Workshop Episode 21 (Guest Host: Christof Laputka)

The Roundtable Podcast, Workshop Episode 21, with Christof Laputka and Christopher Morse Christof Laputka – creator, writer, and producer of the epic audio event that IS “The Leviathan Chronicles” – returns to the Big chair to help workshop an inspired story idea offered up by podcaster, writter, and nefarious super-villain, Christopher Morse. Chris brings an amazing tale of alternate history with Rome under the influence of a vile and cunning criminal from the future. Julius Caesar, time travel, ironpunk automatons, roman soldiers, brothels… I mean DANG! There’s SO much gold in this episode, you’re going to want to bring a wheelbarrow!  (and if your thirst for literary gold is STILL unslaked, swing by Christof’s Showcase Episode for even more literary gold!)

PROMO: Podio Rookie Podcast

Workshop Episode 21 (Guest Host: Christof Laputka)

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

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Coming up on Christof’s Day-Planner…

  • Season Two of “Leviathan Chronicles” launches end of 2012/beginning of 2013 (ish… stay tuned!)
  • Episodes will be available absolutely free every two weeks!
  • The entire series will be for sale with bonus content (incl. an Epilogue leading into Season 3! Squeee!)
  • Also, The Directors Cut Edition of Season One will also be available (more squeee!)
  • In the meantime, look for Special Edition Episodes (incl. episodes written by former Roundtable Guest Host Mur Lafferty)
  • Like them on Facebook to stay on top of all the goodness!


And of Master Christopher’s fabulousity…


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Comments (16)

You guys were FAR too nice to me. Thanks so much!

OMG, please write very very fast! I so want to read this.

I’m glad Brion mentioned the time travel thing being distracting, I was thinking that myself. I mean, you certainly could make it work, but it opens up this whole other can of worms that doesn’t initially seem pertinent to Secundus’s story.

Holy Cow. I’ll be broke when all these stories I’ve been reading about start hitting the market. I want to read this so bad.

I want to reiterate what Christof said during the show, that if you go with the ‘going-back-in-time-takes-you-to-an-alternate-universe’ version of time travel then there is no reason to worry about causality violations. Our villain would be free to corrupt the ancients as much as they want. A well placed line or two about the multi-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and the story is good to go IMO.

I would be more apt to accept a time-traveler than I would a lot child of Atlantis that has high technology. And besides, if the antagonist isn’t taking a ship and going time hopping, why would they even need all that technology that is causing the earthquakes. I vote for sticking with time-travel.

I loved this show. No offense to previous guests and authors (and I haven’t listened to all the previous episodes yet) but this was my favorite I’ve listened to yet. Great story and the workshoping was awesome. I think the four of you really gelled together well.

I couldn’t agree more, Jeff. All our episodes are fun and we all engage in our own way to make it as awesome as possible. But sometimes there’s just a chemistry, an alignment that makes something go “click”. This was definitely one of those episodes.

Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

The time travel ‘issue’ will be addressed, but not dwelled upon. Promise. 🙂

Now, back to writing!

From the sounds of it, you have every intention of turning history and historical characters into your plaything, and that’s awesome. I’ll just drop a little reminder that other characters such as Mark Antony, Cleopatra, Pompey the Great (etc, etc) could pop up for large or small impacts on the story, and the change in history effects large or small changes on _them_.

For instance, wouldn’t it be hilarious if Mark Antony ends up falling in love with the sociopath from the future instead of Cleopatra? Would throw all sorts of history for a spin.

Actually, Antony and Pompey are both in my outline. Not so much Cleopatra, as the story takes place entirely in Rome. But…sequels perhaps?

BTW…anyone have ideas for cover art?

If you mean you’re looking for artists to make cover art I’d suggest looking at the catalogs of the imprints Angry Robot Books and Pyr. Both of those small presses seem to make consistently gorgeous books. The Pyr website usually links to the artist’s website on the page for each book.

I have a lot to say about this episode. I realize that it was recorded at least three weeks ago, so the author may be done revising the story by now, but I’m putting in my 2¢ anyway.

Let’s start with the ending. You talked about how the end should be about the difference between Secondus and the woman from the future. I think the key difference is that she is selfish, while he is selfless. He makes me think of George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life”, a bright ambitious person who all his life sacrifices his own goals for the good of his friends, his family, and his community. So when we get to the end of your book what Secondus should do is: call in every favor owed him to fight her, all of them. She may have tech but she doesn’t have any true allies.

