Interest Check

So, this is an odd sort of post for me. My wife is interested in writing a novella or series of novels herself, and I suggested that I might share the thoughts she had here to see if there’s interest in such a story.

The idea she has in mind is a science fantasy setting, where both technology and magic exist, kind of a space opera of sorts. Think Warhammer 40k meets Star Wars, but much less dark in tonality than either. Her idea is that human legends of different mythos (Celtic, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, and Norse to start with) came from the ‘collective unconscious’ of the galaxy, and that they’re inspired by actual species on different planets in Earth’s general neighborhood. For reasons she’s developing, Earth is a low-magic zone, and thus we haven’t developed the common magical methods of space travel, instead using technology, which is humanity’s leg up.

Right now she’s plotting out a ‘first contact’ scenario for a novella. She’s far more meticulous about setting things up than I am, and thus she’s likely to be much more consistent about powers and the like as well. She also might steal some of my ideas (genius loci and the like) for her setting, along with other discarded ideas that I decided that I couldn’t make work well. But mostly I’m curious if people would like that sort of science fantasy.

She’ll probably write it either way, but unlike me, it isn’t her ‘day job,’ as it were, so it’d be far more infrequent.

18 thoughts on “Interest Check

  1. That passes my interest-check. Offhand, series I like in a similar setting are Starship Mage (Glynn Stewart), The Keltiad (Patricia Kennealy-Morrison)


  2. I’d probably give something described like that a try if it was on Kindle Unlimited/cheaper than five bucks.


  3. Sounds good to me. I have read similar series where both magic and technology exist like the Pillars of Reality series by John Hemry ( pen name Jack Campbell ), the Techromancy scrolls by Erik Shubach and the Dragon Blood series by Lindsey Buroker.


  4. This sounds really cool, something I would definitely be interested in reading. There are a lot of places a series like that could go.


  5. It sounds cool and as far as I know original. I’d definitely at the very least pick up a sample of it. However, I’m not sure about having genius loci in space, but who knows, “hunted” space ships might be cool.


  6. This sounds like an interesting setting. As Brian P. stated, I’d definitely read it if it ends up on Kindle Unlimited or inexpensive.


  7. I can pretty well guarantee that if she did it, it’d probably be priced similarly to Ancient Ruins. I can’t guarantee Kindle Unlimited, since the payout to the authors has been going down the drain slowly, but it’s very likely she would put it in there, too.


  8. So, speaking from personal experience, I never buy novellas (even through Kindle unlimited) unless I am already invested in a universe and just want to learn more. I absolutely love epic settings with a small cast of interest in characters (I.E. Ancient Ruins). A novella is just not long enough to both create a world and give a good story. Usually it’s one or the other, or worse, not enough of either. Novellas work much better as a stepping stone between two novels in the same universe, but I feel like they are not enough to start one.

    The concept sounds very interesting (I too loved Glynn Stewart’s Starship’s Mage series but I didn’t touch the original episodic novels until he made an omnibus of the first and did the rest as full length novels).

    You can’t create a new universe half-heartedly, if you’re going to do it, jump in with both feet, swing for the home run, go for broke.

    Nothing is worse then getting into a story (Which usually takes about 100 pages) and having it suddenly end. Heck I’m even leery of picking up novels under 200 pages if there are no sequels.

    So yeah, go for it, but gimme a good 300 page novel I can sink my teeth into.


  9. Well, I’m dubious about the mix of actual mythology into scifi races. It’s not something I usually like, twice so when its the overused ones. But frankly, my bigger concerns would be about who the main character is, whether it’s more about action, or politics, or a romance, or that sort of things.

    Great settings are great, but ultimately they aren’t worth much without a good plot and good characters in them (and, well, good writing, too). So those are the things I’d look for first, not so much whether there’s space magic.

    I’d also throw in that while I generally don’t really object to the idea, I’ve read quite a bunch of FF scifi and this particular mix of science-fantasy is very, very popular there. It often reads reader trope-ish, and as an excuse to not cover the “science” properly. Just something to maybe consider.


  10. Novella is just a guess at the potential length for her story. One of the suggestions I’ve heard from other authors is that if you’re new, it’s often a decent idea to do a 20k word prelude, followed by a full-length novel (full-length being about half as long as Ancient Ruins or more).

    My wife could see it balloon to more than just a novella. We aren’t going to restrict it to that size, just… get the baselines out there. She’s doing a lot more work on the world than I ever did, that’s for sure.


  11. I can see that. In her case, it’s partially because they’re the ones she knows better, and because they tie into the races she wants in the setting more easily. There were a bunch of ideas being thrown around, and they were the ones which she decided on.

    As to an actual plot, she’s working on that. She’s got a good idea of the first contact story, but how her brain works is that she starts with the universe, creates the polities, and slowly narrows down to specifics. She’s currently working on all the political intrigue, so she can start figuring out how that’ll impact the main characters (which she has the outline of). She’s currently intending on it being an Adventure/Lesbian Romance styled stories. We’ll see, though. As I said, she’s much more methodical than I am.


  12. I would say I’m tentatively interested in this. The concept definitely sounds intriguing, but the hard part is always turning a concept into good story.


  13. Totally agreed. I may end up a co-author on this, but we’ll see. Actually coming up with plots for sci-fi or modern settings is ridiculously hard for me, so it may be the best bet for me as an individual.


  14. Personally, I agree, but I’m also often just plain depressed by a lot of space opera settings. I don’t like the hyper-gritty stuff. Which is odd, considering some of my writing.


  15. Interesting.

    One of my difficulties with fantasy works that have multiple pantheons co-existing is coming up with some sort of cohesive explanation for *why* the multiple pantheons came into being in the first place. “Different cultures” doesn’t really fit as an explanation, because it’s a sort of circular reasoning. Almost every known culture and religious tradition has its own creation myths, for instance. And while there are a lot of similarities used to classify creation myths, they’re diverse enough to raise questions if you posit the *literal* existence of different pantheons. How can a Native American emergence creation myth be accurate alongside a Sumerian ex nihilo or a Greek creation from chaos myth?

    I’ve seen some writers explain it away as the different pantheons being separate representations (or possibly shards) of a greater whole. That’s actually a pretty common one, though it glosses over why they’re necessary or how they’re created. Or perhaps the different pantheons all accurate and the different creation myths are just stories plucked from a near-infinite multiverse in which creation *has* to happen, and so it does in a myriad of different ways? Maybe Earth is just a pleasant place that’s well-positioned for some extra-dimensional divine vacations.

    Actually, I really *really* like that last one and want to brainstorm more on it for my own writing. And I’ve tossed around a few other possible rationals on my own as well. It’s an interesting and obvious question.

    That said, I think your wife’s story could be extremely interesting. She just needs to remember one big question IMO: how and why have those other cultures contaminated Earth in the past? Were they just visiting? Did we have some psychics who picked up some chatter in the cosmos, or discussions with other gods? Are the myths rooted in some basis–as in, actual gods–or are they just human explanations for magic beyond our ken at the time?

    The early worldbuilding, IMO, is some of the most fun to be had. I look forward to seeing how it plays out.


  16. It sounds interesting, I would at least try a sample of it on kindle as long as I find it.


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