Monday, November 30, 2020

Year Of Worldbuilding in Fantasy # 11: Celebrating Our Supernatural Underground Worlds


#YoW Year of Worldbuilding
#WiF Worldbuilding in Fantasy

A Year In Worldbuilding – And Celebrating Our Supernatural Underground Community

Throughout 2020, I've focused my posts on worldbuilding in Fantasy fiction, with some attempt to look at worldbuilding over time and in different Fantasy subgenres, although the only true constant has been to hone in on worlds that have spun my own worldbuilding and reading "wheels" in some way. And, of course, to have fun with a subject and genre I love, in the hopes that you may also get some fun and enjoyment out of the process.

It has, after all, been a year in which a little additional fun and enjoyment would not go amiss. :-/

In every year, camaraderie and a sense of community always help keep our personal worlds spinning on their axes. In a year like 2020 that seems designed to test us, camaraderie and community feel more important that ever – which is why I felt the privilege in being part of a community of authors like the Supernatural Underground with additional keenness this year, and appreciated the friendship and support of my fellow authors just a little more deeply.

I am additionally privileged and appreciative that some of our Supernatural Underground authors have been able to make time in their busy writing and life schedules to share insights into their worldbuilding process – because being a community of Fantasy authors, worldbuilding lies at the heart of what we all do.

And because, in my own humble opine, my fellow Supernatural Underground authors, their creative ethic, and the creativity they gift the world, all rock. And I'm quite sure the books they pen have "gone bump in the night" for a great many, if not all of you, over the past decade of Supernatural Underground goodness. :-)

So for 1 December and the conclusion of my Year of Worldbuilding in Fantasy, I give you:

  • Amanda Arista
  • Kim Falconer writing as AK Wilder
  • Merrie Destefano
  • T Frohock
  • Helen Lowe

Celebrating Our Supernatural Underground Worlds



For the two books in the MERCI LANARD files I built two different worlds for Merci to walk through. While the magics of Merci Lanard didn't change, the worlds between the two books couldn't have been more different as they went from gritty city murder mystery to cozy small town murder mystery.

Big city magic is my wheelhouse. I loved building a city that was filled with magic just under the surface of everything, hiding, laying in wait. Graffiti that was actually magical sigils. Demon blood as addictive as drugs and mistaken for such. Bumps in the night that were actually bumps in the night. 

It made for a perfect place for Merci to explore her own power – in a familiar backyard. She knew her city more than she knew her own power. But by the end of the book, her relationship with her city and the world of magic within it balanced her newly honed power and how she could protect it.

So for the second book, the natural thing was to take Merci out of that element. Take her out of the big city and build her a sweet cozy little town filled with active retirees whose smiles made her suspicious. She would stick out like a sore thumb and have to work all over again at finding her balance. The magic of a small town was literally in everything, but hidden until Merci was ready to see how it was right out there in the open, unlike her big city. 

Though it turned out that darkness can be found in the sweetest of places, Merci had to learn some things that the city didn't require: subtlety and forgiveness. Only once she found her peace with her mother and peace within the town, could she find out who was taking out her newly found friends.

And for the third book, well, we are taking her totally out of her element again! THE TRUTH ABOUT SHADOWS coming 2021.

Amanda’s books are available in eBook and Print from: Amazon , Apple Books, Barnes and Nobles, Kobo

About Amanda Arista:

Writer, Story Nerd, Woman Extraordinaire – Amanda is a graduate of the SMU Creative Writing Program and now teaches other aspiring authors. 

You can find Amanda on Facebook:

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AK WILDER – CROWN OF BONES (Forthcoming) & Evil, Seduction, and Constraint

The other day, the wonderful Helen Lowe asked me what my personal recipe was for creating believable worlds. After giving it some thought, I came up with three primary forces or creation deities. Their names are Evil, Seduction and Constraint, just as intense as they sound.

Evil and Worldbuilding

Placed properly, Evil moves the story forward. This deity forces our heroes to struggle, grow, obtain and accomplish… or fail against a power greater than themselves. But Evil is more than just entertainment. It is a shadowed part of our unconscious.

According to Jung, the shadow can be extremely confronting to experience in ourselves, so we look for it ‘outside’ in films, books and art. There it reveals itself in a safe (for us) environment, offering an opportunity for integration and wholeness.

