Get ready for Phoenix Fire

Two years ago, a fire was kindled and it promised to grow. But life has a funny way of taking turns and making it difficult to find your way. We all started wondering whether the fire was going out and we would watch another dream being snuffed out before it could fly.

I am writing this post to tell you that from ashes a phoenix shall rise!

Yes, you read right! Phoenix Fire is in the making. My South African writer friends are putting on their writer hats and we’re putting together an anthology to follow up The Flight of the Phoenix. This time around, the target audience is narrowed down to YA (young adult) only, though the genres will stay fantasy, science fiction and horror.

Keep your eyes open for more posts as we fight the dying of the light!

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The Flight of the Phoenix – Links

It’s time to get your hands on The Flight of the Phoenix!!! Pre-orders are open! Now, since we are not in charge of how our platforms work, we’ve had to get creative with how we’re doing pre-orders.

CreateSpace (print-on-demand via Amazon – so, worldwide distribution) and Amazon (eBook). To get your pre-order discount, please contact us via our Facebook page and I will personally send you a coupon code.

For our local South African print run pre-orders, contact all authors directly. We are all reachable on Facebook.

Elmien GroveRyhen E KnightHJ KrugerCaldon Mull
Natalie RivenerAndrea VermaakRichard T Wheeler

Please note: The pre-orders are limited to the period before 16 July 2015. From there on, they will be available only at the full price, so, don’t wait! Get your discount now!

FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX COVER FINAL copyThe Flight of the Phoenix on Amazon, CreateSpace
and in South Africa!

Leave us a review on Goodreads if you like it!

The Flight of the Phoenix – Authors

Next up is Caldon Mull. During the many years that I spent at gaming conventions and LARPs, I got to know this man and could never quite put my finger on why I found him so charming. Maybe it’s because he’s a fantastic cook. Maybe it’s his easy manner and captivating voice (though he’ll be quick to tell you it’s not a voice for radio…go figure). All I know is: I enjoy his company even when I don’t see quite eye to eye with him.

Here follows my interview with him…

What has been your high so far with The Flight of the Phoenix?

Being selected and identified with a group that is currently producing high quality work in my area. It has been lonely writing, and knowing that there are others who are doing the same thing as I am doing has proved to be refreshing. The genre is very, very small in South Africa, and yet overall the quality and originality of fantasy and science fiction has a long history going back to the 1950’s and almost nobody in this country recognizes that South Africa SF has a really good international reputation. Perhaps The Flight of the Phoenix will be the next ‘novel of the decade’ for the genre in this country, and I am pleased to have been selected as a contributor.

What has been your worst low?

There was a point where it didn’t look like the compilation would get off the ground and it burnt me a little. I have not had particularly good luck with collaborations (mostly because of my own personality, more than lack of opportunities, or lack of trying) over the last two decades and I was concerned that this would go the way of all of the other attempts I have undertaken. However, I am resilient and my faith in the editor paid off and I am quite proud of The Flight of the Phoenix, because I think the selection of material for the volume represents the best work of the contributors, to date.

What are your future writing plans?

I am currently on a path, and I am compulsive enough to continue with that route until the loop is closed. I envision a major release of my own material in May, and October to complete my current publishing schedule.  In 2016, I need to examine my contracts and then see if I can publish a genre novel a year for at least two genres from my backlog until my list is exhausted. As I am rated as ‘solidly mid-list’ the only way through that is to experiment with breaking into cross-genre work and see where that goes. The Flight of the Phoenix provides an ideal and uncomfortable excursion into the Young Adult genre that I would not have ordinarily thought to make, and thus I will continue to support the project for as long as I am able to. That is what is so exciting for me, the ‘treasure-horde-in-your-backyard’ sort of excitement.

Get into contact with Caldon:

Smashwords: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Caldon

Print paperbacks: www.createspace.com

Goodreads: Caldon_Mull

The Flight of the Phoenix – RSA print run pre-orders open!

The South African print run The Flight of the Phoenix  is finally open for pre-orders! This fantastic anthology has been long in the making, but it has been worth the wait! You will be hard pressed to find another anthology with such a good selection of fantasy, science fiction and horror stories.
If you order before the end of June, you will receive a 25% discount on the normal price of R150*! This means you will be paying only R112.50* per copy you order.
*Please note that the price does not include shipping!
When will I get my book(s)?
Our official release date will be on the 16th or 25th of July this year. As soon as the date has been set, we will let you know. Alternatively, you can specifically request to fetch them from us at the book launch on 25 July, 14:00 at the Rooihuiskraal Public Library. (You can get your copy signed and photo taken with one of the authors!)
Thank you for your support and encouragement. You’re making our dreams a reality!
If you do not live in Gauteng or anywhere near South Africa, do not despair! We will be doing print-on-demand and ebooks on Amazon! However, the pre-orders will only open in June.
Place your pre-order for the RSA local print run now:

Fantasy vs Science Fiction

Fantasy in all its forms

So. In my string of posts about Fantasy as an overarching genre that covers all things magic and not yet technologically possible, I pose that Science Fiction is but a subgenre of Fantasy.  Oh dear! What has happened? How could I possibly say that?!? Well, it really depends on your point of view and how you define certain things.

