When someone approaches me, asking for my contribution to a new magazine, I have no way to know what the end result will be like. Well, in this case, it looks fantastic, so I’m more than happy to share!
The Silverlight Cafe Magazine is a new magazine, put together by author Gary Dorion. It is described as a crossroads for authors and readers, and Pearseus was featured in the March 18 Fantasy Issue.
Here is my contribution to the magazine:
At some point, I came across Tolkien and was taken by his mythology and the archetypal images his writing conjured. I read everything I could find of his, from Silmarillion—an unrecognized gem if I’ve ever seen one—to the lighter-in-tone Hobbit.
Middle Earth had fired up my imagination, with its epic good versus evil storyline, complex heroes and distinctive lack of magic: instead of Gandalf simply vanquishing his enemies with fireballs, he bashed their heads with his staff. It was this emphasis on everyday struggle, this down-to-earth approach, that most captivated me.
Plus, hobbits. This least expected of heroes, echoing Britain’s unexpected resistance to Nazi Germany. The ones destined to save a corrupted world failed by both nobles and immortals. Tolkien’s heroes are unassuming, next-door kind of characters, and that appealed to me.
Many, many books later, I had just finished Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series, and picked up Jim Lacey’s The First Clash and Herodotus’ Cyrus the Great and Rise of Persia, which describe the fatal battle of Marathon between Greece and Persia in the 5th century BC.
Marathon Bay is a 20’ drive from my home, and I’d often visited the tomb where the ancient Athenians buried their dead, so I thought at the time, “wouldn’t it be great if someone did what Martin did for medieval England, only with the story of Greece vs. Persia? And in space? How cool would that be?” Then it occurred to me: so, what’s stopping me from writing it?
Thus, Pearseus was born. It is as far from Tolkien’s Middle Earth as you can imagine, with a storyline set on a terraformed planet, in the near future. It combines ancient Greek city-states with Dune-like politics; so much so, that a reviewer described it as “Game of Thrones meets Dune.” And it lacks any RPG-like magic, even as paranormal happenings do occur.
Still, I’d like to think that we also share many similarities: my heroes stumble from failure to failure just as often as they emerge triumphant. They have to use their wits and whatever ancient weapons lie around, instead of a magic spell. And they come from all walks of life.
To me, all that is important. I’m particularly fond of multi-dimensional characters, whether they’re the hero or the antagonist. I want my heroes flawed, not perfect. And I’m particular about understanding the antiheroes even better than I do my heroes. Ideally, I want people to think, “hell, yeah, if I were in their shoes, I’d probably be a paranoid, bloodthirsty dictator, too.”
You see, in my view, life isn’t perfect. Why should fiction be?