In my upcoming release, CROWN OF BONES, we meet characters who clearly express their shadow side quite freely: Tann, the Sierrak warlord who leads an army of phantoms against our heroes. Salila, the beautiful Mar who embodies the sacred feminine and is demonized for it, and the Sea itself, terrible and majestic, holding the secrets of death and eternal life. Without this ‘force of evil’, the world would definitely fall flat. 

Seduction and Worldbuilding

I think it’s important right away to distinguish deity from the idea of plausibility. The fact is, a story need not be plausible to be seductive. Take the incident on October 30, 1938 when millions of Americans panicked as they listened to the ‘news’. Earth was under attack from Mars! Programs were interrupted to give vivid descriptions of the events resulting in nation-wide alarm. You can listen to it here.

But it was only a performance, an adaptation of the science fiction novel The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells, directed and performed by Orson Welles. In adapting the book for radio, he delivered it like a news broadcast, to increase the suspense. Welles seduced his audience with a story that was low on plausibility but high on allure.

In CROWN OF BONES, Seduction infiltrates much of the worldbuilding: the terraced sanctuaries of phantoms, the Mar of the sea and the whistle bones themselves are not plausible but they do seduce the reader into believing. 

Constraint and Worldbuilding

The final deity of worldbuilding I want to honor is Constraint, the laws the story itself must adhere to. The truth is, fantasy readers are not testing a story against Newtonian physics, but they do want it to abide by its own laws. In CROWN OF BONES, Constraint contributes to worldbuilding in many ways including the limitations of phantoms, the power of the Ma’atta corals and the rise and set of the Second Sun. In a way, it is the consistent use of these unbendable rules that holds everything together.

CROWN OF BONES, Book #1 in the sweeping new Amassia series, is out January 5, 2020  – and it's available for pre-order now.

About Kim Falconer, Currently Writing As AK Wilder:

Kim Falconer, currently writing as A K Wilder, can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Or pop over to throw the bones or Raise Your Phantom on the site.

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MERRIE DESTEFANO – Her Worldbuilding Rules & AFTERLIFE 

Below is a list of world-building rules I follow when I write:

1. Set up your world so that it can have a natural evolution.

For instance, try changing just one thing within our existing world—like P.D. James did in The Children of Men, where suddenly, no one could have children—then see how, over time, that one change could affect everything else in the world.

2. These changes can be subtle or they can be drastic.

But spend time considering how this one change could have an effect upon our culture, from politics to religion to social mores. In my book, AFTERLIFE, I created a technology where people could resurrect instead of die and this had a trickle-down effect on nearly everything, including major world religions. I didn’t realize it until I started working on the book, but death is a very significant part of our lives.

3. Reveal these changes to the reader.

But do it carefully, gently, clue by clue, throughout your story. Reveal the world in bits and pieces, a little snippet here and there. Make it a mystery and remove the veil, one layer at a time. This way the reader is never overwhelmed or pulled out of the story. Remember, story is king. All the pretty writing and deep, tortured characters in the world cannot replace story.

For more world-building and writing tips, please follow Merrie Destefano’s blog here. Or subscribe to her newsletter here.  You can purchase AFTERLIFE: THE RESURRECTION CHRONICLES, her first book with HarperCollins, here.


About Merrie Destefano

Award-winning author Merrie Destefano writes lyrical tales of magic, mystery, and hope. Her traditional books have been published by HarperCollins, Entangled Teen, and Walter Foster, while her indie imprint is Ruby Slippers Press.

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T Frohock – Realism Meets The Supernatural In Her LOS NEFILIM World 

With my LOS NEFILIM series the world I’m building is our own, but as it’s seen through different eyes. As an adult adoptee, I’ve always felt something like an outsider looking in wherever I’ve lived, so with LOS NEFILIM, I wanted to translate that feeling into characters who straddled the line between the otherworldly and the mundane. Also due to my background as an adoptee, I believe in found families—those precious people who accept us unconditionally, and I wanted to show the value of these families.

I merged all the realism in the LOS NEFILIM books with a fantastic world made up of supernatural creatures. My interest in Christian mythology goes back to my novel, MISERERE, which also played with the ideas of angels and demons and their interrelationship with humans. LOS NEFILIM takes these very scary angels, combines them with self-centered daimons, and places them in the early twentieth century, a time of great upheaval in the world. The Inner Guard is a secret society of Nephilim, which is set up much like John Wick’s world of assassins, except in LOS NEFILIM, the creatures possess supernatural abilities.

