Friday, October 15, 2021

Love in the Time of Pandemics

Emere Necromancer by Iga Oliwiak on Art Station

Fantasy Fiction fulfils a variety of purposes. It can entertain and inspire us, stimulate and awaken us. It can also teach, offering examples of how we, as a species, respond to life-threatening conflict and challenges.

It's best not to let the elements of fantasy fool you. Most writers of this genre are constantly exploreing real-world issues in contemporary ways.

Take pandemics, for example.

In the current state of the world, it's a good time to look at SF/Fantasy stories with contagions at their core. I'm particularly interested today in books that explore how disease influences our core relationships. Here are a few favorite examples.


Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

In this novel, zombie boy meets rebel girl and the very act awakens the cure. Here 'zombies' are those afflicted with a disease, one that threatens the entire human population.

First as his (zombie boy's) captive, then his reluctant guest, Julie (rebel girl) is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn't want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight. 

This book is a great read that doesn't shy away from a unique combination of humor, horror and human behavior in a time of dystopia.


The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold


In David Arnold's The Electric Kingdom, the world is toast. It's not clear right away why, but the story hints toward a lab, a spill, a terrible mistake. 

This full-blown dystopia is on my 'must read' list. I loved the voices, the storytelling, the weaving of the different POVs... Two were in 3rd person and one in 1st. Very clever. 

The environment and stress of survival make for a grim backdrop -- the pandemic has basically won after all -- but there are these kids, with big hearts and so much hope. It shows how much that, no matter what happens, we reset and keep on living. 

While we can...



A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang


There are few obvious elements of fantasy in this novel but I included it for variety, and excellent storytelling. The mystery had me guessing right up to the end!

Just beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned—and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note.

You might also like Kang's Toxic for a stronger Fantasy perspective.



Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

This story is thought-provoking, getting inside your head and staying there long after you put it down.

Set in the days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

If you want to experience the death throes of a civilization on the brink, and still feel the warmth and resistance of love, this is it.



Bird Box by Josh Malerman

This book is creepy, on the edge of horror for sure, with a story that centres on an epidemic that forces a severe social distancing... one more extreme than ever imagined.  

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. . . but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Netflix has turned this into a series and Malerman's Bird Box #2 came out in 2020. 

Now it's your turn. What's your favorite pandemic novel. I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

xxKim

* * *



Kim Falconer, writing YA Fantasy as A K Wilder, is the author of Crown of Bonesbook #1 in the Amassia Series. The sequel, Curse of Shadowsis due for release in June 2022.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

You can Throw the Bones, read your monthly horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the AKWilder.com site or just drop a comment to chat. See you there!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Magic In Fantasy: The Magic Of SF-nal Worlds

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Hello October! The month in which our northern hemisphere peeps are definitely in autumn and looking forward to Halloween, while here in the south the new green of spring is everywhere and the days are definitely longer, but there’s still snow on the mountains.
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All in all it sounds rather magical, whether looking forward to the eeriness of Samhein or the bonfires of Beltane—which brings me to my theme of magic in fantasy fiction.
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The unifying theme of this month’s trio is the Magic of Fantasies that take place in worlds that are SF-nal in premise. Enjoy!
J


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Magic In Fantasy: The Magic Of SF-nal Worlds

I like to start with an older book, so first off the blocks is a 1989 Locus nominee for Best First Novel:


The Gate Of Ivory by Doris Egan

The Gate of Ivory is one of those wonderful works where the premise of the worldbuilding is SF-nal, but the tale itself is pure fantasy.
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The heroine, Theo (Theodora), finds herself stranded on the planet called Ivory, where magic is real and assassination a fact of everyday life. Her fortunes become entangled with that of sorcerer, Ran Cormallon, and the internal and external struggles of the Cormallon clan. As you may suspect from the synopsis, The Gate of Ivory is fantasy with romantic elements.
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I have always loved Theo’s “voice” and her character, who is smart, stubborn, and definitely not a
pushover. Her entry into the magic of Ivory is through the tarot, but the in addition to fully fledged sorcery, magic ranges from touchstones that capture memories, to formal, sorcerous duels.
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There is also a great backstory, involving space travel and genetic manipulation, as to why Ivory is the only known world where magic is real, and a logical rationale to how its magic works.
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Above all, though, it’s a fun and adventurous, as well as a magical fantasy, and one that I believe still reads well in 2021, thirty-two years after first publication.
J 

