An impossible world filled with myriad peoples battling for mystical Æmber (and everyone else who’s just trying to get along) – it can only be KeyForge! Introducing Tales From the Crucible: A KeyForge Anthology, edited by Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells, which flies screaming onto your bookshelf in June 2020. KeyForge is chock-full of extraordinary science fiction and fantasy characters, places and ideas, and we can’t get enough of it. This anthology introduces everyone to the depth and madness of this world. Even if you’re not (yet) a player of KeyForge, you should definitely check out the artwork for the game, we can’t get enough of it! Today we’re teasing you with the story titles and authors, and having a quick chat with the editor. Do nourish your fantasy-loving heart on the magnificent cover, which KeyForge fans may well recognise – we couldn’t resist borrowing from David Kegg. Enjoy!
Take a whirlwind tour to the incredible planet of a million fantasy races, the Crucible, in this wild science fantasy anthology.
Welcome to the Crucible – an artificial planet larger than our sun – an ever-growing patchwork of countless other worlds, filled with creatures, sentient beings and societies stolen from across the universe by the mythical Architects. Across this dizzying juxtaposition of alien biospheres, the enigmatic and godlike Archons seek to unlock the secrets at the heart of the Crucible. Everyone else is just trying to survive… Explore nine tales of adventure in a realm where science and magic team up, of discovery and culture clash, featuring mad Martian scientists, cybernetic surgeons, battle reenactors, elven thieves, private investigators, goblins, saurian monsters, and the newly arrived human Star Alliance.
Here’s the story line-up
Contract – Tristan Palmgren
The Apprentice – Cath Lauria
Extermination Examination – Robbie MacNiven
The Librarian’s Duel – M K Hutchins
To Catch a Thief – Thomas Parrott
Useful Parasites – M K Hutchins
The Perfect Organism – C L Werner
Wibble And Pplimz, Investigators For Hire – M Darusha Wehm
Vaultheads – David Guymer
And the cover…
What are you looking for in a short story that introduces a vast impossible world?
Since the Crucible is so huge and complex, I’m looking for stories that focus on one little bit of the world – whether that’s an apprentice in Hub City, battling Archons searching for a vault, or Martians plotting from the depths of their territory, Nova Hellas.
It’s such a weird and wonderful place that it’s impossible to explore it all, so I’m not looking for grand stories that cover the whole of the Crucible, but smaller slice-of-life stories that really give us a feel for what it’s like to live here.
You’ve previously worked on original SFF at Angry Robot and on the grim darkness of Warhammer 40,000 with Black Library – how do you adapt to the new world of KeyForge?
It’s always about creating great stories – whether that’s in a grimdark, war-torn galaxy, a noir-style imaginary universe or, in this case, an epic planet made up of parts of the whole universe. KeyForge has a unique tone and style, almost like a Saturday morning cartoon, which mixes discovery, adventure and exploration into one colourful creation! It’s one of my favourite universes to work with, simply because it as so much potential and room to explore – you can tell all sorts of stories here, and our authors have done just that!
Of all the areas on the Crucible, which one do you most want to crash land in?
I’d love to crash land in Saurian territory – I mean who wouldn’t want to spend time with super-intelligent, highly-evolved dinosaurs? However, I’m not sure they’d particularly want me around as I’d probably make a nuisance of myself very quickly. In which case I’d like to go exploring across the Crucible and see what I could find!
CHARLOTTE LLEWELYN-WELLS is a bibliophile who took a wrong turn in the wardrobe and ended up as an editor – luckily it was the best choice she ever made. She’s a geek and fangirl with an addiction to unicorns, ice hockey and ice cream.
Tales From the Crucible is available for pre-order from major retailers now: