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www.thekingdomsofevil.com/?p=4…

This week I’m talking with Ferrett Steinmetz, who’s debut novel, Flex is out now from Angry Robot. Flex has been described as “Breaking Bad meets meets Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files,” and it has a lot of themes to explore (such as body image and the limits on magic), but we’re talking about the basis of the book’s magical system: obsession.

This week I’m talking with Ferrett Steinmetz, his debut novel, Flex, and the basis of the book’s magical system: obsession.

Ferrett’s short fiction

The Clarion Writers’ Workshop

The Nebula-nominated novella Sauerkraut Station

Dr. Strange Syndrome

When you have a big flabby magical system, I never know if the character is in danger.

felimancers?

If Harry Potter took magic seriously

In the real world, you can also achieve great things if you’re obsessed

Dude, what if you, like, made Felix Felicis potion, and then under its influence tried to make more?!

Get him out of the house and making bad decisions

Carrie Patel, Ferrett’s book twinsy, and what I was talking about with her

Hermione and Ron are terrible for each other! My fanfic did it better.

The internet is a glorious magnification of obsession

The Lego GondorTransformer costumes, and Gamergate

Nobody cares if you’re a writer, but you

Screw you, brain!

Steven King and Anne Leckie

This bizarre combination of egotism and humility

Tobias Buckwell

FLEX is out now! Buy it!

www.thekingdomsofevil.com/?p=4…

Magic accumulates through the food-chain, from plants  to herbivores to large predators, to humans. Eat enough wolf-liver and you gain the ability to make the world conform to your expectations. You become a baatar.

Kashin of the house of Ögedei watched the light shine from under the fur of the spirit-wolf and imagined the taste of its liver. Would it be as bitter, he wondered, as the liver of Güyük Khan?

Remember Abbas ibn Firnas? Here’s what might have happened if his glider had worked.

“He flew faster than the phoenix in his flight when he dressed his body in the feathers of a vulture.”—Mu’min ibn Said

The earliest known use for the kite was suggested by ibn Firnas himself: courier. Kitings are reported from as early as the 880’s, mostly between Qurtuba itself and outlying settlements. Following the rise of Abd-ar-Rahman III and the consolidation of the Caliphate of Qurtuba, this practice became more common and ambitious, culminating in a notable (and notably unsuccessful) attempted kiting from al-Yazirat across the straits of Gibraltar in 912.

“He carried a missive to the fishes.”—An Unnamed Fisherman, quoted by Said Al-Andalusi in the Compendious History of Nations

The reasons for the use of early kites as in religion and politics rather than in the military or economic spheres should be obvious when one considers the numerous disadvantages early kite designs presented to the would-be practical kiter. Limited in altitude, range, and cargo-capacity, pre-Mongol kites could only be relied upon to deliver religious and juridical documents in short hops between one mosque and another, often along special routes lined with way towers. Most records from this time of bonfires or burning houses used to create updrafts are apocryphal.

“I am come to you bearing new orders from Allah Most High. Listen ye attentively”—attributed to Mohammad Ibn Zenati, founder of the Almustwad Caliphate

The adaptation of the kite by the Berbers for purely religious purposes should therefore be no surprise. Of course, courier-kiters and water-finders were likely as common around the Sahara then as they are today, but whatever might have been written about them was lost in revolts inspired by the “Winged Preacher” Ibn Zenati.

“Princess, there is a means of escape from this siege.” —Loyal Jafar, from the Song of Al Syd

There has been some speculation as to the role of the kite in tying together the taifa states of post-Umayyad Spain and the post-Almustwad Africa until their eventual annexation by the Karamans. Certainly, the historical record of the 12th and 13th centuries is full the kiting couriers and preachers, but it is difficult to say for certain how large a role they played in the fractured development of these small republics. Certainly the famed Owl Assassins of would have had to find some other way of swooping down on their targets.

“Beware the silent wings.” —Berber saying

Ironically, the one place air travel made a real practical distance was at sea. Sailors, usually young boys, would scale the rigging, assemble their wings, and glide the short distance to the deck of another ship. On warm days, one of these “Little Gulls” might catch an updraft and fly higher than the masthead, spying land, weather features, or ships otherwise beyond sight. Records of women Gulls, if truthful, would push back this breakthrough nearly two hundred years before their famous use by the Mongols.

 “No Gulls may fly within the city walls,” —proclamation issued in the name of Erik Christoffersen, King of Denmark

“…as their excrement stains our statues.”—marginalia by anonymous clerk

It is this maritime use of kiting that spread furthest. By the 13th century, kites were in use in the harbors, if not the fortresses or cathedrals of most of Christendom as well as the Pagan port cities of West Africa and the Persian Gulf. Somewhere in the latter region, this technology finally fell into the hands of someone who could use it in war.