Blending it all together, the LOS NEFILIM novels are a mix of Gothic horror, political thrillers, and war/resistance stories that I had a great deal of fun writing. They also afforded me the opportunity to show the brave men and women, many of whom were LGBTQ, who served during Europe’s fight against fascism. 

I also had the opportunity to shed light on something that I love to address in a fantasy setting, a loving committed relationship between Diago and his husband, Miquel. Too often in fiction, we see the beginning of a relationship, which is always exciting and fun, but I wanted to show the difficulties and joys of a couple in a long-term relationship. As Diago and Miquel face new traumas and experiences together, they remain supportive of one another.

The most surprising thing that I learned while writing the series was in the world-building itself: as I wrote the angels’ story, I realized that the otherworldly creatures in LOS NEFILIM were actually the angels that lost the war in Heaven. They were the fallen angels, descended to the earthly realm, where they created the Nephilim to serve them. It was a fun ah-ha! moment for me and added yet another dimension to the world of LOS NEFILIM, which just goes to show that no matter how well an author thinks they know their own world, there’s always room for new developments.

T’s books are available in eBook and Print from your favorite bookstore, either online or on the high street. A SONG WITH TEETH, the third and final novel in the LOS NEFILIM novel trilogy, is forthcoming on 9 February 2021 and is available for preorder.

About T. Frohock

T. Frohock has turned a love of history and dark fantasy into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. A real-life cyborg, T. has a cochlear ear implant meaning she can switch you on or off with the flick of a switch. Make of that what you will. She currently lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, a southern colloquialism for lying.

You can find T. on her website, here and on Twitter: @T_Frohock

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Helen Lowe  Worldbuilding At Front And Center In THE WALL OF NIGHT Series

I embarked on this worldbuilding post series because I love Fantasy, but also because I believe worldbuilding lies at the heart of what makes the genre distinctive from other styles of literature. 

All literary genres must set their scene, but in Fantasy this process goes beyond landscape and backdrop to encompass alternate realms and forms of being – and to persuade the reader to suspend disbelief and embrace the alternate reality.

In terms of my own series, while the Wall of Night doesn’t comprise the entire world in which the story takes place, it isn’t chance that the series is named for it. Perpetually twilit, windblasted, and storm-ridden, the Wall pervades and shapes Book #1, THE HEIR OF NIGHT, through sheer physical presence and the emotional and mental demands on the characters. 

While the action in Book #2, THE GATHERING OF THE LOST, takes place far from the Wall geographically, its presence pervades the rest of the world and its influence continues to shape the main characters. 

Although aware the Wall was central to the story, I didn’t appreciate the full extent of its significance until midway through GATHERING. I loved the way the world was expanding to encompass the Sothern Realms of Haarth—particularly the River and the city of Ij, before moving to the wild and isolated Northern march of Emer—and was enjoying the unfolding narrative.

Yet despite these positives, the book as a whole felt a little rudderless—disconnected even—until I wrote the two-chapter sequence, The Border Mark, that returns the story to the Wall and the Derai, the society that garrisons its harsh terrain.

Immediately, GATHERING and the series’ arc both felt grounded and sure, as if—like the mythic Titans that must maintain contact with the earth to preserve their power—I must maintain ‘contact’ with the Wall to keep the overall story centered. It was an illuminating moment, and testament to worldbuilding being front and center of THE WALL OF NIGHT series. So much so that it’s been described as a character in its own right.

I didn’t need to remind myself to include the Wall as a similar ‘touchstone’ for Book #3, though, as DAUGHTER OF BLOOD returns the main characters and the series arc to its heartland, on the Wall of Night.

As with T’s LOS NEFILIM series, THE WALL OF NIGHT #1 - #3 are available in e-book and paperback, through online retailers and bricks-and-mortar stores. J


About Helen Lowe

Helen Lowe is a multiple award-winning novelist, poet, and lover of story. With four books published to date, she is currently completing the fourth and final novel in THE WALL OF NIGHT series.

Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and tweets @helenl0we.

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Well, this is it – the wrap up for the Year of Worldbuilding in Fantasy. I can think of no better way to finish than with the crown of good company – and my fellow Supernatural Underground authors are the very best of company. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading their insights into the worldbuilding process as much as I’ve enjoyed putting the overall post together – and I’ll see you again on the other side, in 2021. 

