The adventures of longtail
xiangjun zeng

[ links to:  Field Observations from a Far-Future Mars  -  Longtail: A Prologue  -  The Adventures of Longtail: Sleeping Fury ]

Adventures in a far-future, post-human, habitable Solar System...  My advice to readers: start with Sleeping Fury.  Eventually you'll want to refer back to the Prologue for background information, rather than expect to read it as a structured story.

An introductory message from the author:

Indiana Jones meets David Attenborough in space.

That's how I would describe my story to my friends who asked me about it.

I want to build an empire. A sandbox universe that you, my reader, can loose yourself in and tell stories to yourself. I want to turn your imagination on and make you wonder just what is in this corner of this universe and how does that work?

The Adventures of Longtail got its inspiration from many many different things.

The concept of the character was drawn from Indiana Jones and David Attenborough. He is an explorer with an insatiable curiosity about the world he is in. But Indiana Jones, action hero that he is, is not a good person if you think about it. He breaks into priceless historical landmarks and steal treasures that belong to native cultures, destroying much of where he goes. He is a vandal, and the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark had him doing just this.

Likewise, the Longtail has his own motivations for doing what he does. His actions will not always lead to good outcomes, and his intentions are always his own. The Longtail is neither hero nor villain.

In my reading of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it seems to me that the protagonist of Victor Hugo's story is not Quasimodo or Esmeralda. It is Notre Dame itself that is the main character.

For me, the Adventures of Longtail is the same. The Longtail is a guide, just like David Attenborough, a childhood hero of mine. He takes you, dear reader, through this universe, the real main character of the story, and along the way he will point out to you, "Oh look, isn't that interesting?"

Unlike David Attenborough, he's not going to explain everything about what he sees. I want you, dear reader, to feel the mystery and the wonder I see in my mind's eye when I think about the Longtail. Him standing on the edge of a cliff, looking out to an endless vista, where landmarks jutting out from that landscape are just so strange, that we can't help but wonder what's in it. And overhead, the sky. A magnificent tapestry of stars and galaxies glittering like jewels, hinting at even more.

Every story needs a port of call, a place to sally forth. In the Adventures of Longtail, that port of call is the Red Desert.

The Red Desert is an amalgamation. Barsoom, in John Carter of Mars. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Conan the Barbarian. The Dark Sun setting for those of you who are also D&D nerds.

I have a particular love of monsters. I loved pouring over the old D&D's monstrous compendium. Before they became the soulless templates that they are now, each monster entry came with a little story about their origins, ecology and legends. When I came across a captivating entry, I would shut the book, hold it to my chest, and my mind would take me off on a little journey where I wonder and wander.

My day job is in the visual effects industry, working on movies and animated features. Every page I write comes with a vivid mental imagery that I try to paint for you, my reader.

Come dream with me. Let's play in this sandbox and I hope you have as good a time as I am having.

My Best Regards,


Longtail: A Prologue

Sleeping Fury - part 1

   Sleeping Fury - part 2