“The wind in our wings is the song of your doom.”—attributed to Guyuk Khan

The Mongols were great innovators. In addition to their superior cavalry tactics and archery technology, they made great use of conquered Chinese, Persian, and Arab artisans to perfect siege equipment, firearms, and of course kites. Their “Eagle Daughters,” young kited women armed with bows and launched into the air by catapult, proved devastating siege-breakers, raining burning oil, crude incendiaries, and disease-carrying offal down upon their enemies. Although stopped by the Mamelukes and their  Owls in Egypt, the Eagles were likely instrumental for the conquest of Eastern Europe and Constantinople. In the end, only the Black Plague broke the Byzantine Horde, leaving the Khan of Cities cut off and vulnerable to the even more advanced Karamans with their rocket-powered “Falcon Corps.”

“Set a light to his fuse and he’ll run faster.” —Falcon drinking song

Thus, the age of sword and horse gave way to the age of gun and kite, with the shattered Christian principalities struggling to united against the Karamans as they swallowed the taifas and stretched their influence around the Meditarranean. The use of women kiters declared anathema by the Pope, Christian armies were generally weak in the air, but their navies could make use of Gulls to great effect. Although shrewd buisness practices no doubt played their role, it is likely the kite that kept the Italian states independent until the modern era.

“The wind from a burning village carried me here.”—inscription on memorial pole erected in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Certainly, it is the kite that allowed the Pomors to dominate Northern Europe and the British Isles, and let them so quickly explore the North Atlantic. Without the kites, the discovery of the Western Continents and their fabulous wealth might have been delayed for centuries. As it was, by the 16th century, Pomorian colonies in what are today Nowaziemia and Męczicia had already set the stage for the modern distribution of global power between Muslim Eastern and Christian Western Continents.

“We found gold. Send more ships.” —dispatch from Wladislaw Ierowic to king Karolinas II of Scańsko-Pomoria.

     ” A thousand years before the Wright brothers, a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine.” What if he had been successful?

www.thekingdomsofevil.com/?p=4…

www.thekingdomsofevil.com/?p=4…

I’m talking with Carrie Patel, author of the Buried Life, about book launches.

I’ve talked with Carrie before about her steampunk-ish, noir-ish, fantasy-ish, dystopian-ish, book-ish underground thing, but that was when we thought it was coming out in summer 2014. Now, the Buried Life is finally ready for launch (you can buy it now, in fact!).

What are blurbs and how do you get them?

The delightful Beth Cato and the big-named Cherie Priest both think you ought to read The Buried Life.

Caroline Lambe at Angry Robot

Chuck Wendig‘s interesting tweet about publishers:

 

If it feels like you’re using recycled material…don’t

Sending out ARCs

Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, which does fantastic author events

Find bookstores that love the kind of things you write

Mary Robinette Kowal talks about reading fiction aloud (video)

Demographic shifts…for example?

Mike Deluca

Cracked.com responds to the two stars of 50 Shades of Grey in their “interview.”

Kaja Foglio of Girl Genius fame would probably be doing all that cosplaying, card-playing, and fainting anyway.

“Let me sell you your interests” vrs. “Come play with me!”

www.thekingdomsofevil.com/?p=4…

This week I’m talking with Ferrett Steinmetz, who’s debut novel, Flex is out now from Angry Robot. Flex has been described as “Breaking Bad meets meets Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files,” and it has a lot of themes to explore (such as body image and the limits on magic), but we’re talking about the basis of the book’s magical system: obsession.

This week I’m talking with Ferrett Steinmetz, his debut novel, Flex, and the basis of the book’s magical system: obsession.

Ferrett’s short fiction

The Clarion Writers’ Workshop

The Nebula-nominated novella Sauerkraut Station

Dr. Strange Syndrome

When you have a big flabby magical system, I never know if the character is in danger.

felimancers?

If Harry Potter took magic seriously

In the real world, you can also achieve great things if you’re obsessed

Dude, what if you, like, made Felix Felicis potion, and then under its influence tried to make more?!

Get him out of the house and making bad decisions

Carrie Patel, Ferrett’s book twinsy, and what I was talking about with her

Hermione and Ron are terrible for each other! My fanfic did it better.

The internet is a glorious magnification of obsession

The Lego GondorTransformer costumes, and Gamergate

Nobody cares if you’re a writer, but you

Screw you, brain!

Steven King and Anne Leckie

This bizarre combination of egotism and humility

Tobias Buckwell

FLEX is out now! Buy it!

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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014  Hobbyist
Happy birthday! :party:
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:iconsinornithosaurus:
Sinornithosaurus Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Happy Birthday!
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:icondragontunders:
Dragontunders Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014  Hobbyist
Happy Birthday 1st Emoticon: Happy Birthday 
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014
Happy Birthday to you.  enjoy,
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014
Thanks
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:iconevenape:
Evenape Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Happy belated birthday good sir! :)
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2014
Belated? Maybe you mean "early" :) My birthday's not until the 23rd. But thank you!
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:iconevenape:
Evenape Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Yep, I realised afterwards that it was still the 21st, and thus I'm 2 days early xD

just, happy birthday good sir :D
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:iconmanticorewarrior21:
ManticoreWarrior21 Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Happy Birthday
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