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The Goddess Project

Bryan Wigmore

520 PagesISBN: 9781911390237
Publication: January 2, 2017


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‘Ancient terror, modern error, future era.’ Otter shook himself. ‘Mean much to you?’

Two years after being washed up on a remote beach, freedivers Orc and Cass still have no idea who they are or where they came from. Worst of all, they feel like lovers but look like brother and sister, and must repress their instincts for fear of committing a terrible mistake.

Now at last they’ve tracked down a psychic artefact powerful enough to restore their memories. But others also seek its forbidden magic. To reach it, deep within a sunken ruin, they must flirt with a ruthless occult conspiracy, one intent on summoning an ancient goddess to destroy the dreadnoughts of the Empyreal fleet.

The depths of the sea, of the past, of the world’s collective mind: down there are truths, but also madness and despair. And a power that will plunge the world back to a new dark age, if it can’t be stopped.

Bryan Wigmore lives in Chichester.


"In the end, it's one of my best reads so far this year." -- Brian G. Turner, SFF Chronicles

  SFF Chronicles

The Goddess Project flamed from the ashes of a previous book, The Severed World (TSW), whose structural failings caused me to abandon it. I wanted to take the basic theme of TSW, which I hadn’t yet finished with — the idea of an artificial split between sky-father god and earth-mother goddess — and build around it an adventure story full that was everything I wanted to read myself. For months I noodled around and collected shiny ideas like a jackdaw. Straight away I knew the main character would be a freediver with an otter spirit guide (two important parts of my own life), and he would have amnesia and would be a pawn in a larger game (probably inspired by my favourite RPG, Final Fantasy 7). Whereas TSW had been set in a regressed far-future and pitted dragons against the remains of advanced tech, I decided for The Goddess Project to go for a 1900-era setting. In this I was partly influenced by Fullmetal Alchemist, an anime which also gave me ideas about the kind of cast I wanted to assemble. The period setting also let me draw on my interest in Golden-Dawn-type ritual magic, and to use ironclad warships. The late-Victorian attitudes to women also fitted the gender-split theme I wanted to explore.

All the time I was assembling and assessing these ingredients, I was trying to rough out a plot with them, back and forth with forming the magical/religious “bones” of the world. Though it amazes me now, the human core of the story wasn’t there at its inception — I had the main character, Orc, but no Cass. The whole thing would have been very different if I hadn’t scrawled in my notebook in a coffee shop one morning, “Maybe there’s a girl too”. It was my “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit” moment.

It was when starting to actually write the book that I joined the SFF Chronicles forum site (, probably the best move I’ve ever made as an author. It has a strong aspiring writers section, and within a year I became friends with two other members and writers who lived near me. We formed a small face-to-face group, the Blockies, and met every month or two to go over chapters. Right from the start, they had a strong influence on my book, drawing it away from the more juvenile of its anime influences without affecting its classic adventure-story vibe, making it a much stronger piece of writing. And nothing slipshod got past them.

As the writing progressed, I put up short sections for critique on the Chronicles forums, and these, along with my becoming a frequent contributor to the writing discussions, gathered me several friends interesting in knowing more about the book. When I’d finished and had polished the draft, they acted as beta-readers and read the whole thing. I was very nervous as to how the story would be received — the last several chapters had been written so quickly that my fellow Blockies only got to see them the same time as everyone else. To my relief, the feedback was very positive — the book had actual fans! — but there was still work to so on some aspects, and at 190k words it was also too long. Chopping 30,000 words turned out to be the most gruelling part of the whole writing, examining every sentence for a word or two that could be trimmed. The rare occasions when I found a whole paragraph that could go, I almost wept with joy.

Since then, in breaks from writing the sequel and dealing with the vagaries of life, I’ve gone back over The Goddess Project several more times, and refined it in the light of comments from new readers, mostly Chronicles members who expressed an interest in it. When Snowbooks told me it was one of the cleanest manuscript submissions they’d ever seen, it made the whole process feel worthwhile — a feeling only enhanced by seeing it on bookshop tables with its gorgeous cover. It’s thrilling that Orc and Cass’s story is now finding readers who are complete strangers to me.

Format: Ebook

520 Pages

ISBN: 9781911390237

Publication: January 2, 2017

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