A volus horror writer and former CDN poster.
From Galactipedia, the free galactic encyclopedia:
MOR ORTLO (Seventh Rotation (Terran equivalent: July 7), 2126) is a volus author of contemporary horror, science fiction, and mystery. He is known best for his Lingering Shadows quintet, which spans five books and was recently made into a series of holovid programs for Channel AG1, and for the horror/mystery novel On a Black Road.
As of 2185 CE, Ortlo has written and published 37 books, including the Lingering Shadows quintet, 25 separate novels, four collections of his short stories and three non-fiction books. He has collaborated with writers such as Vincent Peterson, Kallo Terrio Pithari Midna Oshario Mannovai, and Isara Vithari. Many of his works have been adapted for vid and sim, most notably his Lingering Shadows quintet, and On a Black Road is currently in production with Vealine Cinematics for a 2187 release.
Ortlo has one child, Vin Kortho, and one divorced wife, Yam Imoro. In 2175, the Coalition for Galactic Fiction awarded Ortlo the Distinguished Writer’s Achievement award for his contribution to galactic literature.
Ortlo was born in Xaxi, Mortotova, on Irune to Vaklis Meto and Opo Kilal. Vaklis and Opo, both minor financiers with the First Protection bank on Irune, were able to provide the young Ortlo with a good education and hoped he would follow them into finance as he grew older. Instead, he entered the Savant Gredl International University where he studied marine xenobiology. It was during his six-year stint at the university that Ortlo wrote his first short story, I See You, which was recognized by the Gredl Fiction Review as “the most original short story produced in years.”
After finishing his marine xenobiology degree, Ortlo went to the hanar homeworld, Kahje, as part of a deep-sea arctic exploration team on the submarine platform Khala Ma’iie as a junior cataloguer. During the three years he spent on the Khala Ma’iie, Ortlo wrote an additional five short stories as well as a full novel (Deep Ice) and began setting the groundwork for the Lingering Shadows quintet. After the minor acclaim Deep Ice received, Ortlo was picked up by Yardhouse Publishing, where he has remained to this day.
Ortlo’s primary inspiration for writing horror fiction was detailed in the 2152 issue of Horrorpocalyse Magazine, where he cited authors such as Vikto, Yaiame, Lovecraft, Poe, and Centhros as his “best friends growing up.”
“I was first introduced to horror in tribal collective school,” Ortlo said. “It wasn’t much, just a tawdry collection of old volus horror stories – but I simply couldn’t get enough of it. It became like an addiction, and like all addictions, it clawed at me, making me hunger for more. Eventually, it wasn’t enough to read it – I had to write it. To be honest, I had no pretense of even publishing these stories when I first started writing; it was just an exercise, something to amuse myself with when the ice-storms came or the ammonia mists kept us out of class.”
SUCCESS WITH ON A BLACK ROAD
Although Deep Ice was Ortlo’s first published novel, the volus writer didn’t receive the acclaim he is now known for until the publication of On a Black Road. Inspired by a traumatic event in Ortlo’s life when he had been separated from a tour group while viewing the Prothean ruins on Mars, On a Black Road is described as a story about “the horror of loss, isolation, and confusion in a place that should be familiar, but isn’t.”1
The story revolves around a volus accountant named Iriv Metgo who is asked to audit a turian colony on the fringe of known space, only to find out upon arriving that everything is subtly off – the turians appear different than they do in their bios, they mine iridium 98 instead of iridium 20, the colony’s name is Blactha instead of Balactra, etc. Over the course of the book, Iriv discovers that the original colonists were destroyed and replaced by a “thing” (the exact nature of the “thing” is never fully explained in the book) deep within the planet’s core that intends on spreading itself throughout the galaxy through these copies once the colony “fails.” Iviv’s slow descent into madness as he tries to reconcile the truth as he was told to expect, the truth as he sees it, and the truth as it is finally revealed to him is the high point of the book, and eventually the dialogue splits into three separate dialogues as the different ‘Ivivs’ deal with the horror of the situation.
On a Black Road met with such success that is now considered a staple of modern horror fiction. Although many attempts have been made to film the novel, none of them have met with the approval of Ortlo and are considered “homages” or “pastiches” of his original work. The writer hopes the upcoming authorized vid version will be “up to par” after the “horrible ripoffs” of previous attempts.
SUCCESS WITH THE LINGERING SHADOWS QUINTET
Considered by many to be his magnum opus, the Lingering Shadows quintet is the work Ortlo is best known for, having been translated into all major and minor languages, including batarian. The quintet spans five books and is the writer’s first attempt at “documentary horror,” and is deeply influenced by the works of Ikt Vikto and Howard Phillips Lovecraft. The first novel, Lingering Shadows, tells the story of three individuals – Oscar Rodrigo, a human diplomat, Thalt Viernu, a volus vagrant, and Isharia Kaldressi, an asari art collector – as they each get wrapped up in a supernatural conspiracy that threatens to change the universe by rewriting not just history, but the laws of physics that govern it. The following three novels – Deeper Darkness, Black Corners, and Collapsing Foundations - chronicle how these three individuals meet up and work to stop a force known only as the Forgotten. The fifth and longest book, No Roof Overhead, finishes the quintet with the death of Oscar and Isharia, leaving only a mentally broken Thalt to know the truth of what really happened.
