What is Science Fantasy?

I’m delighted to announce that the entirety of my Toy Soldier story, Survivor, will be featured in the August issue of SciFan Magazine!  An except from my Wyrd West Chronicles story Showdown will be published in the July issue as well.  And yes guys, you can get this in PRINT!

SciFan Magazine is a publication devoted to “science fantasy” as a genre.  So what is science fantasy?  They explain on their website in the following article.  And don’t forget to check out the footnotes, because they provide some extremely useful information!

I would say that quite a lot of what I write is probably “science fantasy,” including the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga, and even my work for Tales of the Stellar Deep.  Other science fantasy authors include but are not limited to: Jack Vance, L. Sprague de Camp, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Andre Norton, Terry Brooks, S.M. Sterling, and Anne McCaffrey.

“Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon and/or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy. It also sometimes incorporates elements of horror fiction.” [1]

Science Fantasy (SciFan) is a genre that is often ignored. Not too many people are familiar with the genre, but it was originally coined in the late 1930’s by John W. Campbell, Jr. in his magazine that was (ironically) entitled Unknown.

 The Science Fiction genre is often defined as the improbable made possible, whereas the Fantasy genre is commonly defined as the impossible made probable. So then, what is Science Fantasy (SciFan)?

Read the full article at SciFan Magazine.

Join My Patreon & Be Part of My Team!

Diane Morrison

No writer truly writes alone.

Many writers have famously said that writing is a lonely profession, but that’s only true of the actual writing, and that’s only a small part of the process.  A writer lives a life, then takes snippets of it and translates it onto pages to represent the human experience in a meaningful way.  After that she must edit, and, if her work is to have meaning to the world, she must publish.  Then she has to get the word out about her work to enough people that some might be inclined to share it with others.  All of that is a team effort.

I’m asking you to be a part of the team.

You may be interested in supporting some projects but not others.  For that reason we’ll use the “charge by project” model here. Each month we’ll focus on a “Featured Project.”  Each pledge you…

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Link

Here’s my profile on FanFiction.net.  The prologue and the first chapter of A Few Good Elves have been edited and posted and more will follow at a rate of one chapter about every two days or so.  Enjoy!

If you want to see the Toy Soldier Saga completed in its original Spelljammer format, consider supporting my Patreon!  Thank you!

Alternative Physics for the Toy Soldier Saga

Adapting the alternative physics of Spelljammer to something new was the sticking point for me in turning the Toy Soldier Saga into something publishable.  I have worked on this concept for a long time, and I think I’ve finally come up with something that works but is its own thing.  Right now it’s a very loose idea and I will be working out the bugs as I write, but here it is, in a nutshell.

Crystal Spheres

Spelljammer’s “bubbles in space with crystal shells” idea is unique.  However, it’s based in Ptolemic physics.  How that worked was that the Earth was the center of the universe (and then the sun later on,) and everything we see in the sky is on the inside of a “crystal sphere,” interlocking within one another like Russian dolls.  Later theories of universe construction discussed the idea of the “crystal” actually being something a bit more ephemeral, something that holds the stars and planets in place but can be passed through like a veil.

That’s sort of the idea I’m running with.  Each system exists within its own interlocking series of crystal spheres.  The beauty of this is that one could still see the stars of other systems through these permeable membranes, so it’s a bit more like the universe we know, and less lame excuses have to be created to explain why we can see stars.

Gravity Wells

Gravitational forces move in currents.  Now that in real-world physics we have confirmed the existence of gravitons, I’m sure that’s not as difficult to imagine as it might have been.  Instead of odd, semi-two-dimensional “gravity planes,” each body, when sufficiently separated from other bodies, has its own whirlpool of gravity that surrounds it.  Lining up these competing maelstrom currents so that they interact instead of compete dangerously with one another would require the same sideways approach as gravity planes would and would have very similar consequences of failure.  These currents draw smaller, less dense bodies in, but also might swing them right around in a circle and out again.  A ship might seem too small a body to create a gravity well of its own — but wait, I have an explanation, and I’ll get there.

Airts

Because gravity moves in currents between bodies, it creates slipstreams that travelers refer to as “Airts.”  Their existence would a) explain why ships can move at light speed or faster, and b) what sails on a ship are for!  The crew is needed to navigate the Airts.  In which case, the function of the Pilot (Spelljammer) becomes twofold.  The first is that a Pilot can actually sense the Airts, which most people cannot.  The second . . .

Starfaring Ships

Starfaring ships are constructed around special materials.  Those materials are the seed-pods of giant cosmic trees, something like a cross between the starfly plants you remember from Spelljammer, and Trees of Life out of myth.  These Trees of Life use Airts as a natural part of their life-cycle; their seeds are evolved to be carried along the Airts to find new systems to settle in.  They can influence and create their own Airts to a limited extent as well.  They bond in a symbiotic semi-telepathic link with Pilots because Pilots can help them to consciously navigate the Airts, and thus, they can travel through a much broader and larger area of the Universe than they would otherwise be able to, eventually picking a spot to plant and grow in.  Elves know the secret of this and have been using the Trees of Life for millennia, but the other races don’t, and so they have been building devices around seed-pods or their fragments, unwittingly creating plant cyborgs.  Also, it’s important to note that the elves have forgotten many of the things they used to know.

Trees of Life

Trees of Life have a special significance in my universe aside from this, but I’m not going to explain that, because that would be a major spoiler, as this is one of the mysteries that my characters must discover!

Phlogiston

Phlogiston doesn’t exist, per se, in my universe.  The areas between systems in my universe will be taken up with competing Airts, and will look no different from how things actually look in space in our world.  How do you know you’re entering a system?  The Oort Cloud will give you a clue, being the outer edges of a system’s gravity well.  Some theorize that Airts might be powered by Quintessence, which can be explained either as the fifth element Aether, or a kind of dark energy in modern cosmological physics.  I will still have it be a dangerous process to enter and leave a system, but that’s because of the Oort Cloud and the currents of Airts surrounding the outer edges of a system’s gravity well.

So, loosely, this is a rough look at my adapted physics.  I welcome your thoughts!

It’s All in the Rigging: 9 of the Best Boats in Fantasy

Diane Morrison

By Fran Wilde

Once upon a time (cough, August 6, 2013, actually), Tor.com published “I Hate Boats,” by Carl Engle-Laird. Carl’s gone on to brilliant things, but I still want to argue with him about the post, and especially this sentence in particular: “Whenever my beloved protagonists get on a boat, I groan, put the book on the table, and pace around the room muttering angrily to myself, alarming friends and loved ones.”

Carl, now that you’re a big-deal editor at Tor.com, I’m finally ready to tell you that I feel exactly the opposite way. I love boats, and when I see one in a book, I feel a lot of hope. I grew up sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, reading nautical histories, and what I want in my fiction is a boat that feels real and suits the plot. When a book takes me over water, I’m eagerly…

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