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Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning also has a SF-nal setting, in this case a post-climate change world in which Dinétah, the Diné or Navajo nation, has survived but is now, by an act of traditional magic, walled off from the rest of the USA. Within its walls, the traditional gods, but also the monsters of the Diné have woken to life.
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The protagonist, Maggie Hoskie, is a monster hunter, with the ability to draw on family powers that enhance her ability to go toe-to-toe with monsters and demons. As well as her trusty double-barrel shotgun  and seven-inch Böker knife, Maggie must also use traditional magic to overcome her mythic and supernatural opponents.

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Maggie is feisty, savvy, and tough enough to punch well above her weight, especially when fighting monsters involves negotiating the machinations of gods such as Coyote and Neizgháni, the Monster Slayer. She also has a worldweariness that I felt was a really believable characteristic with someone whose dayjob is not only fighting monsters, but dealing with the consequences of their rampages.
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The story is imbued with the magic and medicine, as well as the monsters, of Diné legend, as well as being tale-spinning in the tradition of both Buffy and Mad Max’s Furiosa.
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Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Last year, I discussed the worldbuilding in Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth, which was published as “space fantasy.” Effectively, the world is one of an interplanetary empire spanning a 10,000-year period, but the story is not only one swashbuckling fantasy, in which cavaliers duel with rapiers and broadswords, but imbued by its magic system, which is entirely necromancy.
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Harrow the Ninth, published 2020, is the second instalment and follows the necromancer, Harrow (Harrowhark) who has ascended to lyctorhood. Although the story takes place in space, rather than on Gideon’s ruined planet, it’s still fantasy and necromancy is still the raison d’être of the story.
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Where Gideon was extroverted, Harrow is an introvert par excellence, a natural circumstance compounded by necromantic plots-within-plots. The magic of Harrow the Ninth also delves into dream magic and the alternate realm of The River, which is both an astral plane and afterlife, inhabited by ghosts. The ghosts include the dead from
Gideon and also revenant spirits of necromantically destroyed planets, bent on a vengeance quest…
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Harrow the Ninth, perhaps reflecting the character of Harrow, is more complex and arcane than Gideon, but if you love bones and skeletons, corpses and ghosts, and the magic of the tomb, whether locked or unlocked, you’ll still be hooked.
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~*~

Previous Posts In The “Magic In Fantasy” Year:

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January 1: Happy New Year – Ushering In A Year of Friends, Fellow Authors, & Magic Systems

January 5: An Interview with AK Wilder – Talking Magic In Her New-Out Crown Of Bones (AMASSIA #1)

February 1: An Interview with T Frohock – Talking Magic In A Song With Teeth & The LOS NEFILIM Series

March 1: An Interview with Courtney Schafer – Talking Magic In The "Shattered Sigil" Series

April 1: An Interview with Kristin Cashore –Talking Magic In Winterkeep & The "Graceling Realm" Series
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May 1: An Interview With Lee Murray – Talking Magic, the Supernatural & Horror

June 1: An Interview With Amanda Arista – Talking Magic In the MERCI LANARD & DIARIES OF AN URBAN PANTHER Series

July 1: The Magic of Magic In Fantasy -- & A Solstice Shift

August 1: More Magic In Fantasy: Lighting The Spark

September 1:  Drawing On Fairytale, Folklore, and Myth

~*~
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About The Author:

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

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Spread the Magic - Fantasy Novels to RPGs

The Witcher 3 RPG

Fantasy novels have been fuel for the gaming industry for many decades, but sometimes the popularity of the story explodes exponentially when translated to the board or PC. Take Wiedmin, for example. Based on Andrzej Sapkowski's novels and short stories, The Witcher has 100,000 concurrent players a day. The Netflix series has contributed to the resurgence, yes, but the game has always been wildly popular.