Take good care and stay safe through the holiday season.

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2020: The Year of Worldbuilding in Fantasy 

February: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia) by CS Lewis

March: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
April: Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
May: Palimpsest by Catherynne M Valente
June: Ship of Magic & the Liveship Traders series by Robin Hobb
July: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
August: Tymon's Flight (Chronicles of the Tree) by Mary Victoria
September: DreamhunterDreamquakeMortal Fire, by Elizabeth Knox
October: The Many Worlds Of Kate Elliott
November: A Wealth of Fabulous Worlds

Thursday, November 19, 2020

inCONceivable Virtual Convention - Behind the Scenes


The Mad Writers Tea Party

In the time of social distancing and lockdown, it can be hard to connect in the ways we are used to. But let me just say... it can be done!

I'm just back from the wild and wonderful inCONceivable virtual convention. It was absolutely amazing and I can't wait to share these panels, writers, presenters and pop artists with you.

Highlights from inCONceivable

First there us the Mad Writers Tea Party, a panel with me (as A K Wilder aka Kim Falconer, Isobelle Carmody, Traci Harding, Kylie Chan and Juliette Marillier:

We had at least as much fun as 'The Mad Hatter's Tea Party' by Beyond Cinema

Watch the full two hours, in two parts!

Mad Writers Tea Party Part I

Mad Writers Tea Party Part II

For me, the other panels that were unmissable included:

Diversity in Infinite Worlds hosted by Annie McCann

Aussie Author Horror Show hosted by Alan Baxter

Hollywood Prop Gods hosted by Becosplay Forge

The entire weekend was a blast. I mean, a virtual convention where you can shop all your favourite local artists and pop culture merchandise, listen to authors talk about your favorite genres, writing tips and support, behind the scenes in Hollywood... all without leaving your home?

What's not to love?

I'll be sure to let you know when the next inCONceivable event is on.

What's your favorite way to connect with authors you love? Pop a not in the comments to share with us. :)

Be safe!


* * * 

Author Kim Falcconer

Kim Falconer's New YA Fantasy is out January 5, 2020 - Crown of Bones. book #1 in the Amassia Series (Writing asr A.K. Wilder

Also, check her urban fantasy  - The Blood in the Beginning - an Ava Sykes Novel and the SFF Quantum Enchantment Series

You can find Kim on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Or pop over and throw the bones or Raise your Phantom on the site.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Sound of Magic

I've often been enchanted by the supernatural magic found in movies, how story combines with images and sound. 

Of course, I love books too. I guess because when I'm reading, my mind creates the setting, it fills in the shadowy figures of the characters, and it hears the intonation of the voices. I just never expected audio books to sound so much like a stage play. 

It's almost as if the play is actually taking place, except the stage curtain is drawn. Your mind still fills in all the blank spaces. Except now, it feels like you're inside the story. Really. Inside

I actually got scared when I listened to my narrator reading Shade, Dusk, and Dawn. And they're my stories!


Shade: Book 1: The Re-Imagining of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein will go up for preorder in two days. Then it will release on December 1. Right now, Dusk is fast behind it, releasing on December 10, if all goes well. We are still fine-tuning the final book in the series, Dawn, but hope we can have it out in time for Christmas.

What audio books have you listened to that you absolutely loved? Darkness Brutal by Rachel A. Mark is amazing! I loved it!

I loved Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Also, Dracula narrated by Tim Curry and Alan Cummings, Jane Eyre narrated by Thandie Newton, and The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins. 

I especially enjoy thrillers and mysteries, so those are what I often listen to.

But what about you? What characteristics are you looking for when you choose an Audible book? Are you heading off on a long car ride and want something to keep you focused? Or are you exercising and need to keep your brain active while your muscles work?

Don't forget to read some of my recent posts here:

AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR AND ARTIST, Merrie Destefano studied art at Northern Illinois University, met her husband at a kazoo parade, laughs at all jokes, and ugly cries during corny movies. Her books have been published by HarperCollins, Entangled Teen, Walter Foster, and Ruby Slippers Press, and, most likely, she's writing her next book while you're reading this. Born in the Midwest, she now lives in Southern California, where she runs on caffeine, and shares her home with rescue dogs and cats.