On her characterization I am going to suggest the polar opposite of what Dave said. I say make her as sympathetic as possible until act three. Have her claim that in her world she was a “political prisoner” held by an unjust regime. Once she managed to escape to this world she was attacked, enslaved and abused. Now all she wants is to go home. (She would leave out the part where she is willing to blow up Rome to get home, but then even if she weren’t a criminal, who wouldn’t be willing to blow up a culture that enslaved and abused you if it meant going home?) It is really quite unfortunate that she showed up at this point in history, if she had ended up about 110 years later during Nero’s reign, Rome burns down anyway. And while you call her psychotic, is she really much worse than most Roman politicians? How bad is she compared to Caligula? (Yes, I know that’s a couple of generations later.)

On another point, she was the only survivor of a prison ship that crashed. To me that says that there weren’t many prisoners aboard. Does it really take 80 robots to guard one prisoner? If there were 40 prisoners (2 robots per prisoner) why weren’t there other survivors? What if she wasn’t a prisoner on the ship? What if the ship was delivering robot guards to a prison planet, and she hi-jacked it? While trying to escape with the hi-jacked ship something goes wrong and the ship is pulled through a “temporal vortex”. That would explain why there is a large robot army that she needs to repair and reprogram 1-by-1, because reprogramming the robots was part of her plan all along. She just didn’t plan on doing it in ancient Rome

Finally I will mention that while it is a story with great potential, as presented it is a bit sexist. We have only one major female character and she is evil. I realize we are talking about ancient Rome. It is not the most enlightened of times, but we have good men and bad men and men somewhere in between, but no mention of any good women (other than possibly Secondus’ niece, who we didn’t go into much detail. I assume that she is just there to be a victim to rescue and that she won’t be an active character.)

And that’s all I have to say, other than I look forward to seeing this book on my bookshelves someday.



Any and all 2 cents are taken and appreciated!

“And while you call her psychotic, is she really much worse than most Roman politicians? How bad is she compared to Caligula? (Yes, I know that’s a couple of generations later.)”

Well, my description of her (at least in my notes) is that she’s a sociopath, as opposed to a complete psychopath. But that description is open to change.

“Finally I will mention that while it is a story with great potential, as presented it is a bit sexist.”

I think this depends on what you mean by ‘sexist’. The protagonist is a male, the antagonist is a female, and due to the nature of Ancient Rome the majority of people my protagonist will come into contact with will also be male. However, I fully intend for Prima (his niece) to be as fully fleshed out as I can make her, and not at all a victim. Also, my plans include Servillia, the mother of Marcus Brutus, as an important character.

I don’t intend for it to be ‘sexist’, but in writing about a patriarchal society I want to do my best to present it honestly while still showing the many ways women obtained and held power within it. (Because that did, in fact, historically happen.)

Don’t worry, despite producing a supervillain podcast, all the women I write will not be evil.

Thanks for the advice!


I had two questions about the prolog: What was Duro’s relationship to the engineer, and how did the engineer die? Was it just in the fighting, or was it engineered by “Saturna?” And if the later, does Duro know that? 😀

Your answers, sir.

Rocky. Duro thought Vitruvius was a competent but arrogant jerk.

It looked, to Duro, that Vitruvius was killed by an arrow in the stomach, after which he bled out.

What Saturna may or may not have ‘engineered’ is currently up in the air…but I’m leaning towards what you’re implying. 😉

So it took me too long to listen to this episode, but I finally did.

1. Really like the idea.

2. Never, EVER be afraid of time travel stories. Seriously. If anyone ever cautions you on introducing time travel elements in your story, double down. You’re a supervillain, man. Time Travel is your personal bailiwick. Don’t let the heroes dissuade you just because it gets messy!

And THAT, dear friends, is why Master Wright has a seat reserved at the Roundtable. We don’t let him anywhere near Vegas, but that kind of reckless “damn the torpedoes” mojo has unlocked many a treasure vault of inspiration and discovery.

It ALSO has resulted in many pages of story being relegated to the shredder, but that’s never such a horrible thing and a small price for the liberating creativity it engenders. You GO, Chris! 😀

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