Elements of World Building – Evolution

Photo credit: José-Manuel Benitos at Wikimedia Commons

Imagine a massive city of brick and steel, with buildings stretching to dizzying heights and electrical conduits snaking through the ground to power its lights, computers, and lifts. Surrounding this city is a defensive wall, lined with battlements and dotted with great gates.

Everyone walks around wearing jerkins and breeches, and the guards patrol the streets in plate mail and armed with swords. There’s also magic, of course, elemental stuff like fire and ice and electricity, along with dark temporal summonings and white healing abilities.

For transport, horses pull passengers on floating vehicles. Greater distances are covered using large, wooden, three-mast ships capable of soaring through the sky, with wings to control their direction, and kept aloft by gas turbines.

People would be able to travel to different planets on these ships, to similar cities with similar settings.

Sounds awesome, right?

Well I’d […]

Top Science Fiction Fantasy Games at E3 2017

E3

I’m always excited to look at E3, the world’s greatest gaming convention. Unfortunately, this year’s E3 left me wanting a bit more.

There wasn’t that amazing feeling I got when first witnessing games like Zelda Breath of the Wild, Fallout 4, or Horizon Zero Dawn.

But that doesn’t mean there weren’t some good ones. Here are the top Science Fiction Fantasy games at E3 2017.

Note I’m not talking about previously highlighted games. So, as amazing as they looked, God of War IV and the Breath of the Wild DLC are not covered here.

Anthem

The first thing I noticed about this game was the gorgeous graphics. Looking around the market area, a giant robot stomping by in the background, then getting into the javelin exosuit bordered live action.

Then the javelin jumps off a docking area into a vast open world that simply absorbed me. The sense of […]

Game of Thrones Season 7 Predictions

HBO’s Game of Thrones

It took two months longer than average – and to a Game of Thrones fan that’s feels like the same length of time the Targaryens ruled Westeros – but it’s finally here.

Game of Thrones season 7 premiers this month, and the whole world is excited.

And seeing that the series has moved beyond the novels, the story can swing in any directions. We know from experience how easy that happens – favoured characters die all the time, the story jumping from zero to 60 in a heartbeat.

Any predictions?

Well, I’ve got some. Here’s what I think is going to happen in Game of Thrones Season 7.

Battle of Kings Landing

Game of Thrones: Battle of Kings Landing

The Lanisters, rulers of Kings Landing, have built up a long list on enemies: House Dayne of Dorne, House Tyrell of Highgarden, House […]

Elements of World Building – People

Photo credit: Rufino at Wikimedia Commons

I read once that, unless described, a fictional character is often visualized as having the same features as the person imagining him.

That means that if you’re white, you see the character as being white, and similarly for if you’re coloured.

It’s strange because, even though I am of African decent, whenever I start a new fantasy novel I always imagine all the characters as being white. This is probably due to growing up watching fantasy movies that have been dominated by white Hollywood actors. Conan the Barbarian (the 1982 version), Red Sonja, Clash of the Titans (again, the 1981 version) were all full of white characters.

And then there were the fairy tales that my young impressionable mind absorbed: Jack and the Bean Stalk, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast. You see where I’m going here.

Single-Race Fantasy

Because fantasy is based on […]

Mining Gyegan’s Ring

Photo Credit: Fernando de Gorocica at Wikimedia Commons

When my Facebook writing group Skywriters announced that they were doing an anthology themed around rings, at first I wasn’t interested.

I always found this theme-based style of writing too restricted. I prefer to write where my imagination takes me, not the other way around.

So I ignored the invitation, but somewhere in my mind, my imagination played with the idea, dissecting it, turning the pieces over, until one night inspiration came streaming. I decided to offer a story of my own.

I came up with a red gas giant, unnamed at the time. Surrounding this planet is a ring of dust, rocks, and ice. People must go there for some reason, but the environment is dangerous.

