What is TORCH?
TORCH is an online science fiction web saga by Prismatic. It is made up of four stories, each of which updates once a week:
- BEACON, a military science fiction story (updates Mondays)
- HEARTH, a political thriller (updates Tuesdays)
- LUX, a magical drama (updates Wednesdays)
- OPTICA, a cyberpunk detective story (updates Thursdays)
What’s it about?
All the stars in the sky are humanity’s to explore, thanks to the efforts and sacrifice of the brave agents of TORCH– almost all of whom are women. The interstellar protectorate stands alone and unrivalled- but without an enemy left to fight, the only place left to point their guns is inwards. And a terrifying new enemy lurks at the edge of the protectorate…
BEACON follows the mysterious Herod, a woman with no past and no future. All she can do is fight, and that means she fits in perfectly in the elite 119th “Lightning” Legion as they land on an alien backwater where nothing seems to add up. The low-risk and routine mission doesn’t stay that way for long, as the enemy proves themselves to be nightmarishly powerful. Separated from the main force with no hope of rescue, the 119th has only one choice: march through hundreds of miles of bizarre terrain infested with abominations to get to the extraction point.
HEARTH follows Henrietta, a war hero and minor celebrity- and the newest member of TORCH‘s legislature, the Sorority, Retta is a million times more comfortable in her armor fighting aliens than she is in suits giving speeches. And yet Grace, TORCH‘s most iconic leader, insists that she sees something in the brash young soldier. That means Henrietta is about to get a crash course in how TORCH‘s government works- just in time for a massive series of coordinated terrorist attacks to rock the protectorate. If Henrietta can’t navigate the minefield of factionalism and grudges that make up the Sorority, then the massacres will continue with nobody to stop them- and TORCH itself may cease to exist.
LUX follows Eve, TORCH‘s most infamous fugitive. Bookish and gentle, Eve’s only crime was having a nervous breakdown- and when you’re a devastatingly powerful witch, your nervous breakdowns end in countless dead. Now Eve lives on the run, as afraid of capture as she is of losing her temper for a second and final time. Then she learns of Lethe-2, an isolated base miles underwater where no one will ever come look for her. But Lethe-2 is sick, filled with drug dealers and cult leaders, witches and warlocks, manipulators and murderers. If Eve can’t keep the peace- within the base and within herself- then everybody dies.
OPTICA follows Jonquil, a straitlaced detective with a fierce sense of justice- and a sharp loner streak. But when you’re the clone of the most famous person in the galaxy, it can be hard to maintain a social life. That’s why Deputy Inspector Jonquil throws herself into her police work, unlike her hedonistic cyborg partner Aliza. But when the two start to investigate a brutal terrorist attack, they find themselves embroiled in a web of conspiracies and intrigue with no bottom. Jonquil is deadset on seeing the bomber brought to justice- no matter how many are deadset on seeing her dead.
Do I need to read all four stories?
Not at all. Each story has its cast and setting, and are enjoyable as standalones with zero knowledge of the other three. However, you will get the most out of TORCH if you read all four. Read whichever ones you like, be that one or two or three or all four.
Do the stories come with any content warnings?
TORCH overall is meant for an audience of 16 or older.
BEACON and OPTICA contain graphic depictions of violence. HEARTH contains one brief, mostly offscreen sex scene. LUX contains depictions of abuse and sexual assault. All four stories contain nudity and allusions to sex.
I have a question about the stories.
Almost everything you could want to know will be answered in the stories in good time.
What about the rest?
That you’ll have to ask me about. Or maybe a longer-term fan has the answers.
How do I meet other fans of TORCH?
Anyone you want to thank?
I’d like to thank the following people, who played a huge part in making TORCH possible: JThursby (for doing the lion’s share of work in building this website), Stretchy (for beta reading and unwavering support of the project), FenstonSingel (for beta reading and help with the Discord server), jupitermonkey4 and P47Healey (both for beta reading), Teraprosa (for help with the initial conception), my mother and father, and everyone else who has read, discussed, or otherwise engaged with this dream project of mine. You’re all truly wonderful.
Who is best girl?