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APEX Kickstarter Launch Date!

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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

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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...

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Storytime with Ian: Who are the Jötnar?

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. See, that’s where the Christianity has it all wrong. All good Vikings knew the real story of how it all really began. The same way it will all end. With giants. Ginnungagap was the great emptiness before there...
Final 20 Hours of The Jötunn War Issue 02 Kickstarter!

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 novel that takes place in the worlds of the Vikingverse and is a follow-up to the the full-fledged novel, The All Father Paradox. You can find more about The Jötunn War Issue 01 here!

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A war as old as time, where fate itself hangs in the balance.

In the Vikingverse,  the Norse rule the stars with restless fleets and an iron will. But  when the thralls rebel, turning to the artifice of Norns to help them  escape their bondage, the Natural order is thrown into chaos.

The Jötunn War has been fought across the Nine Homeworlds to  contain the threat, a battle against the stuff of ancient nightmares,  red in tooth and claw. Jötunheim is the rebellion’s last redoubt, an  indignity the Empire planned to cleanse with flame and fury.

But now Emperor Dietbald is dead, his army annihilated at Vimur  River. As the last desperate survivors rally on the planet below, the  Norse fleet prepares to rain vengeance on their eternal foe.

The Jötunn War. Go Big or Go Home in a body bag.

***

We’ve brought it to Kickstarter to help fund the printing of the second issue. The second issue itself is COMPLETE. It’s a 22 page comic that is completely finished! We just need a little help getting it into print  and out into the world.

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

Storytime with Ian: Who are the Jötnar?

Storytime with Ian: Who are the Jötnar?

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”.

See, that’s where the Christianity has it all wrong. All good Vikings knew the real story of how it all really began. The same way it will all end.

With giants.

Ginnungagap was the great emptiness before there was the world, flanked by two inhospitable realms. There was Muspelheim, crossed by endless rivers of boiling poison and vast lakes of fire; and Niflheim, where icy volcanoes spewed forth frozen mists and arctic waters. Sparks and smoke met layers of rime and frost in the yawning void and from them came the first being.

A Jötunn, Ymir, appeared in the melting ice. From his sweat, the first Jötnar were born. Ymir fed on the milk of the primeval cow Auðumbla, also born of the meltwater. She licked the blocks of salty ice, releasing Búri, who was large, powerful, and beautiful to behold.

In time, Búri’s son Borr had three sons: the gods Óðinn, Vili, and Vé. The three sons of Borr had no use for Ymir and his growing family of cruel and brutish giants, so they attacked and killed him. So much blood flowed from the body that it drowned all the other giants except for two—Bergelmir and his wife escaped. They stole away in a hollowed-out tree trunk, a makeshift boat floating on the sea of gore to safety, to a land they named Jötunheim, home of the giants.

From Ymir’s body, the brothers made the world of humans: his blood, the seas and lakes, his flesh, the earth, his bones, the mountains and his teeth the rocks. From his skull, they made the dome of the sky, setting a dwarf at each of the four corners to hold it high above the earth. They protected the world from the Jötnar with a wall made from Ymir’s eyebrows. Next, they caused time to exist and placed the orbs of the sun and moon in chariots which were to circle around the sky.

Finally, the three brothers built their own realm. Ásgarð, a mighty stronghold, with green plains and shining palaces high over Miðgarð. They built the rainbow bridge Bifröst to link the realms. The Æsir, the guardians of men, crossed over the bridge and settled in Ásgarð.

There the gods would dwell, ever vigilant, until Ragnarok, the long-heralded last battle, where the monstrous Jötnar set about destroying the entire cosmos. Fenrir, the great wolf, consumes the world so swiftly that even the sun is dragged from its zenith and into the beast’s stomach.

The Jötnar have a pivotal role in Norse mythology. To the men of the North, the Jötnar had the power of oncoming storms, roaring volcanoes, and the clamorous oceans – in some sense, they were the personification of the merciless and indifferent power of Nature. They were the sires of the gods, their spouses and lovers, their constant foes and their inevitable doom.

And while the Jötnar are described as a race of beings distinct from the gods – as well as other creatures such as humans, elves, and dwarves – they are somewhat ambiguously described, both in their physique and their character. Some jötnar, such as Skrymir (who is known also as Útgarða-Loki), are depicted as being of an immense size, thus giving rise to the translation of the word ‘jötunn’ into English as ‘giant’.

