From The Writers' Room Featuring Bookburners

Max Gladstone on writing Bookburners S02, Ep01: “Creepy Town”

Knowledge can hurt.

Welcome back!

The first season of Bookburners left the Society and our heroes reeling. Team Three saved Sal from a demon, and in the process uncovered corruption at the Society’s highest levels. In a way, this was almost convenient—saving Sal involved breaking just about every rule in the Society playbook, but a Society trying to recover from Cardinal malfeasance has bigger fish to fry than Sal, Liam, Grace, Menchú, and Asanti.

When the Bookburners writers room gathered to discuss this season, we knew we’d be telling a very Bookburners S2E1 Cover 600x960px 300dpidifferent story—a story about building and development, as opposed to our reaction-driven first season. With the Society rudderless, many hands jostle for the tiller. Only Asanti has a clear vision for the Society: she wants to understand the logic behind the magic she’s spent her career suppressing.  Asanti knows the waters of magic are rising; to save the world, she’ll need to know everything she can find about the powers that endanger it.

Of course, not everyone agrees with this approach. The conservative elements of the Society may lack political will at the moment, but there’s plenty of disagreement even within Team Three. Liam mistrusts magic because of the years he lost, and the damage demonic possession wreaked on his body and his life. Grace stands divided on the subject; she wants freedom from her curse, but she also knows magic’s dangers. Menchú can’t deny the value of Asanti’s knowledge—it helped Sal survive last season, after all—but he’s anxious about gaining more. After being tortured by the Society, Sal’s not exactly sympathetic to their position, but she’s also had first-hand experience of the dangers of magic.

Team Three’s still keeping the world safe from monsters. But, can Team Three get out ahead of the monsters? Can they stop putting out fires, and start fireproofing?

I’m skeptical, myself. But we’ll see how it works out for them.

The slightly different approach this season let us explore new territory, new characters, and work with new writers. Andrea Phillips joins us on the writing team this season, and we’re happy to have her! Also, we have our first Bookburners guest writer: Amal El-Mohtar’s seventh episode is fantastic, and I can’t wait to share it with you. (I mean. I can wait a few weeks. We have to release the first handful of episodes first!) Writing this season was a cackling, fantastic good time, and I’m so happy to share it with you.

Our heroes are learning, this season: about magic, and about themselves. But knowledge can hurt.

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