Bloodborne based on HP Lovecraft literature

Bloodborne and Edge of Nowhere are two more examples of a highly successful game based on Fantasy/SF novels. These titles are influenced by H P Lovecraft's particular brand of Horror - especially his tentacled, mind-zapping Great Old Ones and other recognizable monsters. Both games received universal acclaim from critics and are lauded for the true-to-Lovecraft vivid and visceral horror elements.


Assassin's Creed based on Vladamir Bartol's Alamut.

The Assassin's Creed RPG game is credited for its historical accuracy, sans the SF/Fantasy elements. The novel was set in Alamut, a Persian fortress 60 miles from modern-day Tehran. In the 11th Century, the fortress was controlled by a missionary - Hassan-i Sabbah and his loyal assassins. The adaptation from novel to the game held firmly to all the intricate and correct details before layering in the Fantasy elements. It's an incredible story!

Hogwarts Legacy based on the Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling

Popular games are not only based on male Fantasy writers. J K Rowling's Harry Potter Series translates beautifully into open-world RPG games that have seen wild success.

And what does the future hold? Who knows, but maybe, with a bit of luck, we'll see games based on other new Fantasy Series.

The world of Amassia would translate beautifully into and
open-world RPG game.

Do you have a favorite game based on a book? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

* * * 


Kim Falconer, writing YA Fantasy as A K Wilder, is the author of Crown of Bonesbook #1 in the Amassia Series. The sequel, Curse of Shadows, is due for release in June 2022.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

You can Throw the Bones, read your monthly horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the AKWilder.com site or just drop a comment to chat. See you there!

Friday, September 3, 2021

New look, New Giveaway, same old Violet!

2021: Forced Introspection of your 20' something self

Just taking a break to let you know that the cat is back! After four years in purgatory, I am happy to release for your reading pleasure Diaries of an Urban Panther! Now available in a pretty new Ebook and Paperback format, you can relive Violet Jordan's adventures in Dallas as she learns about her intertwined destiny with a demon rising. 

Now this story might not be a new one to our avid blog readers, but it was very interesting to go back and look at this book from my 40 something eyes at what my 20 something thought was the worst thing in the world. If this book is any indication, I was very into boys, coffee, and building families. 

Which is pretty close to who I am now. Still completely boy crazy (just with a new boy, hello Charlie Cox). I still love coffee. And I still love my blood family and my chosen family as much as I ever have. 

And what is amazing about this book and this blog, is that I have learned a million things since then, and I've tried to document them here on this blog. Things about life and love, and writing. Mostly writing. 

So you could say that these blog posts over the past 11 years have been by own Diaries of an Urban Amanda. 

If you still haven't, you can buy a copy now at any online retailer. Follow this Books2read link to find your favorite vendor.


GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!

And if you are so inclined, you can also enter to win 10 signed copies with a special Violet- approved gift pack! Register on Goodreads (US applicants only 😒) Ends Sept 7th. 

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/330883-diaries-of-an-urban-panther



And if you want a little sneak peek:

Claws and Effect comes out Sept 28th. Pre-Order Here through Books2Read!


Nine Lives of an Urban Panther comes out Oct 26th. Pre-Order HERE through Books2Read!

(and please let me know if those links done work- its a cool new universal link service). 


Until next time, Keep Calm and Drink Coffee. 



Amanda Arista

Author and Human

www.amandaarista.com


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Magic In Fantasy: Drawing On Fairytale, Folklore, and Myth

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Introduction

Here we are on 1 September—and absolutely time for a little more magic in Fantasy!

Currently, I’m sharing three books each month where the magic and/or magic systems have spun my reading wheels.

The element today’s books have in common, besides my liking their magical vibe, is that they all draw on myth, fairytale, or folklore to spin their reading spell. Arguably all Fantasy does so, but these are works where that particular aspect really caught my attention.

