The first time you enter Tolkien’s Middle-earth by accompanying Frodo and his friends on their hazardous journeys, you are as unfamiliar with the lands of Middle-earth as they are and, hopefully, you get equally astonished. When JRR Tolkien in the 1930s set out as that world’s first intrepid explorer, he too made amazing discoveries all the time, as he explained in a letter twenty years afterwards.
In JRR Tolkien’s tales, there are a number of badass women. Galadriel is the mightiest person among the Free Peoples of the Third Age, and Éowyn pulls off a stunt that no man could do. And when we go back to the First Age, we encounter the toughest of them all: Lúthien. During her adventures with Beren she enters Sauron’s den of werewolves and then faces down Morgoth himself — the latter a feat that no Noldo prince or Adan warrior was ever able to match.
Here we see Lúthien and Húan go up against the werewolves of Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Artist: Randy Vargas. Click on the picture for a larger version.
After a long and tiresome hiatus, I have returned to the creative keyboard (unlike the mundane one at the office). Since last autumn, some beta-readers have given me a lot of constructive feedback on the Dusk and Dawn MS, a steam(ish)-punk adventure in the Patchwork World setting. So I have started doing a thorough revision, starting from chapter one. I will do a complete overhaul of the final third of the story after realizing what will be the “hero’s journey” for protagonist Fennec. I will insert an ancient human archetype in a science fiction context, emphasizing growth and responsibility. It feels so good to return to that alien multi-faceted world, the home of so many of my dreams.
When a year approaches its end, it is tempting to summarize it in a few bullet points. So here are my significant SF/fantasy/RPG experiences in 2016, listed in chronological order.
- Collaboration of the year: Gustaf Gadd and I wrote Skymningshavets gåtor, a seafaring fantasy campaign book for Drakar och Demoner, during the spring.
- Boost of the year: I received the Swedish RPG Dragon Award at Gothcon in April.
- Book of the year: I read and re-read Agent of the Imperium, an complex and enjoyable science fiction novel in the Traveller universe by Marc Miller.
- RPG campaign of the year: We were Pinkerton agents investigating a murder in New Orleans in early 1870.
- Boardgame of the year: Terraforming Mars by Fryx Games — wow!
- Tragedy of the year: Evert Johansson, one of my old Traveller buddies, suddenly passed away in November at age 58.
- Movie of the year: Rogue One.
- TV-series of the year: Agent Carter S1 — yes, I know it is not new, but I did not have a chance to watch it until a few weeks ago.
In the spring, after delivering a sea-faring campaign book for the latest version of the Swedish fantasy RPG Drakar och Demoner, I made a nice schedule for fiction-writing in my spare time till the end of 2016: publishing Dusk and Dawn, starting the sequel to The Ice War, and making a few RPG articles for the Fenix magazine.
However, mundane life intervened and disrupted all planning: this autumn I have had to spend all available energy on my children’s schooling and on earning my paychecks while suspending the fiction projects. But there is at least one piece of silver lining on the involuntary writing hiatus: my buddy Carolina Gomez-Lagerlöf got time to read the completed MS of the Dusk and Dawn novella and she found a serious flaw in a major turn of events. Her verdict is justified, so I now will have to rewrite several chapters to improve the story’s pacing. However, being somewhat wiser than nine months ago, I won’t make a prediction about when it will be completed.
Illustrator Marc Scott has made a set of diesel-era adventurers at ArtStation. See them here — link >>>
The lady above could certainly be protagonist Adèle von Rosen in my Ice War / Republican Rebellion alternate timeline. I am outlining a story in which that warm and sturdy dress would fit perfectly. (Click on the picture for a larger version.)