Her writing awards include:
• 2010 Mount Hermon Writer of the Year
• 2019 Realm Award for Supernatural/Horror: Shade: A Re-Imagining of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
• 2019 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, Silver Medal Winner: Shade: A Re-Imagining of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
• 2019 YARWA Athena Award, Second Place: YA/NA Speculative Fiction for Valiant.

You can visit her website here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020


Year of Genesis: When you just have to create from scratch

Its NANOWRIMO time!!!

National Novel Writing Month is an online effort to increase creativity across the world by sponsoring a challenge to write a 50,000 book in a month. Yep. 50,000 words in 30 days.

That is roughly 1700 words a day.

Depending on writing speed, that is 2-4 hours a day working on a novel. Or 12,000 words a weekend.

If you have been following the whole Year of Genesis, you'll know that this year was primarily dedicated to THE MERCI LANARD FILES and the creation of three books in that series. Two are out, one is still in the works. It got written in 2020 (super surprised myself), but is waiting to be editing. 

Why am I waiting, you ask? Why aren't I working on that sure thing instead of waisting a month writing furiously on a BRAND NEW THING. 

Well, thank you for asking, because I had to convince myself to make that choice.

1). 2020 has been hard on my writing habits. I've been more like a recreational hopscotcher than an athlete. For the last two months, I haven't been writing at all, only piddling around with words, half reading books. So NaNoWriMo will be like writing bootcamp for me. 1700 words a day will get me disciplined to finish 2020 strong. 

2). My brain is a raccoon. It likes new stuff and when faced with rehashing a murder mystery or working on a brand new secret project (WITCHES!) that my agent and I cooked up together, well, I'll take the new and shiny to help attract me to the hard work that NaNoWriMo will be. 

3). I've had this idea brew for a while and found myself really enjoying creating everything from scratch. This one isn't in the THOSE WHO WANDER universe like all my other books. This is a total top-to-tails creation. So instead of working on something without deadline and potentially squandering a year, I'd like to have a deadline to call it... well...dead. If this doesn't work, if the magic doesn't work, if i can't write it, I've given myself one month to either call it a win or timestamp Time of Death on this idea.

Or at least that is what I am telling myself. 

So as far as NaNoWriMo goes, if you haven't heard of it before, click on the link above. If you have heard of it and think that we are crazy, we are. If you've been itching to maybe try your hand at the creative life, please do! Your story is important.

Have to go now: NaNo-ing!

To the Writers Cave-- see you in 30 days to see how this little experiment went!


Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther Series
The Merci Lanard Files

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Year Of Worldbuilding in Fantasy # 10: A Wealth Of Fabulous Worlds

#YoW Year of Worldbuilding
#WiF Worldbuilding in Fantasy


Well, here we are: already on November 1, with Halloween immediately behind us, and only one more worldbuilding post date to go on December 1. (And I hope to have something special planned for that. J)

Reaching November 1 and #10 in the worldbuilding series, though, made me realize just how many fabulous worlds there are in Fantasy – far too many to encompass in eleven posts, alas. So this penultimate post is going to look at more than one author and world, just to squeeze a few more in under the wire.

Just by way of a reminder, these are worlds that have made an impression on me in their own right, evoking a “wow” response. I started the series with CS Lewis and Narnia, and he is famous for the phrase “surprised by joy” – a term I would paraphrase, in terms of Fantasy worldbuilding, as “surprised by delight.”

So here are a few more examples that have surprised me with delight, evoked moments of wow, and generally spun my fantasy-reading wheels.

The Alvin Maker Series by Orson Scott Card

I have only read the first trilogy of this series: Seventh Son, Red Prophet, and Prentice Alvin, all published in the late 1980s, although I understand there is a second trilogy, and a seventh, concluding novel potentially forthcoming.

The Alvin Maker worldbuilding made a huge impression because it was among the first epic fantasy series I read that wasn’t set in a quasi, medieval Western European milieu. It was also the first Fantasy world I encountered that drew on the folklore and history of colonial North America. 

I loved it: the weaving together of the magic/power of “making”, with “knacks” and “hexes”, together with an alternate historical geography of colonial North America that juxtaposes a Puritan republic in the north, with a Stuart kingdom-in-exile in the south, a still-extant Iroquois Confederation, here a separate republic, and a smaller United States and neighboring Appalachee somewhere in the middle.

