Apr 1, 2015

400: Hard Fantasy

Science fantasy
Last year I blogged about reaching 300 posts to this this is post number 400. Back in 2014, I was struggling to find a way to write a fantasy story. Grean finally came to my aid and so last month I wrote Star Dance, my hard fantasy story about using magic to change the history of Earth.

The School of Hard Fantasy
Not your standard-issue princess.
Ok, I cheated. Grean only tricked a few people into imagining that they had magical powers. But....isn't that all that ever really happens in a fantasy story, anyhow? Yes.

Jane Lindskold defined fantasy as including "Magical Stuff". It all depends on what the meaning of "stuff" is. I've never read any of the fiction of Lindskold, but I'm intrigued by the idea of fantasy stories in which the "magical creatures" must try not to be discovered by reminds me of the Rules of Intervention within the Exodemic Fictional Universe.

Fantasy Europe from Kushiel's Dart
I learned at a young age to despise fantasy stories where there are no rules, or, no system of rules that makes sense. Therefore, I've been pleased to discover that there are some authors who do try to write fantasy that follows rules and makes sense.

Bryn Neuenschwander has offered a concise description of hard fantasy: "concerned with how stuff works, and why". While writing Star Dance, I've tried hard to curb my reflexive desire to provide the reader with accounts for how the "magic" works. Still, Ghyl can't ever repress his curiosity, so he's often asking other people to explain what's going on.

Prime blogging in 2015
One way to "harden" a fantasy story is to attach it to the real world by making it seem to be a kind of alternate history story. Jacqueline Carey warped Europe into an alternate form for Kushiel's Dart.

For Star Dance, I imagine that Ghyl and Bet are sent to Earth in order to help bring into existence the Buld Reality, the world as we know it. When they arrive on Earth, they have personal goals and, at the same time, they must create a good future for all of Humanity.

Fantasy Mathematical Equations
Einstein discovers an equation that gives the masses of the hierions.
At the personal level, Bet must be brought into existence and Ghyl wonders how he can alter the future of his home world without terminating his own existence. Ah, the wonders of time travel!

Bet has personal reasons for contacting Albert Einstein, but she must also make it possible for him to help the primitive Earthlings of the 20th century to discover the existence of hierions.

In the Ekcolir Reality, Einstein learns of the Ramanujan Equation.

In the Buld Reality, that same equation is secretly known as the 10D Einstein Equation and its existence is kept hidden from the world by the U.S. government.
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Promethean Rorschach Test
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Next: Hard (fantasy) Love for Spock 

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Image source: Ed Dlugokencky and Pieter Tans, NOAA/ESRL (

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