The Maze


Okay, so I need a seriously good title for this story, and that’s odd because I usually have a good title long before I have a good story, but here are my ideas, anyway:

While exploring a cave, a group of people find a cavern with perfectly straight walls, floor, and ceiling. They follow the underground hallway until some of them (but not all of them according to some separting mechanism I have yet to discover) find themselves in a maze.

But this ain’t your daddy’s maze, Buddy Boy. No empty, featureless walls here. This is a lush and monstrous maze, like an R-rated version of Labyrinth, only without that movie’s unholy alliance of Jim Henson’s puppetry and David Bowie’s package. This maze has vines covering the walls, trees growing from the wall tops, and small brush underfoot. And this maze has teeth. It has an entire ecology, in fact several, overlapping ecologies. An ecology: of plants, both to eat and to eat you; of animals, grazers and predators and more predators; and of sentient creatures of unknown mind and motivation. Ecologies of day and night, sky and land and underland and undersea. Yes, even undersea: I’m thinking a slightly-less-dangerous oasis that our heroes (what’s left of them) may someday reach.

But in the meantime they’ll have to contend with all manner of monsters. Slice-Spiders that walk atop the maze walls, with their thin, practically invisible fingers trailing down and slicing everything below them so it can be pulled up and digested. Eye-shaped fruit that turns to face you, and the Mimic Fruit whose eye closes on your hand. Giant, slow, herbivorous centipedes that fill up a maze hallway, with no natural predators and no way to go anything but forward, crushing everything underfoot. “Dragons” fly high above the trees, swooping down to carry off prey but never landing, their legs having become vestigial millenia ago. Quickgrass spreads slowly and inexorably across the maze, absorbing every creature that dares tread on it. Monkey-like creatures stretch their overlong arms from below trap doors in the floor to pull the unsuspecting underground. These and others I haven’t fully fleshed out yet will make the whole thing quite fun.

Then we’ve got sentient races, which aren’t entirely fleshed out, but I’m thinking one will be the Ghoti (I’m gonna try to keep the references to a minimum but I’ve always wanted to put that one in), a squid-like race that lives in the lake in the oasis and communicates by touch, one will be a more human-like race that claims it created the maze, and one will be some sort of energy-based vampiric creature that can project images in the air to communicate (and to deceive).

Which brings us to the question of who created this maze, and why. I’ve got some ideas, and more importantly some ideas that the characters will have that is not true. My thinking is that the makers of the maze will remain a mystery, but that the purpose of the maze is an intelligence test, testing concepts of spirituality and relationships (i.e. Hippy Talk) that human beings don’t generally have. My main idea on that is that there’s an Object Permanence of the Spirit, that we learn Object Permanence but then have to be tought that Death is the exception to the rule. The maze is there to test if we can see beyond the mortal realm and accept that people who die are not gone.

So we’ve got ghosts, monsters, and aliens. Other possible funness: the maze itself is a living creature, people start showing up from different time frames (just for you, Gryfft), an underground base from which the entire maze can be monitored, and other ideas I’m kicking around. Maybe I’ll write some out.

For now, I plan to write a piece I’ve decided to call “The Many Deaths of All Your Friends”, just basically being one death scene after another. (Also, yes, this is all probably in part of in whole sprouted from Laura’s death, the one-year anniversary of which is going to really color the holidays.)

Problems I have with the story:

1. It’s too much like Lost. I fucking love that show. Anyway, hopefully I’ll get more original ideas as it goes.

2. It’s fucking big. This is a huge story, with epic storylines I’d have to plot carefully while keeping people interested in the characters.

3. There are no characters. I’m hoping these will come in time and not be too one-dimensional. I’d settle for two dimensions.

Okay, I’m done, for now. Whaddaya think?

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2 Responses to “The Maze”

  1. bill Says:

    I like the concept, but you may be talking about several novels, instead of just one, with this kind of setting.

    I’m thinking you need the first [whatever… part thing] to really be about the characters who would generally like to get the hell out of this place rather than explore it. It seems like you’ve set it up to be kinda like a mystery about its origin. This reminds me of Mass Effect where through most of the story you’re under the impression that the Protheans created the foundation of all you tech and past while it was really not them at all…etc etc… It made for a great backstory, but they were able to tie it into why you were doing the things you were doing.

    If the characters are just dropped into this place that constantly wants to eat them, then they’ll most likely just want out and not really care about what’s going on. I get the feeling that you’d rather be telling the story of that place rather than these people you haven’t come up with yet.

    I like it, a lot. I’d like to see it fleshed out in some short stories and maybe a novel or two.

  2. aricollins Says:

    Yeah, it’s definitely a problem that I clearly want to write the world more than I want to write the characters. And that I’m in love with creatures that will eat my characters. And that I regard that as fun. They will not regard that as fun.

    But I’m hoping characters will emerge, and I’m definitely going to make it their first priority to get out of there. They’re going to be freaked and scared out of their minds. In my vague plan, they don’t even begin to think about exploring the world and figuring it out until they feel remotely safe, which will be when they reach the semi-oasis. Even then, most of them would (understandably!) rather just try to stay safe then explore and figure stuff out. I think eventually they’d give up on getting out, too, while a few of them would explore to figure out a way to escape, anda couple of them would be the kind of people who would explore for exploration’s sake.

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