What Exactly is Cuil Fiction?
The short of it:
Cuil Fiction is a (relatively) new genre that makes room for all kinds of suppressed & oppressed stories to burst forth and take form.
There’s room for the trauma of oppression to air out & be properly addressed, but this is also the genre for those who dare to dream: of futures, parallel universes, other—better—safer—weirder—more openly dangerous—worlds near & far where characters get to have agency and be fully themselves, come what may.
It’s a genre where we can break not only the fourth wall, but the 4th dimension—and still turn to mush thinking about a crush…or a squish… and spend time talking about what’s for dinner back on your home planet.
Expect #disabled #romance, & #kinky #aro #lovestories, and of course the power of #friendship & #queerplatonic partnership.
Expect Black girls who get to be princesses, & their suitors of all genders to treat them right. Expect parents who teach consent and leaders who apologize, but expect no apologism. Expect justice to be fought for & eventually served. Expect the chance to heal.
Take what you’ve come to expect & shake it right outta your head! Expect to be delighted. Expect the unexpected. That’s #CuilFiction
The long of it:
Michon sat down at age 12 and invented a new genre. One filled with absurdism and satire about all of the ideas that people took for granted like normality, amatonormativity, religion, mental states, physical capabilities, etc.
Basically, cuil fiction is inclusive fiction that breaks society’s expectations. That means stories about intersex, BIPOC, pansexual, women, gender variant, ace, aromantic, autistic, disabled, kinky people and all others normally marginalized, ignored, or misrepresented in media are centered without explanation or undue angst.
It is trauma-informed, neurodivergent-affirming, and built of self-love rather than self-loathing. It is transformative, acknowledges the struggle, and endures until the end.
Cuil fiction regularly involves discussions of informed consent by those who span the scale of emotional intelligence. It involves many non-monogamous configurations even the alternative relationship communities have yet to acknowledge. It runs the gamut of the sexes, preferences, orientations, health, and races in intersectional ways that most haven’t seen anywhere else. It is cuil because, ironically, it depicts the variation and reality among humans that people deny or are ignorant of in real life.
How does the Cuilverse fit into Cuil Fiction?
The Cuilverse consists of a specifically integrated set of cuil fiction stories. These stories are primarily written by Michon Neal and Ripley Santo, but other authors may be invited to become canon within the Cuilverse. So the Cuilverse is a special multiverse made up cuil fiction stories.
Nothing is sacred in the cuilverse; Michon tore apart everything ze came across, daring imaginary future readers (likely simply variations of hir) to question everything people believed was absolute.
There are no flat characters in the cuilverse, there are only dynamic people. The focus is on their relationships to themselves, others, and the world around them and not simply on how beautiful that plant in the corner is. They actually react to, change, and interact with the universe they inhabit. And while they do tend to break the fourth wall, you’ll find the science, philosophy, anatomy, and diversity is more real than people realize.
Following Michon’s custom, a Cuil Level is assigned to each work published by Cuil Press. Each level is progressively further removed from oppressive reality as we know it. Cuil Levels are from one to six and in ascending order for the amount of abusrdism/abstraction/presence of surreality/ratio of queer/disabled/BIPOC to straight/cis/able-bodied people. And level zero is downright bizarre and uncomfortable for everyone.
In general, the higher the cuil level the more absurd, impossible, and abstract the events. Basically, it’s like the books are ranked from realistic fiction to anime-level creativity and beautiful insanity.
For example: The Cuil Effect Project
The integrated works that stem from The Black Tree series are called The Cuil Effect Project.
Each series within the project has different cuil level. All of the cuilness stems from one universe breaking and leaking into other universes. Events become entangled, people get zapped into other universes, and random shit happens, seemingly for no reason. The cuil levels are also affected by how far the given universe is from the crack that created all the spillover. The actions the people take either add to the insanity or work to restore it, knowingly and unknowingly.
The Allison Dutch Series, within the Cuil Effect Project, is cuil level 4. The many fantasy creatures (vampires, witches, and lycans, oh my!) put it well outside of reality-as-we-know it. However the series is based in a variant of Earth today and includes a lot of real history and little known facts.
As nonsensical as it all seems closer to the break, however, there is actually point and a purpose. All the stories and series within the project are inextricably and meaningfully integrated.