As with most alternate histories, there is still enough real history to provide significance and recognition for readers. So this is still the colonial North America of religious difference, wars between Native Americans and white settlers, and of slavery, all of which play a significant part in the evolving story. 

There are also appearances by, or references to, real historical figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa (the “red prophet” of the second book), and Mike Fink. 

As the series evolves, the magic of “making” evolves beyond component knacks and hexes into a symbiosis with the “greensong”, an eco-magic of the land and grounding in / balance with it – in that respect a little like Ursula Le Guin’s “equilibrium”, although otherwise these are very different worlds.

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

Staying with fiction published during the 1980s and also set in the (largely) historical United States, but shifting into what is as much magic realism as alternate history, I have always been inspired by Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale.

 The heart of the book is the world, and the world is New York – Manhattan and Brooklyn and Up State – in a variant of Gangs of New York meets Westside Story. A world that is to all intents and purposes “real” – except, that is, for the magic: a white horse that rediscovers flight, a pursuit that traverses a century, a bridge of light to infinity… It’s a rich, mythic, and utterly fabulous world, especially if you like a Victorian Gothic overlay to your historical urban setting.

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Leaping onward to the late 1990s, but lingering on the shores of magic realism imbued storytelling, brings me straight to Joanne Harris’s Chocolat. Instead of a mostly historical New York, we have contemporary French village and a tale that hooked me from the very first line:

“We came on the wind of carnival, a warm wind for February, laden with hot greasy scents … the confetti sleeting down … We are a curiosity to them, a part of the carnival, a whiff of the outlands…”

The heart of the world may be food (chiefly chocolate) but the sleepy world of village and river draw us in with their themes of self and other, light and dark, the divine and the mundane, the stranger amid a strange land that may perhaps become known… Not to mention far more than a dash of everyday magic to bring it into my fantasy lineup.

Northern Lights / The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman:

“Sometimes a book comes along that just seizes your imagination and for me, Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights/ The Golden Compass was one of those books. I just loved it …”

I wrote these words in 2011, but they are still just as true now as they were then – and hard to believe to, that it’s a quarter century since Philip Pullman’s tale of snow and northern lights, panzer bjorn (armor-wearing polar bears) and Finnish witches, “dust”, alethiometers and daemons, was first published. I still love its alternative historical Oxford that opens the book, and the story’s prevailing Victorian sensibility, including an age of exploration and scientific inquiry – not least “trepanning” – but also of exploitation, including of children.

The City & the City by China Mieville

Published far more recently, in 2009, I experienced a definite moment of worldbuilding “wow” on first encountering the interlocked and overlapping cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma in China Mieville’s The City & The City.

I enjoyed the Eastern European flavor to the divergent cultural characteristics of the two cities in terms of ethnicity, culture, religion, governance, and architecture. The way the citizens are trained from birth to “not see” the overlapping city that is all around them is also fascinating, as is the physical way in which Beszel and Ul Qoma interact, like a series of unfolding puzzle boxes. Definitely an excellent example of a world that is close to a character in its own right.


So Many Worlds...

Other outstanding worlds of more recent times include the cities of Sky and Shadow in NK Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy – while the graveyard in Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is a world entire of ghosts and magic within the larger, everyday world.

The Damar of Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword and Alan Garner’s dark and eerie Elidor from the book of the same name, are also seminal worlds for me.

And to return, in a sense, to my beginning, the world of Courtney Schafer’s Shattered Sigil series is shaped by the mountains and deserts of the American West – although the story and magic are a distinct secondary world, rather than the alternate colonial history of Alvin Maker.

So many fantastic and fabulous worlds, yet so little time to read and discover them all, yet alone post about them – almost an epic journey in itself, one you may be sure I shall keep pursuing in between my own writing. In fact, the pile on the TBR table has decided teeter-tottery characteristics…


Previous Months:

February: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia) by CS Lewis

March: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
April: Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
May: Palimpsest by Catherynne M Valente
June: Ship of Magic & the Liveship Traders series by Robin Hobb
July: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
August: Tymon's Flight (Chronicles of the Tree) by Mary Victoria
September: DreamhunterDreamquakeMortal Fire, by Elizabeth Knox
October: The Many Worlds Of Kate Elliott


Helen Lowe's first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. The second,The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012, and the sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood (Book Three), was published in 2016 and Helen is currently completing the final novel in the series. She posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and tweets @helenl0we