The entire five-book arc is written entirely in diary format from the perspective of the three protagonists, and the books are interspersed with both fictional articles written up by Ortlo himself and by factual information and articles that the writer felt “gave weight to the story.” Despite the length of the quintet (all together, the books count just over 5,000 pages of text), the Lingering Shadows story is considered a fast-paced read and has been successfully made into a holovid, holosim, and gamesim numerous times.
The most interesting bit of trivia regarding the series involves the banning of this work from the hanar homeworld. According to the hanar government, Lingering Shadows is a “unrighteous defamation of the Enkindlers,” claiming that the Forgotten – a individual creature or race of creatures who wish to change the universe to suit their needs – are closely modelled after the Protheans and that, as such, it blasphemes against Enkindler Doctrine. Ortlo has yet to comment about the ban, and has not let it affect his work, according to a recent interview in iNfluence magazine.
Shortly after publication of The Turn in 2171, Ortlo divorced his wife of 27 years, Yam Imoro, for unknown reasons, denying her and her clan their rightful proprietary claims for such a shocking event. The divorce caused a scandal on Irune, where media and cultural watchdog groups demanded a proper explanation. Later, it was uncovered that Imoro had been sabotaging certain contracts pertaining to Ortlo’s publishing deals, building the scandal to even greater heights. Although Ortlo claims to have forgiven his wife, he still denies her clan access to the proprietary claims due to them, saying “she made that money and more while she was stealing my credits from under my nose.”
In addition to the works of Vikto, Lovecraft, Poe, and others, Ortlo claims his greatest inspiration is both historical fact and what he calls the “ever-changing field of psychology.”
“No matter what your species, what your race, what your gender or creed, we are all of us tied to the same basic fears – isolation, confusion, and the unknown. I try to bring this to the forefront, try to shape each story off of the strangest pieces of historical myth and off the eccentricities of our own minds. Edgar Allen Poe did similar things, as did Vikto, Lovecraft, Yaiame, and even King, to a certain extent. After seeing how well these giants of literature did, how could I not be inspired to take up their banner and proudly wave it for all to see? I have no interest in remaking the genre, in fixing what isn’t broken. I just want to give it a new paint job and maybe carve my initials on its fender while no one’s looking.”
LIST OF WORKS (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)
- I See You (short story, Gredl Fictional Review, 2147
- The Stick Men (short story, Gredl Fictional Review, 2147
- Wings of Amber, Teeth of Glass (short story, Gredl Fictional Review, 2148)
- King’s Game (short story, Yardhouse publishing, 2150)
- I Have Watched You All This Time (short story, Yardhouse publishing, 2150)
- The Horror in the Hallows (short story, Yardhouse publishing, 2150)
- Dexto’s Glass (short story, Yardhouse publishing, 2150)
- Under the Black (short story, Yardhouse publishing, 2150)
- Deep Ice (novel, Yardhouse publishing, 2150)
- Burnt (short story, Yardhouse publishing, 2151)
- I Breathe Life Into You (short story, Yardhouse publishing, 2151)
- On A Black Road (novel, Yardhouse publishing, 2152)
- On What Wings They Come (short story, Yardhouse publishing, 2152)
- A Turian, a Human, and a Krogan walk into a bar... (short story, Yardhouse publishing, 2152)
- Rivers of Salt (short story, Yardhouse publishing, 2152)
- Lingering Shadows, book one (novel, Yardhouse Publishing, 2153)
- Hold (novel, Yardhouse Publishing, 2153)
If I let everything that was crazy or frightening dissuade me, I wouldn't be a very good horror writer, would I? That said, I appreciate the warm welcome, and am flattered you would start with Lingering Shadows. If I may unfurl my ego a bit, it is quite possibly the best thing I've ever written, next to Language of Horror and On A Black Road. That said, please avoid Ariana's Curse as if it were a plague. I wrote that because I needed to make a payment on my summer home.
On Batarian Literature
"With the ban on Hegemonic literature in the Alliance sphere - and the current anti-batarian trend in the entertainment industry - I've had very little contact with it. The extent of my knowledge of batarian literature consists of the poet Khol Curanok, the novelist Goronak Xerbonix, and the... well, the name's been blacked out here, but whomever wrote Hidden in the Corners."
Threads of Note
Barnes & Noble Exclusive: Meet Mor Ortlo!: Confound it!
Apologies and Literature, in That Order: What is CDN reading?
Volus Fight: A market day is interrupted by HAM-TO-HAM COMBAT.
CALAMITY!: Someone has stolen his book.
An Intellectual Exercise: Mor tries his hand at the six word story, and encourages others to contribute.
HO HO *hssst* HO: Mor Ortlo and Sug Oref celebrate Yintal.
Mor Otlo's Final Posts:
- Re: Fun With Conspiracy Theories!
- Re: Sincerest greetings.
- Re: Look out Citadel, here I come!
- Re: Progress Report on the Invasion of Earth
Enter Goph: Goph arrives on the new CDN, and remembers his old friend.