I’ve always loved science-fiction but I felt my interests/tastes leaned closer to fantasy. As I grew older, I became increasingly dissatisfied with fantasy’s often medieval stasis and ten thousand years later, why are people still using iron spears? I get the idea behind it but just drives the historian in me nuts. And in my own works, I was writing soft science-fiction with Formorian descended demon looking dudes in Crysis nanosuits using railguns and fighting German descended Tuatha de Danu/People under the hill in turn of the 10s urban/hidden war fantasy. And that hasn’t changed much. It’s just I stripped the fat away, rewrote a lot of the concepts, but at the core remains the same idea I wrote at sixteen: pluralistic conspiracies, positive and negative, competing for regional influence while the greater society doesn’t care about their conflict.
I love fantasy but I also love football. I love Rock but I also love EDM and New Retro Wave. I was more a movie buff than a book buff as I grew older. I wanted lovers getting high sharing mana, 50s inspired gangs descending from degenerated duelist leagues, where even a seemingly meritocratic society can still fight and kill for nationality, individual will, and other factors. I still am honoring the genre but in a way that doesn’t have a setting languishing in Ye Olde England for 2000 years. It’s boring, it’s been done, and still will be done.
So I said fuck it and I wrote Runner of the Void. And it was the story I wanted: a low scale character driven fantasy in the context of an attitude and world that is similar to ours but starts to diverge in small, important ways. My magic system is hard: its got weight, rules, different states of the primary “bullshitanium” that adheres somewhat to our own laws of the universe. But there are important differences too: women are biologically more fuck huge/athletic. There are subtle cues that these “humans” are more monstrous, strange, and different from us. People can turn into iron skinned monstrosities that lose their minds if they’re not careful. Their bodies can burn away and they become mana devouring fiends who need mana lest their memories consume them. And its attitude is heavily inspired by that rugged American individualism that isn’t always true. But that’s why in fantasy and science-fiction we can explore those ideals. And they don’t always add up/adhere to a rigid socio-cultural system. American is a mixed economy, despite our love (well, too a point) for capitalism and materialism. But our culture supports extended familial ties, social safety nets, and services from both private and public charities.
It’s focused. There’s no elves, dwarves, orcs, etc, etc. The books focus on humanity exclusively but in a way that asks: “well, what does it mean to be human?” In one of those artsy philosophy classes where moral relativism is baby’s first edgy morality lesson manners.
I’m still pushing for this. I know it’s out there and I know it’ll find a home someday.