Well friends, I guess I should probably say a little bit about what I write and what I’m currently working on!
Also – would anyone be interested in a Q&A session. I’d love to take questions from you in the comments below!
An Introduction to my Works
I write science fiction/fantasy. Some people will insist that these two genres are one and the same, but I don’t believe that’s true at all. Here’s why: sci-fi is rooted in several things, but I believe, at its heart, the name is what encapsulates it: fictional science. Fantasy, on the other hand, has a broad spectrum stemming from the abstract and whimsical, to fäerytales, to ‘high fantasy’ (myths), urban fantasy, and so on. Of course, you get things like Doctor Who and that really begins to blur the line between them. Yes, there’s the TARDIS and time travel, but take another look and you see a whole slew of fantasy elements rewritten to be justified by fictional science.
And that, right there, really is at the heart of what I myself write*: not time travel or interdimensional spaceships, but using fictional science to describe fantasy elements.
*That is, for my main series. I have other standalones that are purely fantastical.
So let’s discuss my main series in a bit more depth. I want you to picture the Roman Empire at its height, its fall, the ‘Dark Ages’ (which in many ways were not dark at all but a time of culture and learning, from what I’ve read over the years), and the Princely States that arose out of Europe. Got that? Great. Now forget everything about Roman and European culture – pretend it doesn’t exist, never existed. Place that concept in space, in a supermassive galaxy, and spread it across the stars.
Think of city-states of the Ancient Greeks, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (of Ancient China), think of the Renaissance, the Samurai, the Meiji period of ‘post’-Samurai Japan, the Mughal Empire, Ancient Babylon, the empire of the Songhai, and the floating fields and cities of the Aztecs – think of all of this and more, and you will realise what an incredibly rich history we have to draw from, a history that has inspired me, for having caught a glimpse of that history, it has pushed me to strive to raise the bar higher with my own setting. Looking at how cultures have changed, adapted, been absorbed, and fractured has really been eye-opening for me. So without directly plundering from any of these, but being inspired by their technologies and cultures, I’ve enriched my existing cultures.
A wonderful example of one of history’s oddities is Tulip Mania, back in 1637 during the ‘Dutch Golden Age’; the economy went crazy. Trade is an amazing part of our collective story(as well as a dark and terrible one), as is migration. Taking these simple concepts revolutionised my writing and changed the stories I write; instead of a static populace in nations where their borders rarely change, and people stick to their own little hamlets, I have multi-cultural, multi-ethnic hubs (as well as those remote hamlets). It may sound incredibly dull, and it usually doesn’t take the focus of the story, but movement really stirs a setting to life.
I have also taken the great thought experiment, the ‘what if’, and applied it excessively. What if we could go into space, what if we could terraform, what if we could achieve singularity? (That is, the fusion of Artificial Intelligence with mankind), what if we could eliminate disease? And so on and so forth.
Then there are the people. And this, perhaps, most of all, is where my passion and the ‘what ifs’ really come to the fore. All of my characters are on a journey, and all of them are based on the ‘what if’. Some are searching, some are content, but all of them have ambition, even if that ambition is to live life on their terms, even if that’s just a life of peace, paying taxes and keeping their heads down.
I like to write about struggle, strife, and facing hardships that on the surface may seem extremely trivial, but to the character enduring them, they’re anything but. Sometimes those hardships are simply pinpricks, but there are many of them. Yes, at most points in the story, a character could say “That’s it, I’m done!”, pack up and leave, or pick up a proverbial sword and go adventuring, but usually, there’s something tying them to those around them. It is these bonds that are fascinating to explore; at what point does one say ‘no more’, and walk away, and at what point does the enduring love one holds for others allow that person to persist against the rigours of life, even if those rigours ultimately spell ruin and disaster? And how do they pick up the pieces and heal from it?
Slaying dragons is great, but sometimes, the dragon takes the form of a silent, creeping shadow, sometimes it’s the size of a gnat, and physically slaying it costs too much.
In my writing, there are politics, economics, and romance, but most of all, I hope, there is life.
So there you have it, something of an introduction to what I write. As to the why? That’s another question for another time.
Hope you enjoyed hearing a little more about my works!
(Crossposted from my facebook author page)