If you argue that Science Fiction covers fictive narratives that have a possibility of becoming possible in our reality of experience, and that Fantasy covers fictive narratives that have no possibility of becoming possible in our reality of experience…then, I guess it really depends on what you, as an individual, find plausibly possible.

All in all, I see it like this: The real difference between pure Science Fiction and pure Fantasy is magic. In Science Fiction, there is no magic. In Fantasy, there is magic.

But, like I have said in other posts, these genres just won’t stay in their own play pens.  Does Steampunk fall under Science Fiction or Fantasy? A lot of the gadgets in Steampunk are actually possible to manufacture right now…so, is it still Science Fiction? It certainly isn’t factual history. I guess it could depart these shores and head off to become Historical Fiction…but, you can ask almost any Steampunk fan and they would tell you that Steampunk falls under the Science Fiction/Fantasy banner. Sooooo….

This is why I put all the piggies in one pen. Sometimes they want to play  together, sometimes they don’t.

 

What do you guys think?

Cyberpunk

So, we finally get to the subgenre I know the very least about. I have a few friends and acquaintances who are in love with it, but I honestly never got the bug.

The most important thing I have learned (the hard way) about Cyberpunk is: It is NOT Steampunk. The technology that is the main theme of Steampunk is steam-driven technology. The technology that is the main theme of Cyberpunk is computer technology and cybernetics.

Cyberpunk is usually set in the nearby future, but certainly does appear in far-future settings as well. Here and there cyberpunk even crosses the technology/magic boundary to include races like elves and dwarves and so on (Shadowrun, a role playing system and computer game).

Society is often run by large, heartless corporations (I immediately see Zorg Enterprises from The Fifth Element in my head). Computer technology and cybernetics is a source of power for the establishment  and, hence, the resistance often comprises of hackers and the like. Moral values and humane treatment of others are no longer the rule most live by.

Common features of this setting:

  • Bionic (i.e. electromechanical) and cybernetic limbs or other implants
  • Society has become dominated by computer technology and cybernetics
  • The protagonists are often part of a subversive anticulture
  • Human life has become as expendable as money
  • Post-apocalyptic setting
  • Robots (may) rule humans
  • Giant corporations rule society
  • Breakdown of moral values

Examples:

  • Ghost in the Shell (animé movie)
  • The Ship Who Sang – Anne McCaffrey
  • Battle Angel Alita (animé and manga)
  • The Matrix (movie and comic books) – though, apparently, it’s not considered Cyberpunk by all
  • Neuromancer – Tom de Haven and Bruce Jensen
  • Blade Runner (movie)

Honestly, just like any of the other subgenres I have discussed, there is much dispute about the true definition and true examples. I’d love some comments and discussions on this one.

Disclaimer:

Yes, yes, I know. But I don’t have any of the more “pure” cyberpunk stories out there in my collection just yet. I’ll fix it later if I can.

Science Fiction

As a subgenre of fantasy, Science Fiction (or SciFi, as most of us call it,) is actually a broad genre on its own. There are very few hard and fast rules for this subgenre. It can be far in the future, like Battle Star Galactica, or even a “long, long time ago”, like Star Wars. The only real factor is technology or a not-yet-realised scientific future.

Some SciFi is very pointedly a story that takes place in space (any space that’s beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, really) – think Star Trek or Alien – but others may use Earth or a planet like Earth to give the story a more subtle SciFi angle – Æon Flux and Real Steel can give you a bit of insight on this angle.

If you have looked at some of the older SciFi, you will even see that some of the elements that were Science Fiction in those days, are now a reality – like the Internet and nano-machines.

Popular themes:

  • Space exploration
  • Intergalactic politics with alien races
  • Aliens
  • Bio-engineering
  • Nanotechnology
  • Reviving extinct species (think Jurassic Park)
  • Colonisation of other planets/solar systems
  • Space pirates
  • Bionics
  • Robots
  • Cyborgs
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Domination of the human race by aliens/machines
  • Mystical forces from space (2001: A Space Odessy, AvatarStar Wars  and many more)
  • Alternate realities
  • Mutliverse
  • Time travel
  • Teleportation
  • And lots, lots more…

It’s really so broad, one could write volumes about this subgenre. But, for me, it is important to note that it can easily be used as a flavour in the other fantasy subgenres. Examples of fantasy that typically contain SciFi elements are: Steam Punk, Cyberpunk, Dying Earth and Other Planet.

Never for a moment think that subgenres are mostly found in their pure forms. The very way they have found their way into existence is by developing from other forms of the main genre. The rules are hardly ever set in stone.