. The All Father Paradox is his first novel.