Some jötnar, such as Skaði, were said to be extremely beautiful – in the Poetic Edda poem Grímnismál, Odin mentions the “ancient courts” of Þrymheimr, noting that the jötunn Þjazi once lived there, and that now his daughter Skaði does. Odin refers to Skaði as “the shining bride of the gods” and in some tales, the pair go on to marry and give birth to nations of kings. Some scholars go so far as to suggest that Scandinavia may be related to the name Skaði (potentially meaning ‘Skaði’s island’).

Other Jötnar were hideous. It is told in Snorri Sturluson’s Gylfaginning that at Baldr’s funeral his wife Nanna died of grief and was placed alongside him on his pyre. Hringhorni, Baldr’s ship, was the largest of all such vessels and was to serve as the god’s funeral ship. No one, however, could seem to launch the boat out to sea. The gods then enlisted the help of Hyrrokkin, who came from Jötunheimr, arriving on a giant wolf with vipers as reins. When she dismounted, Odin summoned four berserks to look after the animal but they were unable to control it without first rendering it unconscious. With her seismic strength, the giantess rolled the boat into the water.

In the Vikingverse, these stories and characters are more than just ancient myth. In the way that the Bible forms the daily bread of many devout Christians, the Jötnar are part of the fabric of society and its belief system.

Let me give you an example:

We were all recently horrified by the fire at Notre Dame. Social media was full of people’s personal memories, their own connection with the great stone cathedral and all and relics. We felt all felt a sense of profound loss.

All of a sudden, the Gargoyles on the roof were suddenly leering out of memory, all across the internet. Not bad for a beast used by the Catholic Church to illustrate evil.

French legend tells of St. Romanus, bishop of Rouen, who delivered the country from a monster called Gargouille. La Gargouille is said to have been the typical dragon with bat-like wings, a long neck, and the ability to breathe fire from its mouth. Multiple versions of the story are given, either that St. Romanus subdued the creature with a crucifix, or he captured the creature with the help of the only volunteer, a condemned man. In each, the monster is led back to Rouen and burned, but its head and neck would not burn due to being tempered by its own fire breath. The head was then mounted on the walls of the newly built church to scare off evil spirits and used for protection.

The parallels with the Jötnar are clear. Primeval, indefatigable titans who tread heavily in our nightmares, the bane of Christianity.  Demons to be defeated and cast into the Abyss. Trophies to be mounted on the wall of our proud monuments.

Now imagine a world were Christianity had been put to the Viking sword, where there was no Mother Church left to determine who was a saint and who was a sinner, no Catholic priests to stem the pagan tide and contain the wild, untrammelled beliefs of the Northerners. Forget Armageddon, Hellfire and the Antichrist. The world doesn’t end with a bang, or a whimper. It ends with a horde of unstoppable Jötnar.

If you want a truly terrifying End of Days, embrace your inner Viking and help Kickstart the Jötunn War.

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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.

Storytime with Ian: Who are the Jötnar?

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.

Interview with Ian Stuart Sharpe, Author of The All Father Paradox!

Interview with Ian Stuart Sharpe, Author of The All Father Paradox!

Q: What made you write The All Father Paradox?

Ian Stuart Sharpe: I think it was preordained.

Not in a crazy way, you understand. You just learn to spot the signs, to realize that something is off-kilter. For example, in the year 793AD, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, there were plenty of foreboding omens. “Excessive whirlwinds”, lightning. Fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky. As if that wasn’t bad enough “great famine followed.”

And then, at the beginning of another long, drizzle-bound British summer what should show up but a “ravaging of wretched heathen men” who promptly destroyed God’s church at Lindisfarne and kickstarted the whole Viking Age. Some might argue that if the monks at Lindisfarne had been a little better at reading the tea leaves, we might not be here, discussing this book.

“Never before has such terror appeared in Britain…The heathens poured outthe blood of saints around the altar, and trampled on the bodies of saints in the temple of God, like dung in the streets.”

It must have seemed like the end of the world.

In my case, it was June 2016AD. My eSports company had just been ground into the dust by a doomstack of unfortunate events. Trump was already the presumptive nominee for the Republican party and then, to add to the sheer caprice of the moment, the UK voted for Brexit. I felt something like a monk at Lindisfarne, wondering which way the wind was blowing, and whether Norsemen might arrive on the tide. And that’s not a political comment, more a reflection of all the churn and change.