Then I started to write, and after several drafts and help from Skywriters, I created Mining Gyegan’s Ring. Here’s the basic idea of the […]

Skywriters Ring Anthology: Short Story Collection

Skywriters Ring Anthology

Magical rings, asteroid rings, wedding rings, rings with special inscriptions. The Skywriters Ring Anthology is full of magic and adventure.

This collection contains ring-themed stories from Skywriters, ranging from a wife receiving a ring engraved with a message from her husband when he emigrates to America, to an asteroid ring miner who must survive an attack from giant intergalactic spiders.

Content

There are nine stories in all, including one from myself:

For Eve – S. J. Henderson
Artifacts – Ann Stanley
The Legend of the Vanished Isle – Katie Hamer
Alaskan Run – Eleanor M. Huteson
Mining Gyegan’s Ring – Jevon Knights
Heirlooms – Sherma Webbe Clarke
This Too Shall Pass – Mirel Abeles
The Red Ring – J. E. M. Hall
The Mirror – Joy Collado

The collection was published by Skywriter chief James Hall, and I think he did an excellent job.

And interestingly, thanks to him, along with my contribution, I am […]

2017 Writing Resolutions

Image courtesy of krishna arts at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So long, 2016.

It feels like it flew by in just a couple months. I know I say this every year, but this is the year I’m going to publish that debut novel.

Now something like that is easy to say. So in order to get things going, here’s a little recap and how I plan on accomplishing my goal.

Writing Progress

If you’ve been following along for a while, then you know that I’ve been working on two ebooks: the short story collection Chronicles of the Cursed Crown, and the main novel Guardian of the Cursed Crown.

Progress has been slow, but I did hit a milestone.

Last year I sent the short story collection to my editor Jesse, and he already responded with his comments. Then I started revising the main novel.

This year I plan to pick up my revising pace […]

5 Great 2016 Christmas Gifts for that Geek in Your Life

Image courtesy of Graphics Mouse at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So you’ve got a geek in your life. Maybe it’s your spouse, maybe a brother or sister, or maybe your child. You know they like science fiction fantasy, but what kind of Christmas present does that translate into exactly?

Well you’re in luck. Fortunately, being an expert geek myself, I’ve got some ideas for you.

Here are 5 great 2016 Christmas gifts for that geek in your life.

Logitech Harmony All-in-One Remote

Logitech Harmony All-in-One Remote ($141.41)

At any point in time, I’m juggling at least four remotes. There’s a remote to control the tv, a remote to control the cable box, a remote to control the laptop, a remote to control the wife.

Ok, maybe not the wife, but the point is that it gets old pretty fast. And just one misplaced remote makes you […]

Vikings Season 4 part 2 Prep – Part 1 Character Recap

History Channel’s Vikings

Vikings has returned with season 4 part 2 this week, and I’m excited.

I’m not sure why History Channel split the season in 2 parts like that, but I’m not judging.

I’m just glad to get back into some European-raiding action. Nothing gets the testosterone flowing like awesome-bearded savages hacking away at each other (on tv, of course).

Not sure what all this excitement is about? Check out my post over at SFSignal explaining 5 reasons why you should be watching this series.

If you’re already a fan, then let’s prepare ourselves for Vikings season 4 part 2 by doing a recap of where these violent characters left off in part 1.

Rollo – the Saviour of Paris

Vikings: Rollo saves Paris

“Oh Rollo, if you truly knew what the gods had in store for you, you would go down now […]

Elements of World Building – the Map

The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion: Map

As a child playing jrpg’s like Final Fantasy or adventure games like Zelda, I’d always spend several minutes with the included map, gaping at the large continent and the smaller islands scattered over some imaginary ocean.

I loved looking at the mountains and rivers and villages, ancient ruins and mysterious caves, anxious to start my adventure as a character dropped off at some random point with nothing but a sword and a sack.

Even today, when I start reading a new fantasy novel, I obsess over that first page with the map of the world, trying to remember the locations of roads and cities that I’m certain the protagonist would visit.

So seeing that I have this passion, it surprises me that one of the mistakes I made when I first started writing fantasy was not truly mapping out the world my […]