Consistent with previous posts, I’ll begin with an older publication and move forward to something more recent. I *believe* they’re all YA, too, but if not published as such, they certainly have that ‘feel’ to the storytelling.
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Magic In Fantasy: Drawing On Fairytale, Folklore, and Myth

The Godmother by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

In The Godmother, author Elizabeth Ann Scarborough takes a number of classic fairytales, such as Snow White (only in this case it’s Seven Vietman Vets on a sweatlodge retreat rather than seven dwarfs), Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and Puss In Boots, and weaves them into one story, set in contemporary Seattle. The Godmother premise includes a secret order of fairy godmothers, or godmothers with magical power at least, who endeavor to undo harms and right wrongs. The godmother on the case in Seattle is Felicity Fortune, with a magical budget to work within and a great many dilemmas to set right.

Although it’s been a while since first reading, I remember my fairytale lover’s delight at recognizing the interwoven fairytales in this book, and also my admiration for the author’s deftness in stringing them together into a seamless whole. Like fairytales themselves,
The Godmother has its dark side, but it also has a great deal of humor and a light touch that I really enjoyed. I found it quite magical, in fact.
J

Another two books were published subsequently:
The Godmother’s Apprentice, for those of you who like your fairytales and folklore with an Irish twist, and The Godmother’s Web set in the American Southwest and drawing on Navajo and Hopi folklore.
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Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Transitioning from 1994 to 2009, and not only from the Northern hemisphere to the Southern, or even to New Zealand, but right to my home city of Christchurch, I come to Karen Healey’s Guardian of the Dead.

Guardian of the Dead
is an intriguing mix of urban fantasy brought together with Maori* legends of the patupaiarehe (fairies) and taniwha (think a cross between demons and dragons, that can be either malign or benign), as well as the myth of Hine-nui-te-Po, the Great Woman of the Night and goddess of death.

There’s also an element of Greek myth woven into the story, which makes for a fun read, magic-wise.

*Maori are New Zealand’s tangata whenua (literally ‘people of the land’, or first people).
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The Library Of The Dead by T.L. Huchu

The Library Of The Dead is a 2021 publication, set in a dystopian, not-too-distant future Edinburgh where the heroine, Ropa, is a licensed medium-cum-psychopomp. Her main work, or “dayjob” is carrying messages from the dead to the living (for a fee, of course), although she also casts out spirits and learns magic from her grandmother, who is from Zimbabwe.

Ropa’s power, in dealing with the dead, draws on her grandmother’s teaching, and she uses the music of the mbira, aka an African thumb piano, to communicate with the ghosts. Yet the magical beings she must deal with are also drawn from Scottish folklore, such as “brounies”, as well as an underground society of magicians, based in the Library of the Dead.

Sounds like fun?—I thought so, not least for the storytelling’s dynamic blend of magics. 

~*~
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Previous Posts In The "Magic In Fantasy" Series: 

January 1: Happy New Year – Ushering In A Year of Friends, Fellow Authors, & Magic Systems

January 5: 
An Interview with AK Wilder – Talking Magic In Her New-Out Crown Of Bones (AMASSIA #1) 

February 1: An Interview with T Frohock 
– Talking Magic In A Song With Teeth & The LOS NEFILIM Series


March 1:  An Interview with Courtney Schafer – Talking Magic In The "Shattered Sigil" Series


April 1:  An Interview with Kristin Cashore –Talking Magic In Winterkeep & The "Graceling Realm" Series

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May 1: An Interview With Lee Murray – Talking Magic, the Supernatural & Horror

June 1: An Interview With Amanda Arista  Talking Magic In the MERCI LANARD & DIARIES OF AN URBAN PANTHER Series

 

July 1: The Magic of Magic In Fantasy -- & A Solstice Shift

August 1: More Magic In Fantasy: Lighting The Spark


~*~

About The Author:

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

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Writing What You Don't Know

Salila has a huge growth arc in books #2 & #3 of the Amassia Series

Updated from an earlier work on the
Voyager Blog 2011

The adage write what you know works fine for how-to manuals, cookbooks, auto repair guides or medical text. With these genres, writers need a certain level of expertise, and the goal is to share it. You can also write what you know in Fiction, even Fantasy where the sunset, the stars, the feel of the wind in your hair as you gallop down the road can come from personal experience.

