A surprising number of teenagers in 2019 (some them, no doubt, encouraged by hit films like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman) are fans of 70’s and 80’s rock. So, too, is Alyx, the Feisty Teenage Heroine of This Wasted Land, my latest young adult dark fantasy novel.
To go along with that, I set up the table of contents for TWL as a “playlist,” and named each chapter after a hard rock song. Each relates to their chapter in some way, whether it evokes the mood, mirrors events, reiterates themes, or simply inspired it. I discussed Track 1 here.
Track 2 of TWL is “The Wanton Song,” by Led Zeppelin, from their 1975 double album Physical Graffiti. The word “wanton” is defined as, “Of a cruel or violent action, deliberate and unprovoked” (as in, “sheer wanton vandalism”).
Silent woman in the night, you came
Took my seed from my shaking frame
An older definition is, “Sexually unrestrained or having many casual sexual relationships. An archaic definition is, “A sexually unrestrained woman.”
Silent woman through the flames, you come
From the deep behind the sun
Seems my nightmares have just begun
Left me barely holding on
Thus, the song makes a perfect title for a chapter in which the shape-shifting witch Freydis, having attacked Alyx and her boyfriend Sam in the opening chapter, escapes with him aboard a ghostly train:
“Where’s Sam?” Hand wrapped around the flashlight, I’m punching her in the face, in the head, but she doesn’t seem to feel it. “Give me back Sam! Let him go!”
“He’s not yours anymore,” she says, and then her eyes and nose and mouth are gone, stalks like a snail’s sprouting out of her head, each of them with dozens of tiny mouths with broken-glass teeth, and I scream I can’t stop and I try to get away but she’s too strong and she jerks me towards the stalks with jaws full of glass shards and I kick and punch and writhe and one clamps down on my arm, tearing, shredding my jacket, and I lean back kick her in the throat and suddenly I’m falling she’s let me go and I’m out of the car and I hit HARD and bounce and roll roll can’t stop myself finally do and the train goes by klgg klgg klgg klgg klgg klgg klgg klgg klgg klgg klgg klgg klgg klgg klggklgg.
Kenton Kilgore writes killer SF/F for young adults and adults who are still young. In his latest novel, This Wasted Land, high-school senior Alyx Williams learns that witches are real when one attacks her and her boyfriend Sam, dragging him off to a nightmare world where Alyx must go to get him back.
Kenton is the author of Lost Dogs, the story of the end of the world as seen, heard–and smelled–by a dog. He also wrote Dragontamer’s Daughters, like Little House on the Prairie…with dragons! With Patrick Eibel, he created Our Wild Place, a children’s book about the joy to be found in exploring Nature. Kenton also published Hand-Selling Books to help authors better their sales.
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