Located in the eastern hemisphere of the planet Daulest, lies a region filled with spectacle, beautiful scenery, and of course a touch of the unusual. Furlasia is a region consisting of many different species. In the north of Furlasia there are the men, to the west of are Terrians, smack dab in the center are the Arnouts, to the far east, in the murky waters of Neveraus are the Akordans and north of that are the Delopars. Each of these unique species is desperate to make it’s presence known in the world, especially the Akordans. Akordans are very similar in appearance to alligators. They are muscularly built and stand typically over six feet tall. They are a unique race and due to their appearance and aggressive nature, they are not normally well accepted.
Arnouts dwell in the city of Cristol. They are late descendants of the Goddess Pomari and traveled to Furlasia around a hundred years ago after their home land of Tandorne was covered in plague. They are truly special indeed, apart from being able to fly, they can also summon energy from The Echo, as well as travel in and out of it at will. They also have been known to be telekinetic and telepathic but not all Arnouts display this trait.
There’s not much to be said about the men and women of Morlay other than the fact that they are quite keen on industry and moving forward technologically. They are the sole pioneers of steam technology and have kept the unique tech pretty close to the chest. The same can be said of the Terrians. They too are quite proud of their technology and although in all other aspects they are living in the medieval age, they have constructed riffles that use energy to inflict maximum damage. Just as with the men of Morlay, this technology has been kept to themselves. Terrians are emotional beings with elongated, fine pointed ears and a natural inclination for drama, a trait which is quickly noticeable to outsiders.
The Delopar are cat like creatures with brown spots. They are extremely agile and short tempered, as well as expert fighters. Their home has been left mostly in ruins after a harsh war with a necromancer, which has left them living a mostly nomadic existence.
Furlasia has seen some fantastic moments, as well as some truly heinous ones. There have been attacks from giants, angry beasts and even a necromancer named Agavordis. Luckily for everyone, the wizards, led by Kunklestick, have been there to help in all of Furlasia’s most dire needs. Among Furlasia, the wizards are the peacekeepers and Kunklestick, although flawed and tortured by mental anguish, continues his quest to do the right thing. It is he who predicted that the war with the necromancer would return, and he who has decided that the wizard from his visions must be found and trained, so that when that darkness returns, Furlasia will stand a fighting chance.
On the surface, one could be forgiven for seeing Furlasia as a hostile land filled with violence, but it’s in the quiet moments that it really shines. Take a stroll through the forest and listen to the birds and the primates playing under the beating sun. Go north a bit and you can climb mountains covered in beautiful green grass that produces a pleasant aroma when blown in the breeze. There are desert regions and even ice-covered ones. Furlasia really is an around the world experience. So, whether you’re interested in learning a bit of magic, watching the phoenix’s gracefully glide, swimming in the glistening waters of Cristol or surfing the waves of the Peridan Sea, there is something here for everyone. So, don’t delay, stop by Furlasia today!
What makes a good Sci-Fi or Fantasy novel? The world building, diverse and fleshed out characters, the plausibility, the gripping plot? Well, the answer depends from person to person. So while I can’t answer this question I can answer another: what are some good Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels and series? Here are some much recommended novels you just might enjoy.
The ‘Graceling’ series (Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue) by Kristin Cashore
Each book is different and all are very enjoyable. Cashore’s writing manages to bring me to laughter and tears and sometimes both at the same time. These three companion novels are not only a fun read but provide different viewpoints on relationships, both romantic and platonic, loyalty to country and people, living through wars, and torn families. The world building is shown well and through beautiful prose. Each protagonist is a dynamic and unique woman with her own stories to tell. None of the books feel like a repetition of each other and can be read in any order though some suggest that you read them in order of their release. I have reread Graceling and Bitterblue three times and reread Fire countless more.
‘The Keys to the Kingdom’ series by Garth Nix
This seven-part series is a wonderful blend of sci-fi, fantasy, humour, and adventure. Nix introduces us to an unwilling hero, Arthur, in Mister Monday and we see him grow and learn throughout the series. His friends are all individuals with interesting personalities and motives. The betrayals and problems Arthur faces can be dark at times so I don’t recommend it solely for preteens, I think older age groups will enjoy them just as much and understand the subtext better. Having each of the seven ‘Trustees’ controlled by one of the seven deadly sins is another fun aspect. The religious features within the series provide new things to ponder about, as well as the historical figures such as the Pied Piper and the Ancient Mariner. It can be very reminiscent of old legends and fables, just look at the name of our protagonist.
‘Shatterbones’ by Robert Brown
Brown’s novel is an interesting take on the whole apocalyptic/mutant scenario. Children, now vampires, battle with other great monsters such as giants and behemoth-like creatures, and so enjoyable fight scenes play out within the novel. Characters are interesting in how they use their gifts, for good or for bad, and Brown does bring to life some interesting characters (pun intended). The dialogue is entertaining and sometimes even inspirational. The political aspect is very readable. Shatterbones is a horror so I recommend this to young adults and older.