Wonderful Paranormal YA 
But, what about the monsters, the genies, the aliens, the polymorphs? No one on Earth can know, for example, what a phantom (from Crown of Bones) is like, or a Mar who dwells under the sea.  That is, until the author creates such things from their blank page. Sometimes that process can be a challenge so wanted to revisit these four quick tips I find helpful for writing what you don’t know.

Tip #1: Research. If you have a world that focuses on UFOs and the history of our relationship to extraterrestrials, you don’t have to work at SETI to write it convincingly (just ask Vanessa Barneveld with her new release Under the Milky Way). You do have to know what the current climate is on the subject and the historical references to things like alien abductions. In other words, do your research. Second-hand knowledge is invaluable here.

Tip #2: Savvy proofreaders. Research can take the place of direct experience, especially in world-building and other historical facts, but there are exceptions. Horses are one. If you don’t know horses, you can learn about them, but if they are going to do more than graze in the paddock, you’ll need a proofreader with horse sense to check your work. Readers who are also riders will spot ineptitude a mile away. Jolt! If it’s going to be a feature in your novel, get an expert to proof and/or offer technical advice. 

Practising Iaido for fight scenes

Tip #3: Hands-on. If you’re going to give some art, animal, dance, ritual, music or machine a big role in your script, immerse in it, hands-on! As a bonus, your life will become richer for the experience. In my first three series, I researched quantum computing, aquatic humans, physics theory, geo-engineering, bio-engineering, shadow projection and were-animal/shapeshifting mythologies. 

I also joined a local dojo and learned to wield a sword. Already on board were things like felines, horses, witchcraft, magic, astrology, SCUBA, gender studies and astral travel. I wove together the elements that were second nature to me with the ones I studied and learned. Anything else, like falconry, firearms and river rafting, was proofread by experts in the field.

Belair LOVES Ochee tea
based on Chi!

Tip #4: Start with a grain of truth.
No matter how wild and farfetched a fantasy story becomes, a grain of truth is what you build on. It's what will give your prose more weight! In my most recent series, Amassia, a main character takes my love of the sea and turns it into an environment where those with very similar DNA to ours can exist, almost indefinitely. 

I also examine the notions of the unconscious and expand them into larger-than-life subpersonalities and talk and talk and interact with us. In earlier novels, I look at possible results of geoengineering that might do more harm than good. It’s all about the speculation but begin it with something real.


How do you express what you don't know in convincing ways? I'd love to hear more!

xxKim (aka A K Wilder)

* * * 


Kim Falconer, writing YA Fantasy as A K Wilder, is the author of Crown of Bonesbook #1 in the Amassia Series. The sequel, Curse of Shadows, is due for release in June 2022.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

You can Throw the Bones, read your monthly horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the AKWilder.com site or just drop a comment to chat. See you there!

* * *


 

Sunday, August 1, 2021

More Magic In Fantasy: Lighting The Spark

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Introduction

Away back in January, I resolved to make 2021 my year of magic, and magic systems in Fantasy fiction, because from "...magic realism to the highest of high epic fantasy, the magic – and by extension the magic system – is the leaven in the ... [Fantasy]...mix.” 

Magic in the mix...

Currently, I'm focusing on books where the magic or magic system have really wowed me, aiming to try and include an range of subgenres but also of older and more recent works.

In case you're wondering what "wow" looks and feels like for me, it's that flare of excitement when I start reading, usually because what I'm reading feels really authentic and (sometimes) "new-to-me."

Here are three more books that ticked that box when it comes to their treatment of magic and/or magic systems, i.e. I do think it's possible to have magic without it being systematic and /or codified.


