The concept for Victoria & Seth, the second book and third music album in the Null Paradox steampunk multiverse, is about the character’s sometimes serene, sometimes tumultuous relationship. A series of Storytimes shares the background of both characters.
As with the first book and music album, Gertrude & Grace, each chapter in the upcoming book Victoria & Seth corresponds to a song on the third album. The songs share additional details about the book.
We’re releasing each song ahead of the book. Three have been released and we expect the fourth to be released during 2023 June.
Null Paradox: Grief & Grieving
There’s another level of storytelling within Victoria & Seth based on the idea that there are stages of loss within the scope of grief and grieving.
In 2004 Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler wrote On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. It’s a good book but doesn’t go far enough to tell Victoria’s story. Instead, she discovers that she experienced ten stages of grief related to her relationship with Seth.
The first three stages of Grief and Grieving, written about by Kübler-Ross and Kessler, are the same as the first three songs from Victoria & Seth: Denial, Anger, and Bargain. From there, Victoria diverges.
When I initially started writing the second book, I was focused on writing it based on the research of Kübler-Ross and Kessler and observations of people I know who have experienced grief. Since then, I’ve had the “opportunity” to live through three life-changing events that brought everything closer to home.
Because of that, the second book and the associated songs have gone through multiple rewrites with Victoria’s ten stages now being:
- Phase 1
- Phase 2
- Phase 3
This list makes it seem like the grief and grieving process is linear, but it’s far from it. Victoria jumps back and forth between stages, from being strong to backsliding. Then starting again.
Null Paradox: Physics
The nonlinearity of Victoria’s grief brings me to the multiverse concept. It’s the basis of worldbuilding within Null Paradox.
Physicists describe the multiverse as an object that contains all possible universes. At its core, the Null Paradox multiverse is the same, but how we navigate the infinite permutations of each universe within the multiverse is different.
To keep things understandable, the primary Victoria is Victoria Zero.
In Null Paradox, Victoria’s life is actually a series of tiny hops from one universe to another stitched together to create the life she experiences. This is facilitated by a machine briefly described in the first book, which plays a more significant role in the second book.
But what do all the other Victorias do in the multiverse? Do they wait around until it’s their turn to play a fleeting part in Victoria Zero’s life? Or do they have a life of their own that is briefly absconded by Victoria Zero?
And how far do they, as people, stray from Victoria Zero?
The answer to the last question: the essence of Victoria remains the same through all the possible permutations. But there are significant variabilities in their relationships and actions.
Unsurprisingly, what Victoria looks like changes too.
Make no mistake, Victoria Zero is feisty, loving, and a warrior.
But Victoria One is darker. In her universe, she wasn’t as accommodating to Seth during their relationship. The repercussions of Victoria One’s actions aren’t as different as you’d imagine from those experienced by Victoria Zero. But the acceleration of the repercussions is significantly faster in Victoria One’s universe.
If you linearly aligned their timelines, Victoria One experienced things before Victoria Zero. If only there was a way for them to communicate… Which brings us to a future story about The Bully.
Courtesy of my work with the MidJourney AI, here’s a glimpse of a Victoria One. This image is based on photographs of Analise playing the role of Victoria with the background photos from a photoshoot I did at the Fair Lane Manor, the home of Henry and Clara Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.
Note: while MidJourney can be prompted to create photorealistic images, I intentionally made this Victoria One image less realistic to retain the feel of the Null Paradox world.
Training image for the foreground
Training image for the background