Squeeeeeee! Ok. So the cuilverse has many entry points and where you may want to enter is unique to you and what you’d like to see/learn/experience first.
While chronologically — in terms of written first — The Black Tree series comes first, the actual human story starts with In the Time of Toba (not yet released), and the timeline for all universes starts with The Four Forces (not yet written). But The Arena(not yet written), which deals with the goddes, takes place through all timelines and out-of-time.
Each series deals with particular aspects of reality, solves certain thought experiments, and contains a unique set of my memories and possibilities.
The Black Tree series highlights male-female bullshit, absurdity, has one of the highest Cuil levels (each level is more abstracted than the last), specifically doesn’t make apparent my actual life or the source of the absurdity or the wars or anything else occurring, and serves as the Trunk of the Tree of the Cuilverse. The various universes clash together and nothing is at it should be. Ultimately it’s about the highest level of trauma, where everything is obscure and representative rather than obvious, and where the soul is seeking to run away rather than face. Of course, the Truth will out in the end. It is told through the fractured views of the A Seriesen crew (all different kinds of aliens/types of Others) as they try to avoid their parents’ wars and the fallout. I also make a rather distracting set of appearances throughout.
The Allison Dutch series is slightly more explicit in terms of sexual and language content. It focuses on the Black female experience in a fucked up world, on genetic sexual attraction, on bisexuality, on bdsm, on polyamory, on families of blood, and atonement. It centers matters of abuse and accountability, tracked across a lifetime and across several lifetimes. It dismantles the idea of hierarchies and the notion of leadership, and of course features an apocalypse, vampires, and ancient aliens. It is specifically myopic, from Allison’s sheltered yet shifting viewpoint. It is much more serious and mature than The Black Tree series, yet towards the end becomes more…entwined with the BTS. The Allison Dutch series takes place about a thousand years before the BTS in an alternate but related timeline.
The Aftermath series takes place directly after the events of the BTS, so should be read only after Allison Dutch and the BTS (maybe only after all the others since it’s near the end of all timelines), as it features characters from both. It is the beginning of ultimate accountability and the countdown to my ultimate departure. Basically, shit gets so Cuil and explicit it gets Real!
The Representative series can be a good but explicit and heavy starting point. It deals with suppressed gender identity (or more accurately a lack thereof), polyamory among aromantics and asexuals of various orientations and species of Other, history of the Tree of Life and other myths and Others, and loss and extreme trauma. It features a few jarring scenes of rape, but it’s with purpose and it’s actually fucking dealt with. It’s a series about how Others enact their Promise and why. It is a very sexy (despite the rape) and nerdy and pensive background for the other series. As with any other cuilverse series, the Cuil level gradually grows higher with each book. It’s more heavily sci fi but still contains fantasy and supernatural elements.
Twisted Jinx is an extremely fictionalized account of my actual life whilst writing all these other stories. It does contain spoilers for a few other series but it doesn’t actually ruin any of the surprises, cuz this is the cuilverse. It’s explicit, and details my journey through my trauma, dealing with my illnesses, and my tendency towards suicidality. It outlines how I reclaimed my sexuality, came to terms with my attractions or lack thereof, how I dealt with cutting and neglect and starvation, and hints at my daily lived reality by contrast. It’s heavy, it’s sexy, it’s raw, it’s revealing and highly involved writing. It delves into abuse culture roots and takes place in my timeline before, during, and after cuilverse events. The last book will be the ultimate last book.
The Colds is the happiest and healthiest series. It features one of the few families of joy, consistent consent culture, accountability and responsibility, and ghosts and realms and shit. The style is simplified and straightforward. There is some impact play, but mostly not graphic, though sometimes explicit. It is concurrent with the Allison Dutch series, within the same timeline, and you even see some of the same folks. You learn more about the events in the wider world during the vampire uprising.
Mark’s Chronicles takes place directly prior to the BTS. It is…raw as fuck. Explicit, incredibly gay, graphic, incredibly plain, and deals with Mark’s childhood. It features his trauma, the beginning of his epic growth curve, and him coming to grips with the fact that he will one day control all of time. He also really, really hates me cuz I pop in to fuck things up from time to time. :)
The Cuil Spread is a collaboration between Ripley and myself, featuring the various unique writing styles and sexual possibilities for the cuilverse.