Normalcy Doesn’t Work

Hey Guys!

It’s been a while since I’ve had publication news to share, but I’m back to say my short story Kaleidoscope was published in Shift the Zine! I couldn’t have been happier to receive their email saying they accepted my work.

I’m not sure what I was expecting to come from this piece when I wrote it. It was done in one sitting, but as I reread it, I felt like it wasn’t quite right. This story was originally double in length and jumped around a lot. Before I chopped at it in the editing process, it was definitely a realistic fiction/contemporary piece.

I’ve written contemporary pieces before and I love reading them, but something about this story begged for a new genre. There was a little inkling in my brain that slowly turned into: “hey, why don’t you make Jared’s painting come to life?”

I promise you’ll understand that question once you read my story.

pexels-photo-94736Once I decided to go through with the plan, the story read easier. I cut most of the original draft and settled on an odder, more emotionally charged piece. For the main character Jared, who I’ve written before, but never in a story I submitted, he’s an artistic guy. He heals through what he creates. He takes his emotions and shoves them onto a canvas. My desire to alter the story came from the needed exploration of what Jared’s art can do for him especially after suffering from heartbreak.

This story couldn’t have been possible without the help of one of my dear friends Kristie, who created the character of Ash and through her, I have been inspired to create so many things.

If you’d like to give Kaleidoscope a read, click here, and be sure to share your thoughts with me (if you’d like), in the comments.

Xx

Megan

Blood Rose Rebellion: A Review

Hello Readers & Writers,

I was lucky to receive an advanced copy of Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves. This young adult book is due out March 28th, 2017. This review will be mostly spoiler free so you don’t have to click away.

I was a bit wary when I first began reading because it is set in an old fashioned England –
think ball gowns, suitors, and noble families. These books do not always grasp me, but I kept reading because I was interested in the fantastical elements Rosalyn Eves added to the historical background of her story.

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Taken from my instagram: Written-Infinities

I will say there are a few things that bothered me about the book, mainly the instant inkling that the boys in Anna’s life would be love interests and the trope of one person having abilities not seen in hundreds of years. I wish that Anna experienced the world without romantic interests guiding some of her decisions, but I can also understand her desire to connect with people after having guidelines constantly pressed down on her.

Needless to say, I was swept up in Anna’s narrative, a teenage girl who is deemed barren of magic. This is a sentence that has hung over her head in a variety of ways: through her mother’s less than parental treatment of her, her sister being favored for the grace of her magic, and judgment from society. It is at the beginning of the story, when Anna disrupts her sister’s charm ceremony in order to find a husband, that all of this anger Anna harbors sets itself free.

In order to let the chaos die down, though Anna knows it is a way to get rid of her until she conforms to the expectations of a proper woman, Anna is sent to live with her Grandmama in Hungary. It is there that Anna learns a lot about the world, breaking the teachings that have circulated around her since her youth. She is also forced to grapple with questions of identity, family, and revolution. My favorite question that Anna tackles: what is one willing to sacrifice for change? Can an individual commit to a cause if it means potentially losing those they love and having people come after them?

Anna feels like a teenager, wanting to find her place in the world despite so many people telling her otherwise. She wants love. She wants change, but she also possesses fear of discovering who she might be and what she can do. She can be a bit clumsy at times, naïve at others, but these reactions never feel out of place. It is hard to have an entire world unravel, especially at a young age.

It is not just Anna that makes the story likeable. The other characters do the same. Their personalities are alive on the page and they do not all share the same views as Anna. They challenge where she came from and society as a whole. Gabor is my favorite character, hands down.

There is also the inclusion of Slavic Mythology and a history belonging to 19th century Hungary. I seriously recommend reading the acknowledgements page at the end of the book if you don’t normally. Rosalyn goes into a discussion of history and provides some sources for further reading. She blends history with magic, creating a world that does suck you in. I would say that is what makes Blood Rose Rebellion stand out from the expected and common fantasy novel.

Overall, I would give this book 4/5 charms.

Xx

Megan

Writer Chat With Amber Mitchell

Hello Readers & Writers,

I had the pleasure of interviewing Amber Mitchell, debut author of the novel Garden of Thorns, published by Entangled Teen.  I will have a review of this book up soon, but man, it hooks your attention from the opening scene and I was lucky enough to dive into Amber’s head on the project.

Before I get to the interview, here is the synopsis of Garden of Thorns which is out today! Make sure you grab your copy.

After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.
 

Q1: Did you always like to write or was it something you grew into?

Amber: The first time I knew I wanted to be a writer was in 3rd grade. We had to do this presentation on space and I wrote up an entire play for the class to perform. I loved the joy creation brought and I’ve been writing ever since. However, I wasn’t actually serious about writing until my junior year of high school.

Q2: What is your favorite thing about writing?