The world suddenly was full of “Holy F*ck!” moments. My reaction to it all was to become a new Anglo-Saxon Chronicler, to hold up a cracked mirror to the end of the world as we knew it.

Q: Why should others read the book?

ISS: There is an early episode of the British TV series Doctor Who, in black and white from 1965. I remember it from reruns: a rogue Time Lord plans lure the Harald Hardrada’s Vikings to the coast and destroy their fleet with an atomic cannon. This Time Meddler insists his plan will stabilise England and benefit Western civilisation.

It’s a nice idea. The thought that you could make the world a better place. The notion that you could reclaim what was was rightfully yours. Change the past – kill Hitler before he rose to power and save a generation from slaughter. Save the world, resurrect the girl – it worked for Superman.

What if? It’s a question we should all ask. We should all walk a mile in another man’s shoes, open ourselves to a little alternative perspective. Or else the world is just little bits of history repeating.

Q: What makes this story unique?

ISS: Who doesn’t like a nice Norse saga, full of Vikings raping and pillaging?!

Well, that’s not this book. Not all of it anyway. The fact is that the Scandinavian civilization had a rich and vibrant culture – unique art forms, a deep oral tradition, a sprawling trade network, a yearning for adventure and prestige. This is a book full of characters drawn from the pages of history, but it is really a story of a civilization.

On numerous occasions, the Norse came within a hair’s breadth of seizing the great cities of the age: London, Paris, Hamburg – and the greatest prize of all, Constantinople, the City of the World’s Desire. Imagine if the Trickster God had been with them, rather than against them. The What If in question isn’t far-fetched.

Those “wretched heathen men” could have ruled Europe, and likely the world.

Moreover, most Viking books dwell on the past, but I wanted to examine a Norse present. I wanted to transplant a warrior culture, built on slavery, but with a democratic bent and one where women were often heralded rather than hidden. And I wanted to examine how their myths and icons might grow without the influence of Christianity, the world of seidr and spirits, and see how it stretched over the centuries.

Q: How does it compare to other books like it in the genre?

ISS: There aren’t that many perspectives on Norse culture and civilisation that really highlight their true legacy. I recently took my family on a tour on Denmark, visiting hill forts, museums and re-enactments. I was amazed at how little they knew about these people. Viking were the bad guys. (Just ask Doctor Who). They wore horned helmets. They were raiders and barbarians. Even the best “Viking literature” doesn’t do more than reinforce old tropes.

That’s because history is written by the victors, and the Vikings, for all their legendary heroics, well, they lost.

But the Vikings are still with us, if you know where to look. The Old Norse rót is still apparent among the tangle of Anglo-Saxon, French and Latin. The language of the Vikings may have become subdued over the centuries but make no mistaka about it – from byrðr (birth) until we deyja (die) – the raw energy of the Norse shapes many of our words. Just look at a Viking the rangr way, and he might þrysta (thrust) a knifr into your skulle.
For the more literary, even the word Kindle comes from the Norse kynda – to light a fire. And that’s an important part of the book. Just as Tolkien had his Elvish (and he borrowed much of his lore from Old Norse stories), the All Father Paradox is peppered with Old Norse. It might look strange. It might make you pause and think.

And that’s exactly why it is there.

So put the book on your Kindle, and set fire to what you think you know. It beats the other ways into Valhalla.
Pre-order now so you don’t miss a moment!

Interview with Ian Stuart Sharpe, Author of The All Father Paradox!

THE ALL FATHER PARADOX Releases in October!

THE ALL FATHER PARADOX by Ian Stuart Sharpe
Coming in October!

What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves?

Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard, hellbent on studying the thousand-year-old Viking memorial there. But when things start changing and outright disappearing, Michaels realizes there is more to this old man than meets the eye. Now, Michaels finds himself swept up in an ancient god’s quest to escape his destiny by reworking reality, putting history—and to Michaels’s dismay, Christianity itself—to the Viking sword. In this new Vikingverse, storied heroes of mankind emerge in new and brutal guises drawn from the sagas:

A young Norse prince plots to shatter empires and claim the heavens…

A scholar exiled to the frontier braves the dangers of the New World, only to find those “new worlds” are greater than he imagined…

A captured Jötunn plants the dreams of freedom during a worlds-spanning war

A bold empress discovers there is a price for immortality, one her ancestors have come to collect…

With the timelines stretched to breaking point, it’s up to Churchwarden Michaels to save reality as we know it…

Find out more here!

About 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.