‘A Face Like Glass’ by Frances Hardinge
This beautiful fantasy is set in the underground world of Caverna where people are born with faces ‘as blank as untouched snow’. The very premise of having skilled mastercrafts people teach others for a price to convey emotions on their face is incredibly intriguing. Hardinge’s cast of characters is so diverse and interesting that one can fall in love with it based on them alone. Our protagonist Neverfell, named so because she fell into a vat of Neverfell cheese, goes on a dangerous journey through courts and murder and mystery and takes us along so we don’t get lost. After all, it is very easy to get lost in the caves of Caverna. The world building is captivating and the plot is gripping. This book is a truly wonderful read and I constantly recommend it to the people around me. As a general rule I would say to always pick up a Hardinge book, I have yet to read one that disappointed me.
The ‘Rose’ series by Holly Webb
For the younger readers I recommend the four part series that bewitched me as a pre-teen. The story of a young orphan, alchemy, and magic in the streets of a British town is a delightful tale with mystery and fantasy. The details behind magic are not too intricate and complicated which makes them all the more enjoyable for that age. Rose and the ensemble of magic and non magic people captured my attention; it’s always helpful to have a likeable protagonist and some interesting villains, which this series does. The mystery of who Rose is is a question that stays with you throughout the series and the answer is not a disappointment. They are quick reads and, depending on your speed and time availability, can be read within a week though I drew it out so I could savour the books for longer.
‘I, Nemo’ by J Dharma Windham and Deanna Windham
This clever retelling of ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ by Jules Verne provides a backstory to Captain Nemo is ‘his very own words’! The lost journal idea has been done before but it was fresh here in Windham’s book. The steampunk vibe paired with the jungle setting captures the attention and makes the book a fast read. The descriptions of the seas and the battles are well written and very vivid. The characters are well thought out with our protagonist having fun personality traits and an ambiguous morality. It’s a novel for so many people; adventure lovers, sci-fi lovers, steampunk lovers. This is definitely on my recommended list!
‘The Enemy Within’ by Scott Burn
This heartwrenching story of a teen who dreams of an apocalyptic future and finds himself institutionalised for suicidal thoughts as a result will pull you in and keep it’s hold on you after. Max and the friends he makes are fleshed out and well written characters who give you all the feels. Their dialogue is realistic, something that can be hard to find in many novels centered around teenagers. What separates this sci-fi from others published at the moment are the identity issues, morality issues, and the survival issues. It showcases real life but with aliens on the side. It also opens up the discussion on teenage suicide and abuse. Burn has a rich imagination and brings something fresh to the genre which I think many people would enjoy and should read.
“All of the preparations are complete,” the sorcerer said after boldly striding into the cramped room. “Derran is securely established in the village and is waiting for your arrival. As we discussed, he’ll remain with you until we have stabilized our borders and it’s once again safe for both of you to return to Mystandia. He’s an extremely competent swordsman as well as a Master Sorcerer. There’s no other whom I’d entrust with your safety. You may rest assured you are in good hands. I’ll contact you as often as I’m able and will keep you updated on our situation here in Mystandia.”
An uncomfortable silence engulfed the room as the sorcerer’s deep voice rumbled to a close. He studied the young woman huddled forlornly by the fireplace. She was dressed in a tattered brown traveling dress and a dark-green overcoat that had been patched more times than could be counted. Her shoulder length golden hair glistened in the firelight as she stared into the crackling flames. Giving no sign to acknowledge the sorcerer’s words, she absently turned a small purple and silver glass orb in her left hand.
“It is time, Haeleena,” the sorcerer murmured softly. He’d put the journey off as long as he dared. She couldn’t linger any longer.
Haeleena looked up at him as a tear glided down her heavily freckled cheek. The war had destroyed both her home and her family, and it was now forcing her to flee from the only world she’d ever known.
Richter looked up at the opening in the earth sixty feet above him. As his muscles ached, Sion shouted down at him to hold on, and he heard another sprite voice shout in the distance, “Your lord! I must speak to your lord! He has to know!”
The chaos seed hung there, battered and bruised. A stack of prompts flashed in the corner of his vision, waiting to be read, including one that had the clear, pulsing border of an absorbed memory. None of this interested him at the moment, though.
Despite everything that had just happened, despite all of the things that were waiting to be done, and even despite the mystery of what he had ‘to know,’ there was only one thing on Richter’s mind. He sighed heavily in frustration and pain, then shouted up to his people looking down at him, “Would you hurry the fuck up! I’m literally hanging off a cliff down here!
All that kept him from falling to his death was one hand clutching the hilt of his short sword. The weapon was jammed into the wall of the pit he hung over. As he had fallen, Richter had managed to desperately plunge the clear green blade into the stone as he fell. To be honest, he hadn’t actually expected it to work, but luckily the fey metal had been up to the task.
