When coming up with a futuristic take on mythology, there are a great many approaches one can take. As a writer, you’re free to treat the ancient myths as canon and run with the existing storytelling. The only thing left to do is fill in the gaps between where the original stories ended and the setting’s timeline. In the case of Norse mythology, however, there’s one cataclysmic event to deal with: Ragnarök, the final conflict that will end reality itself. Once you take into account how an entire culture thought we will all be extinguished, filling in the blanks becomes a lot more difficult.

Another way to approach Norse mythology in a hybrid neo-noir Viking/cyberpunk setting is to think of Norse mythology as the amalgamation of the tales told within an ancient culture that had no way of knowing what was really going on, as it lacked the technology to truly understand the gods, their spacecraft, their weapons and equipment in general. This is how most superhero comic book universes handle the matter and it is, more or less, the angle taken by Shield Maidens as well.

In Shield Maidens, Norse mythology is taken as canon, but the gods are partly reimagined as a species that possesses remarkable technology, albeit it often powered by the blood of Ymir – the primal being out of which Yggdrasil and the gods were born. Since the Fenrir Empire also knows about Ymir’s Blood and has set up pumping stations in order to fuel Midgard, this opens up the pathway to a great conflict that is raging throughout all of the nine realms – one that is not necessarily between the gods and the Empire, but between Fenrir and other factions that want to wrest control of Ymir’s Blood out of the totalitarian regime’s hands, for reasons that may be lofty… or entirely self-serving.

Odin has long since sat in Asgard as the Allfather, the ruler of the gods, and he shows little inclination to relinquish his throne. Often thought to be a fair and just ruler, Odin is nevertheless a proponent of the old ways, believing a leader must remain strong and steadfast in order to steer his people from growing wayward. Much of Odin’s history is one of construction. He built the gods and their society into the place it was at its height, he led them in building the Bifrost, and he now leads those who are loyal to him in preserving their place against insurrection. It is this inflexibility, his unwillingness to adapt and change to the turning of the age, that ultimately led to conflict with many gods, a conflict which led to war.

The one indisputable fact about Odin is that the war has changed him, ironic as little else has ever had the sway to do so. Those who have seen him describe Odin as weary, looking every bit as old as his years. Although he still clings true to the belief of the glory of Asgard and the righteousness of their ways, he has long since worn the crown heavily, now visibly weighed down by grief. He may now truly recognise all that his choices have lost him. Most of all, he mourns the loss of Loki, his adopted son banished from Asgard since time immemorial.

The Shield Maidens Kickstarter campaign launches on the 1st of April 2022.