Dark Faith: Invocations Devotional – Richard Dansky

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror | 0 comments

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Dark Faith: InvocationsThe Central Clancy Writer for Ubisoft/Red Storm, RICHARD DANSKY was called one of the top 20 videogame writers in the world by Gamasutra in 2009. His work includes games such as Driver: San Francisco, Outland, and the upcoming Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Richard also spent four years in-house at White Wolf, contributing to over 100 titles in the original World of Darkness setting as a writer and designer. His fiction can be found in numerous anthologies, and he has published five novels, most recently Firefly Rain. Richard lives in North Carolina with his wife and their amorphously large collection of single malt whiskys.

Richard is the author of “Coin Drop.”

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Who are you?

I’m Richard Dansky, Central Clancy Writer for Red Storm/Ubisoft and scourge of game dialog everywhere. I’m also the author of Firefly Rain, the guy partially responsible for some of the non-sparkling folks lurking in your coffeehouses dressed like Andrew Eldritch’s backing band, and at one point in the dim and distant past, the world’s greatest living authority on Denebian Slime Devils. I wish I could say that I live in my zeppelin fortress fighting crime with my army of specially trained hyper-intelligent ocelots, but sadly, that isn’t true. The ocelots are afraid of heights, and won’t stay on the zeppelin for more than a few minutes at a time before complaining vociferously about the whole thing.

Tell us about your story.

“Coin Drop” is set, like much of my life, in the offices of a videogame development company, which is the sort of place a generous soul would call “rich in material.” The story’s about a peculiarly useful vending machine that shows up at the office one day, and the possibly sinister secret behind it. And while most deals with the devil don’t get you a Zagnut bar, this one just might.

How does your story tie into the concept of faith?

What the story’s really about—besides the Zagnut bar—is freedom of will, and the choice to exercise that freedom in the face of what might be called a divine authority. The protagonist has a choice—do a thing and be rewarded while ignoring the consequences, or not do the thing, even though he will never have to face those consequences himself. That, I think, is where the theme of the story and the theme of the collection intersect. From Eden to Abraham and onward through the Western tradition, the collision of free will and obedience to the will of the Divine has always been fertile terrain; I’m just scratching out my little corner of it here.

Every year, Maurice Broaddus throws a convention in honor of himself (Mo*Con). How do you feel about this fact?

I think the containment efforts around Mo*Con that keep it localized on Indianapolis have largely been successful where more virulent conventions have managed to spread, and for that, all involved should be congratulated. ComicCon, of course, at this point has avoided all efforts at containment, and I believe there was a widespread outbreak of GenCon a couple of years back as well. So in that context, I can only applaud the fact that Mo*Con is localized around Maurice, and express my appreciation for the efforts to protect the rest of the convention scene

Excerpt from “Coin Drop”:

He was short, wearing a tan uniform and cap that read Eschaton Vending on it in a dull shade of blue. He wheeled a cart in front of him, one loaded with boxes whose labels all seemed strangely blurry, and he was whistling.

“Hi there,” he said as the cart wheeled to a stop. “You’re here late.”

“It’s a video game company,” David replied. “There’s always someone here late.”

“Yeah, but not always someone buying a hundred candy bars.” He jerked a thumb at David’s spoils. “Any particular reason, or do you just really like Zagnuts?”

“Curiosity,” David said. “Trying to figure out how I’m getting Sky Bars out of a machine that’s selling my buddy Escazu and someone else, used underwear. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?”

The re-stocker, who had been busy unlocking the front of the machine, stopped. He turned to look at David, and a lopsided smile played across his lips. “Actually, I kind of do. Why do you ask? Had a bad time at the dentist?”

“No. Just curious. It’s… unusual.”

There was a thoughtful silence. “It is, yeah. To you, anyway. It’s also part of something bigger. Here’s my advice to you: don’t worry about it. It’s nothing to do with you, or your friends, or your company. Nothing that matters within your lifetime. Oh, and you’ll want to start flossing if you’re gonna eat all that.” And with that, he turned back to the vending machine and began filling empty spaces. David opened his mouth to respond, but suddenly he felt impossibly sleepy, too tired to form words.

“Shhh,” was the last thing he heard, and when he woke, it was morning.


 Buy Dark Faith: Invocations from one of our retailers.

Make sure you drop by the Apex Goodreads group to share your thoughts on all of the stories in Dark Faith: Invocations. Next week we’ll be discussing stories by R.J. Sullivan, Max Allen Collins and Matthew Clemens, and Mike Resnick.

To hear what the authors are saying about their stories, read our past devotional posts.

Tim Pratt

Jennifer Pelland

Richard Wright

Alma Alexander

Matt Cardin

Lavie Tidhar

Nick Mamatas

Jay Lake

Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

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