Today I’m featuring a guest blog the incredibly prolific author, William Vitka. He speaks on his latest family efforts to bring us…
Kulture Vultures: A Family Affair
The most entertaining thing about Kulture Vultures is that three Vitkas created the final product.
Forget the fact that it’s the tale of an intergalactic cabbie with a secret past who has to save Earth from a megaconglomeration run by a thunder lizard – and our driver has to do it with the help of a blue alien pervert and an alcoholic bookstore owner and five resurrected icons.
Nope. The most amazing thing about the book is that the three of us managed to stop bitching at one another and get it done.
Just ask my mom about it. Go ahead. I dare you.
“Mrs. O’Brien, I was wondering…”
My father (Bill) and I wrote the Science Fiction insanity, and my brother (Sean) created its glorious cover image with us.
This wasn’t like some goddamn Partridge Family excursion. There wasn’t any Brady Bunch bullshit. We’re too serious about our space-faring nonsense for that.
Instead my dad and I nearly took each other’s heads off a few times.
Because we’re writers, damnit!
Hard-charging, slightly off-kilter, delusionally Hemingwayish writers.
Kulture Vultures started life as a serial on the Curiosity Quills website. Which itself started off after a night of drinking at my dad’s place in The Bronx. Said whiskey-laden night birthed the basic outline and foundation for the book’s plot.
We recorded the whole session. There’s audio of us speaking for a few hours. Discussing space monsters. The business of information dissemination. Resurrecting old SciFi greats. How would a lizard tyrant masturbate with those tiny arms?
Thankfully, the public shall never hear these tapes. It would drive most sane people mad. And I would probably be deported. Or, at the very least, forbidden from holding elected office.
Well, to hell with politicians anyway. They have a habit of getting people killed.
The process of writing Kulture Vultures was a bit like inverse leap-frog. Which sounds counter-intuitive, but it worked. We got 60,000 good words down in five months.
I would write a chapter. Send it to my dad. He would edit the previous chapter. Then write a new one.
I would edit the previous chapter. Then write a new one. Etc, etc. Pretty efficient. It had some built in quality control.
Every couple of weeks, we would meet to discuss what was going on. What direction a character should go.
This, dear readers, is where the fireworks came in.
I do not write with an outline. I never have. I never will. I find outlines too restrictive. If you go off the reservation (as I oh-so-frequently do), then you’ve kinda screwed yourself.
My dad, on the other hand, doesn’t like to write without an outline. Because he likes to have a plan he can look over and make sure it makes sense.
On at least one occasion, we were both very tempted to slug each other. It seemed like a perfectly rational option at the time.
We didn’t. We shut up and wrote. We toasted with another glass of whiskey and channeled the energy into the book which is so near and dear to your hearts. If you haven’t read Kulture Vultures yet, then I remain steadfast in my belief that it will be near and dear to your hearts.
Working with my brother was less of a one-of-us-is-gonna-die-and-it’s-you adventure. Primarily because we don’t step on each other’s toes as much. Then my dad got involved again and that all promptly went to hell.
And, again, brawling seemed like a perfectly rational option.
We went through a few drafts of the cover. Little touches here and there. The core of it remained the
same, though. We wanted the cab to come screaming out at the reader.
I had demanded more breasts on the cover. At least to simulate the pulp of days gone by. Eventually we settled on an agreement of zero breasts and frankly I’ve never really forgiven my brother for that.
What he did instead was utilize the negative space on the cover. And ye gods, it looks superb. Basically, the idea was to get rid of the blackness of space. We knew the cover was going to be primarily white. It flows better from front to back that way. So Sean simplified it as far as it could go:
Just the cab. A splash of space behind. Flying between enormous dinosaur jaws toward the reader.
The jaws, of course, are the white paper of the cover. The effect is excellent.
The package as a whole is even better. There’s never been anything like Kulture Vultures before. It exists because the three of us have a very particular way of looking at our creative exports. And our influences.
I’m proud of my brother and father. I’m proud of Kulture Vultures.
But don’t ever ask me to work with these people again. They’re nuts.
A sinister fleet with a monster at the helm is moving among the stars. The Combine demands absolute obedience or it deals death and destruction. Ruled by a cold-blooded dinosaur with genius IQ, the Combine has enough firepower to crack open a planet like breaking an egg.
Its deadliest weapon is the media.
Against all odds, mutiny has erupted and the seed of the insurrection is Earth.
Rebellion marks Earth as the Combine’s next target. A deadly attack is imminent.
There are five guys who can save the world. Save the world and everything else.
The only problem is they’re dead.