As he swayed slightly in the air, he swung his other hand up with a pained grunt. His muscles felt like they had been stretched and seared, and his free hand was shaking slightly as he came down from the battle high. Despite this, he was able to grab a small shelf of stone. Now somewhat more secure, he breathed out slightly in relief. That feeling didn’t last.
An internal voice told him, no screamed at him, not to, but Richter just couldn’t resist looking down. Both arms extended above his head, he twisted his neck back and to the right. Beneath him, a sea of black satin Dark magic undulated and hinted of hidden monsters.
Gazing at the pool of pitch-black magic beneath him, fear began to worm its way through his heart. That internal voice sat back, smug, and said, ‘See, dumbass? You shouldn’t have looked.’ The voice wasn’t getting any argument from Richter anymore. He kept staring for a few seconds, afraid that a creature of the Dark would rise up and attack him, but thankfully the level of roiling liquid began to drop.
Whether it was because the spell duration had elapsed or whether it was because the Witch Doctor had been killed, Richter didn’t know. Even if he did, though, it would be safe to say that he gave absolutely zero fucks.
D. E. Boske
Dawn broke early on the Logan Plains. The fiery orb rose in the sky and burned across his vision, leaving him temporarily blinded. When his vision returned, he scanned the distant horizon, searching for a sign.
They should have met two days ago. Darian’s absence did not bode well. The Mage was never late. The elf scanned the sky, silently cursing the lack of cover. He did not wish to be out in the open when the sun was full in the sky, as there were reports of heavy goblin activity in the area. The elf knew dark times were ahead, he could sense it. There were other far more nefarious creatures that populated Corillia and lately, Kyler’s elven senses screamed warnings that things were about to get interesting.
He removed some bread and cheese from his pack and consumed it without in-terest. He took a deep draw from the flask at his belt, knowing he would need to con-serve the rest.
The Logan Plains was a vast grassland where the vegetation grew several feet high across much of the vast open plains, making it the perfect hiding place for ambushes. The summers were sweltering, but at night, it grew cool. The winters were harsh; the bitter cold winds blowing down from Thunder Peak stripped everything bare.
“Rah!” I let out a loud grunt as I swung my fist through the air, feeling the telltale buzz of my haptic glove shoot up my arm as my fist passed through the jaw of the shimmering opponent in front of me. A heartbeat later the simulation reeled backwards as I quickly followed up with a combination of punches, breaking through my virtual opponent’s defense.
I ducked under a wild punch, feeling a slight buzz in my headgear, telling me the attack had barely grazed the side of my head. My leg shot forward, landing a vicious strike against the simulated boxer’s side, sending him crashing into the ground. I raised my fist to strike down at my fallen opponent when the program paused itself, a sudden buzzing sound filling my ears as a message scrolled across the Augmented Reality goggles I wore.
INCOMING CALL: PETER
ACCEPT? / REJECT?
“Ugh, Peter has to be the only person who still uses a phone to call people.” With a small grunt of annoyance, I sucked in a deep breath, feeling sweat run down my back as I forced myself upright. I cleared my throat before answering the call.
“Peter?” I said after my earpiece beeped, indicating the line was connected.
“Yo, Marc.” The voice behind the phone sounded rushed, excited. “Where are you?”
“Eh? I’m exercising in the ARES at my gym. What’s up? You’re up pretty early for you, is everything okay?” I asked, concerned. Peter was one of my best friends, but he was a night owl. Having him awake this early in the morning was unusual.
“The ARES?” Peter sounded confused for a moment. “Oh right, that Augmented Reality training thing!”
“Yeah, and I was winning too.” I breathed, letting some of the annoyance creep into my voice. “What’s up? You okay?”
“Yeah man, I’m fucking great! I’m calling because I’ve got news! Huge news!” He paused for a moment to take a breath.
“Creative Tech just announced a new title, this time; it’s a VRMMORPG!”
“Sweet shit Peter! Did you just call me for that?!” I said rolling my eyes, as I looked at the frozen simulation in front of me.
“Announcing means they’re still years away from a product, and VR is a flop. VisionQuest tried it, failed miserably, and that was in development for fifteen years! Hell, the best they could do with their tech was to repurpose it for these ARES rooms anyway.”
“Why all the hype now?” I asked, while internally thinking ‘Why are you calling me about this?’
“Because they are releasing tomorrow.” I could hear the smugness in Peter’s voice.
“I know, right?” Peter spoke quickly, excitement evident in his voice. “The only bit of information we have is that there’s a stream scheduled for noon today, and that more information will be available afterwards. A ton of hype has started building on the net about it already and the news has only been out less than an hour.”
I looked at the frozen simulation before me, remembering the slight delay that all ARES had. I sighed and began stripping my haptic gloves off. “Alright man, color me interested, I’ve been looking for a new fix anyway. What’s the game called?”