The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March

Cover image for K. A. Cook's 'The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March'. Vector/cartoon styling of a creepy folly/shack/treehouse with various gothic accoutrements and a crow or raven perched on the roof. Folly is surrounded by more vector images of trees, bushes and scrub set on a cartoony green-hill background. Typeface for author and title credit is white stroked with black. The whole thing is very flat/one-dimensional and looks like a still from an 80s cartoon.Tes Alden, collector of words, rescuer of books and counter of objects, knows ze isn’t like everyone else. This wouldn’t be such a problem if everybody else didn’t struggle with it. Hir mother prays a run-down school in the middle of nowhere may be the best place to stow hir brand of peculiarity, and Tes has nowhere better to go.

Darius Liviu lost a limb and his lover in the hell of Mul Dura. He spent the last three months as a guest of the Greensward, crafting a jointed hand from elf-sung wood and trying to ignore the mutterings of the ghost that haunts him. Now, he returns to the College to take up the second-most dangerous job open to a magician: teaching.

Tes just might be a magician in the making, if ze can survive adventures in alliterative magic and hir own lethal curiosity. Darius, though, keeps a secret that makes the usual problems of overgrown rhubarb, basilisk hordes, verbose eldritch objects, shrieking purple monkeys and cauliflower explosions look like nothing at all.

The elves are coming, and nobody fears elves more than Kit March.

The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March happened because I want genre stories about autistic queer and trans adult protagonists. It’s a too-long, somewhat-plot-lacking character study about autistic characters doing fantasy things. There’s bacon, problematic elves, the most ridiculous system of magic I could invent, stimming, moments of wordlessness and far too many serious discussions of mental illness for a somewhat-comedic fantasy serial. Almost everybody is trans, autistic, aro and some other form of queer.

Several prequel short stories featuring Kit, Amelia and Darius are available: Old Fashioned and Conception (Amelia and Kit), Ringbound (Kit), Certain Eldritch Artefacts and The Adventurer King (Darius).

Formats

[PDF] | [EPUB]

Chapters

[Welcome]: Tes Alden arrives at a school impaled by giant rhubarb, faces the bacon test and finds an ally in the College’s headmaster.

[Introduction]: March introduces Tes to the College, Master Faiza, the kitchen and his theory of telepathic bacon.

[Connection]: Tes meets hir new roommate Holly Naoko, learns from the chattering historian Iris Edmé and discovers ze does, in fact, possess a valuable trade.

[Homecoming]: Darius Liviu arrives in Greenstone to take up March’s offer of a teaching job, only for the belt to betray a certain confidence involving the dead Efe Kadri.

[Shadows]: Tes overhears March talking to Darius, ponders the mystery that is the Greensward and decides to risk the Left Tower in search of fabric.

[Consequences]: Tes enters the Tower with hir pack, hir plans and hir magic only to discover that ze isn’t the hunter—and the consequences of hir mistake aren’t hirs to bear.

[Skin]: Darius survives the gnomes and contemplates the stories told in scars. Amelia tries to make a well-trodden point. March waves a spoon. What do their words matter to Darius, though, when all he hears is the choking, insufferable envelopment of safety?

[Flight]: The obligation a rescuer has to a ward gives Darius a sense of purpose and the added benefit of avoiding Amelia, but finding Tes means negotiations with the belt and Tes hirself…

[Interlude – Resonance]: Kit lives by the rule of the crow and the rule of story, but neither, despite a life of guardianship, quite prepare him for the fate suggested by a coil of worn, brown leather.

[Maker]: Darius chose Tes’s presence over his health, a gift for which books, stones and homewares are no just recompense. How can ze repay a magician when ze isn’t sure, despite his words, that ze still belongs at the College?

Curiosity: Trying to work with Darius might be harder for Tes than learning magic, but hir real problems occur when Darius leaves the College on a mysterious midnight journey and Iris decides to follow him.

Longevity: Lack of sleep doesn’t help Darius figure out how to handle Tes. It really doesn’t help when Amelia blunders her way into their talking about silences, suicide and cats. If anything will render exhaustion irrelevant, though, it’s the bubbling breath of a bloody messenger…

Exsanguination: One word shatters the College’s peace, but Darius needs must figure out how to handle Tes’s headlong rush into dangerous magic … and March’s dislike for the blood trade.

 

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