Saturday, February 24, 2018

Theo Paxstone and the Dragon of Adyron on Sci-Fi Talk with Tony Tellado

Chatted with the fabulous Tony Tellado of Sci-Fi Talk the other day about Theo Pastone and the Dragon of Adyron. Take a listen to Episode 319 of the podcast.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Theo Paxstone sketch: Dragon attack!

Wind, scented with death, ruffled his hair and fluttered his clothes. Hairs on the back of his neck stood up and his stomach tightened into a knot.
He wanted to run, to scream, to find somewhere to hide. But he couldn’t move.

His eyes locked on the living nightmare above, an enormous beast encased in black gleaming scales. It was a dragon, and it had just passed less than a hundred feet above, its black leathery wings spread wide like sails.

It headed towards the River Green and the festival tents. A dozen vultures followed in its wake.

Theo stood, paralyzed, as if the dragon might notice if he blinked. Then he shuddered and jerked about as if coming out of a deep freeze. “Ho-leee!” he gasped, gulping night air. “Oh, Gods, oh Gods, Ollie! Did you see that?”

“No,” said Ollie. “Let’s get out of here.”
Theo took a step forward, puzzled. “Ollie... What’s it doing?”

“Nothing good, don’t want to know, and neither do you,” said Ollie, ruffling his feathers. “Time to go, time to go, Theo.”

Theo stood transfixed, as white hot flame gushed from the dragon’s maw. It raked the top of the main tent, which rippled as flames danced over it.

A gash opened up, ringed with flame. Burning fragments of fabric detached and curled away on currents of superheated air.

The beast banked sharply, swooping low over the south tent. It stretched out its talons and slammed them into the top, knocking the support poles. The tent shuddered and partially collapsed. The dragon beat its wings and rose swiftly up into the night. It belched fire as it soared past the King’s dirigible, setting it alight. The stricken craft careened earthward, wreathed in flame.

“Holy fireballs!” shouted Theo.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

It's a map! Playing J.R.R. Tolkien and G.R.R. Martin

The Mother of all fantasy maps: J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth
I love maps.

Ever since I was a kid and got the book, The Map that Grew (at least I think that's what it was called), I've loved maps. Maybe even before that.

G.R.R. Martin's world from Game of Thrones

I've made some of my own, including the ridiculously ambitious Map of Humanity.

It's a reordering of the human experience (actual and imagined) according to a moral compass. The execution has always fallen short of the vision, but that's inevitable with something so ambitious.
C.S. Lewis' Narnia
When I was in grade six, a friend of mine and I made a map of Middle Earth using pencil crayons. It was massive! Well. It fit on a table top, but back then, it felt pretty big. And I was much smaller, too, so there's that.

Tolkien's maps are magnificent and really add to the reading experience. They are so fully realized, it feels like his world really exists. That you could visit it. And you can follow the characters on the map, along their journey, every step of the way. It helps orient the reader.

Same goes for G.R.R. Martin, and C.S. Lewis, and even Frank Baum.  I'd say this is especially true for Martin, as he has a massive cast of characters, and having a map would be enormously helpful in determining where everyone is.

Have you seen the map for Oz? It's great, but nowhere near as famous as the ones for Tolkien (and now Martin). The first book doesn't reach much of it; it's only on return visits that you begin to see the rest of the world.

There's even a Google Maps version of Middle Earth. At least mocked up to look like it. If only Frodo had a cell phone with GPS for his journey, it may have saved him time. It'd have to track orcs rather than traffic though, recommending the route with the fewest.

Middle Earth Google Maps. Frodo would have loved having that.
The Wizard of Earthsea has a great map as well. I loved that book; it's probably my favourite Ursula K. Le Guin novel. Long before Harry Potter, there was Ged, the aspiring wizard. It gets into Taoist ideas of balance of the universe, which the wizards are supposed to maintain. I don't remember a lot of the details anymore, but the world she imagined was very immersive. And unsettling!

The world of the Wizard of Earthsea
So when I wrote a fantasy novel, I just had to do a map for the world it was set in. And so... voila!

Here it is.

I've been working on the sequel to Theo Paxstone and the Dragon of Adyron, and part of that has included fleshing out the world more. I've been playing G.R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien and having a blast with an imaginary world.

So much fun.

The map style is more contemporary looking, that was a deliberate choice. I'm not sure I can entirely justify it, but that's how I wanted to do it. Some things come from the gut.

I think most of the locations from the first book are on there, even if some of them are too small to really be noted at such a large scale.

And the map is still a work in progress. I'll likely shift things around a bit as the story evolves.

I tried to make sure that there was some logic to the placement of rivers and mountains and forests. Swamps obviously sit in lowlands, near rivers, or between them, or extend off of lakes. Mountains devolve into hills. The rain primarily comes from the south, so that side of the Wornspine Mountains would have wetter weather. On the other hand, deforestation would be extensive for building ships and homes, so there's that.

You can get really in depth with something like this, and you have to decide where you want to draw the line.

All part of the journey.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Steam mech sketch for Theo Paxstone

There are lots of different models of steam mechs, built for various tasks. Some are for fighting big monsters, some dealing with small swift ones, and others are built just for show.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Interview at Book Goodies

I did an interview with the fine folks over at Book Goodies. Check it out here.

I talk about the inspiration behind the book, and the characters.

And another up at Awesomegang.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Royal Adyron

A Royal Adyron steam mech designed by the Conray Brother Studio.

It is a lighter-weight line, with heavy forward visor and tasset guard to make up for the lighter hull. The cockpit is smaller than in the more spacious Hildebrand mechs, but with controls laid out in the characteristically intuitive Conray manner.

It can be comfortable to run at top performance for hours, thanks to eight heat vents and four air intakes with pumps. The pumps, designed by elite machinists from the engineering guild, are compact, but frequently break down in battle.

The hull was forged in The Crucible, the hottest and oldest blast furnace of Adyron. The Conrays guarantee the construction of each custom mech is presided over, and blessed, by engineer-druids.

The Royal was used as a scouting steam mech by the army of King Haress, and was popular with barons and dukes of Westin until the Hildebrands introduced the Dragoon.