Friday, October 7, 2011

Back to Orcish Fantasy

Apparently my watching The Hobbit the other day (which Connor now wants to watch all the time) was enough to stave off my Space Opera jones, and place my creative urgings squarely back in the fantasy realm.  Only now, instead of Sword & Sorcery, I am looking at more "Epic" fantasy.  What's the difference, you ask?  Well, maybe you don't ask, because chances are, if you read this blog, you already know.  However, I will tell you (from my perspective) anyways.

Epic Fantasy has two main qualities that distinguish it from S&S; 1) non-human races like Elves, Dwarves, and most importantly, Orcs; and 2) magic is much more prevalent, and often used by the "good" guys.  There is a third element that is often used, the scale and scope of the story.  However, both genres tend to occasionally cross this line, so I can't really classify it as distinguishing figure.  Ok, in thinking about it, there are other defining characteristics (such as character archetypes, morality, etc...), but in the interest of staying focused, I'm going to ignore those for now.

Anyways, so my musings are on Epic Fantasy.  And I know this will come as a shock to some of you [/sarcasm], but my focus is on...wait for it...ORCS!!!  As you may recall, I'm working on a story for an anthology about Orcs being edited by Scott Oden.  However, I thought maybe I would produce my own, similar anthology for eReaders.  To make it interesting, I thought I would invite all of my un(der)-published writer pals to contribute.  However, I currently have nine stories of my own in various stages (two complete, one fragment, and six ideas).  Regardless of how I do it, the theme will be "Orcs across realities."  Basically, the stories can be from any genre, but the protagonist (or at least one of the main ones) has to be an Orc.  Scott's anthology has the same basic rules, but he also has a bevvy of professional and published authors contributing (in addition to little old me).  If I open my idea up, it will only be for writers who have yet to be published, or have only published a couple of low-profile stories.  I dunno, I think it will depend on how much interest anyone else has in it.

The cool thing is, even though my current mood is Fantasy, with this premise, I can work in just about any genre (I even have a "modern" setting for Urban Fantasy) I want to.  So, the odds of me actually doing it are pretty good.  Well, good for me, anyways.

Now, of course, some of you are probably rolling your eyes.  "How many projects are you going to dream up and then leave moldering on your shelf, Tom?"  The answer is 972.  This is only #353, so I have some wiggle room.

Also, this:


Charles Gramlich said...

Folks like George Martin have kind of blurred the lines between epic fantasy and sword and sorcery. It used to be more clear that the "Epic" stories used more high fantasy elements like elves etc and had larger stories

Tom Doolan said...

I think I might be confusing "Epic" with "High" fantasy. I dunno. It's all so muddled these days.

anarchist said...


Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

I've recently put out an ebook of my writing, called 'The New Death and others'. It's mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard's King Kull story 'The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune' and HP Lovecraft's 'Under the Pyramids'.

I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog.

If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy. You can email me ( or reply to this thread.

You can download samples from the ebook's pages on Amazon and Smashwords: (kindle only) (variety of formats including plain text and pdf)

I'll also link to your review from my blog.