Magic In Fantasy: Lighting The Spark

The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula Le Guin 

Since I started my themed series in 2019 with Romance In Fantasy, I have tried not to replicate an author, but I'm going to have to give in today, because unquestionably, Ursula Le Guin was one of the first authors to wow me with the magic of her first Earthsea trilogy. 

Although I believe adults can read it just as readily, officially the first Earthsea trilogy is children's fiction, beginning with A Wizard of Earthsea.

The wow factor lay in the magic of Earthsea's strong environmental sensibility, but also the idea of limitations, both in the mage's interaction with natural and magical forces, and within themself. In the magic of Earthsea, this is conveyed through an emphasis on balance and patterning, with consequences arising out of every action and use of power -- an aspect of magic that is sometimes overlooked or glossed over in Fantasy.

 

Yet despite being wowed by the simplicity and power of Earthsea's magic, I was also taken aback (yes, even as a young reader) because the magic system is inherently sexist. "Weak as women's magic", the reader is told from the outset, and also "wicked as women's magic." Certainly, women do not become mages, and the association of women's magic with weakness or wickedness, is sustained through the first trilogy. Le Guin is said to have endeavored to correct this aspect of Earthsea's magic system in Tehanu (1990), although I note its a substantively different story and also pitched more to adult readers.

For me, the wow of Le Guin's overall achievement, in terms of creating a magic system, is greater than its sexism, but I do feel the latter undermines what would otherwise be an outstanding achievement, comparable with that of her (adult) science fiction novels, The Left Hand Of Darkness and The Dispossessed

Shadows Of The Apt Series by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adrian Tchaikovsky's is epic fantasy with a steampunk sensibility. The first novel, Empire In Black and Gold was published in 2008 and from the outset I was very taken with the series' magic, which is centered upon "insect" kingdoms where the denizens ("kinden") are either technologically "apt" (e.g. wasps, beetles, ants) or "inapt." The Inapt, such as moths, spiders, and dragonflies, tend to be strong in magic, but both Apt and Inapt kingdoms are in danger of being overrun by the expanding Wasp empire. 

I should add that the various kinden are basically human form, but strongly connected in social, cultural, and organisational terms with their insect "avatars" (for want of a more -- er -- apt term.)

With ten titles in the series there is plenty to read and explore in terms of the science/tech versus magic divide, as expressed by the various kinden.

The Chimes by Anna Smaill

Anna Smaill's debut novel, The Chimes, was published in 2015 and won the World Fantasy Award in 2016.


 

The Chimes postulates a dystopian future UK where the written word is forbidden and music informs every aspect of life, including language, and profoundly affects memory and social structure. In The Chimes society there is only the present and to even contemplate the past is "blasphony." 

I still recall the shock of excitement I felt on beginning reading and experiencing the way in which music was embedded in the characters' thought and speech, in a way that I subsequently described as both "fascinating" and "original."

The overall story is a complex one, including the evolving relationship of the protagonists Simon and Lucien, but imbued with music throughout.

For greater insight into the book and world, you can read my 2015 interview with the author here:

An Interview with Anna Smaill

Conclusion:

And that's it for this month -- but I hope you'll find a spark of magic in one of these works, if you have not done so already!

~*~

Previous Posts In The "Magic In Fantasy" Series: 

January 1: Happy New Year – Ushering In A Year of Friends, Fellow Authors, & Magic Systems

January 5: 
An Interview with AK Wilder – Talking Magic In Her New-Out Crown Of Bones (AMASSIA #1) 

February 1: An Interview with T Frohock 
– Talking Magic In A Song With Teeth & The LOS NEFILIM Series


March 1:  An Interview with Courtney Schafer – Talking Magic In The "Shattered Sigil" Series


April 1:  An Interview with Kristin Cashore –Talking Magic In Winterkeep & The "Graceling Realm" Series

.

May 1: An Interview With Lee Murray – Talking Magic, the Supernatural & Horror

June 1: An Interview With Amanda Arista  Talking Magic In the MERCI LANARD & DIARIES OF AN URBAN PANTHER Series

 

July 1: The Magic of Magic In Fantasy -- & A Solstice Shift


~*~

About The Author:

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