Spider Dreams

Slade Stevens' ...Overworld

An introduction...

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Slade Stevens'



The story begins a number of years ago, when I worked for an auctioneer.  Part of my duties, when we sold an estate, included going through the boxes of miscellaneous stuff that people had accumulated over the years, the things that the family (if any) either didn't have the time or the heart to sort through.  Some of the boxes held papers, letters, and documents that may have been either legally or sentimentally important to the individual.  Mostly, though, they only held personal secrets and correspondence.  There weren't any shares of stocks that were worth millions of dollars, no claims to rich oil fields or diamond mines.  Just personal treasures of little value to anyone but close family or friends.


While we were preparing for one such auction, the estate of a Mr. Slade Stevens, I came across a box of hand-bound papers and manuscripts.  They were mostly short stories, a few notes, and the like.  I asked the family contact about them, and discovered that Mr. Stevens had tried his hand as a writer during the height of the pulp fiction era, in the twenties and thirties.  His work was never published, so he gave up on the idea and boxed up his manuscripts.  But he never forgot the dream.  He kept the old stories around as a reminder of his younger days.  I asked the person if it would be okay if I took them, since they would be thrown away otherwise.  "Sure," he said.  "But I dont see why.  Do what you want to with 'em."


So, I spent some time on my days off going through the manuscripts.  The writing wasn't bad, on par with Lovecraft's early work.  It wasn't publishable the way that it was, and it was terribly outdated.  (According to the story, the world as we know it will end in 1963.)  But the concept behind it was interesting to me.  In the time since, I've tried to rework the concept behind the manuscripts, and update them a bit.  Most of the ideas in "Overworld" havent been changed.  Mr. Stevens' concepts of a one-world economy, driven by a single monolithic conglomerate, a world left devastated by man-made and natural disasters and plague, the use of space colonies to supply the remaining inhabitants of Earth, even the rebels the oppose the tyranny of the Corp-States (his term) and a thriving underground human civilization seemed visionary, and have been kept in the story.


It is my hope that Mr. Stevens' little dream will finally come true, and that he might reach a new audience after all of these years.


(With luck, there will be a nifty graphic here soon.  One that I didn't create...)

copyright 2002, William A. Rae