If you were a child that was either born or grew up in the 1980s, chances are you watched the 1982 film called The Dark Crystal: a movie in which Jen–the last of the Gelfling race–undertakes a quest to repair the broken Crystal of Truth in the strange world of Thra while evading its many dangers and the horrors of the evil Skeksis and their Garthim minions. The world of The Dark Crystal–of Thra itself–was created by Jim Henson: the master puppeteer and creator of the Muppets, Labyrinth and many other shows and films.
The Dark Crystal is a world onto itself and despite talk about a sequel this world has only been expanded on so far in two graphic novels: Tokyopop’s Legends of the Dark Crystal and Archaia Entertainment’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths. In addition to Brian Froud’s The World of the Dark Crystal–an art book illustrated by the conceptual designer of the film itself which expands further on the actual identities and roles of the Mystics and Skeksis as well as the lore of Thra–there had been no other official creative forays into the world of The Dark Crystal…
On October 1, The Dark Crystal Author Quest began accepting submissions for the next Dark Crystal novel. It is a writing contest created and organized by the Jim Henson Company and the publisher Grosset & Dunlap of the Penguin Young Readers Group–While the Rules for this contest can be found under the Author Quest Rules and Regulations section on the site, basically anyone can submit a 75,000-10,000 word entry–either a short story or chapter excerpts–to the Contest in order to qualify for review by the Jim Henson Company and Grosset & Dunlap. Then of all those entries, five writers will be selected and go to the second round where–with revisions and editorial suggestions–they will expand their story into a 50,000 word manuscript. After that process, and in the immortal words of Highlander, there can be only one. The winner of The Dark Crystal Author Quest will thereby receive a $10,000 book contract for the next Dark Crystal young adult novel.
This story is not supposed to be a sequel. It is a prequel event that occurs during that the time of what is called The Gelfling Gathering: in which the Gelfling people, once ruled over by the Skeksis Empire, realize what their overlords truly are and begin the process of creating the Wall of Destiny or the Prophecy that will one day liberate them. It is a time where the Skeksis still rule over Thra and have supporters among the Gelfling that they will one day commit genocide against. During this time there are seven distinct Clans of Gelfling, sixteen pairs of Mystics and Skeksis that are still alive and a lot of world-building toys to work with: found in both The Gelfling Gathering Author’s Resource and the still-developing Encyclopedia, Mythological timeline and other goodies at darkcrystal.com.
As I said, submissions opened October 1 and will close December 31, 2013, so feel free to join this wonderful Contest, or the official Dark Crystal website listed above.
As the urSkek at the end of The Dark Crystal film states, everything is connected. I myself am a participant in The Dark Crystal Author Quest and as a new writer to G33kpr0n I thought I’d be very remiss in neglecting to mention the existence of such a Contest. It is a rare thing for an established creative world to be opened up like a playground to prospective writers to make what has so far generally been fanfiction into a possible literary and fantastic reality. At the top of the page is The Dark Crystal Author Quest Panel from the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con if you would like to hear about some of what it is going on from the Contest organizers themselves.
Whether as a participant or an observer, or a dedicated fan or someone coming in new to the franchise, I hope that you get to experience the expansion of cult-classic mythos that has been so inspirational to so very many.