Amber: The feeling of having written. I always complain when I’m writing, but I love the feeling I get afterwards, of knowing that I put the time in and created something. This is followed closely by the editing process. I’m not a big fan on first drafts but I love getting my hands dirty and improving books during the editing process!

Q3: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Amber: Strict plotter. I think there is a lot of fun in pantsing something, but I’ve found that if I don’t write out paragraph synopsizes for every chapter, I’ll use the excuse “I don’t know what is going to happen next” to not write for the day.

Q4: From what I’ve read so far, Garden of Thorns is one crazy ride. The opening scene alone is intense – let alone sucked me in as a reader. What inspired the story?

Amber: Every time I’d see a movie and there would be a ballroom scene, I’d watch the girls dancing in their big dresses and think about how they looked like flowers as the twirled around the dance floor. I’d always thought that a fantasy novel about a girl who was forced to dance would be a cool idea and the image of flowers kept popping up in my head. I ended up writing Garden of Thorns on accident though. I was editing another book and kept hearing Rose’s voice in my head. I opened up a new word document and wrote what would become the first five pages of the book in less than an hour. The concept of the Flowers and the Garden seemed to jump from the page and I had to figure out where it was going to take me.

Q5: What reactions are you hoping for as readers dive into your book? Are there moments you want them to scream or rave about?

Amber: Of course, I want readers to love it. I guess the biggest thing for me is that the world feels real and the book feels authentic. My biggest pet peeve when reading a book or watching a movie is when I feel like the author or creator is holding their punches. I never like “fake deaths” where you think a character died only to have them come back completely unscathed later. I’ve been getting a lot of comments that Garden of Thorns is brutal and I love it!

Q6: Who’s your favorite character from Garden of Thorns?

Amber: This question isn’t fair! Of course I love Rose and Rayce since they are my two main characters. I’m also really fond of Arlo and Marin. They’re two secondary characters in the rebellion and I love them dearly. I think Arlo adds a good bit of humor to the book and is a great contrast to Rayce and Marin is the breath of fresh air. She’s a girl who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to fight for it.

Q7: How does it feel to say you have a book out there in the world? I can imagine it’s a bit nerve-wracking.

Amber: It’s definitely an overwhelming feeling. I fluctuate from not believing it’s real to being so excited I could burst. There are also a fair amount of nerves involved. What’s really strange is having people talk to me about my own characters. They’ve been real to me for so long and it’s strange now that other people know them too!

Q8: If you’re not writing, what are some things you love doing?

Amber: My husband and I run a paper-cut shadowbox business that allows us to travel the US. I enjoy crafting things out of paper. I’m also big into escape rooms, I like to read and sometimes I like to pretend I’m a baker. I say pretend because the last three cakes I’ve attempted have turned out lopsided!

Q9: What’s your favorite book and genre to read?

Amber: This question should be illegal! I love so many books! One of the series that will always be a favorite for me though is Harry Potter by JK Rowling. I can read it anytime! In general, I read a lot of YA. I used to stick to YA fantasy and historical, and while they are still my favorite, I read pretty much everything YA now!

Q10: Describe Garden of Thorns in three words.

Amber: Intense. Romantic. Brutal.

Biography:

Amber Mitchell graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Creative author-picWriting. She likes crazy hair styles, reading, D&D, k-dramas, good puns and great food.

When she isn’t putting words on paper, she is using cardstock to craft 3D artwork or exploring new places with her husband Brian. They live a small town in Florida with their four cats where she is still waiting for a madman in a blue box to show up on her doorstep.

Garden of Thorns is her debut novel from Entangled Teen.

If this book sounds like something you would read, and if you’d like to keep up with what Amber is doing, follow her here.

If you’d like to see my review of this book, check back soon.
Xx
Megan

Caraval: A Review

Hello Readers & Writers,

Caraval by Stephanie Garber was one of the most anticipated and talked about books of 2017. I remember it circulating around Twitter and how it was on nearly every list of upcoming books to read. Having just finished it, I wanted to discuss it in a mostly spoiler free review.

The book follows Scarlett, a woman whose arranged marriage is closely approaching. She
has been confined to the Isle of Trisda with her sister Tella at the hands of an abusive and controlling father. A letter arriving from Legend, the leader of this well known fantastical event called Caraval, invites Scarlett, her fiance and her sister to where they will be holding their next performance. It is all Scarlett has dreamed about as a girl, having written letters to Legend for most of her childhood. Now that she has given up on the dream and is on the verge of adulthood, the letters disrupt her perfectly laid out plan.

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Taken from my instagram, Written-Infinities

It is because of her impulsive sister and an unknown sailor that Scarlett is brought to Caraval. Not everything is what it seems in Caraval despite it promising magic, fun, and something that will never be forgotten. Once admitted, a guest can either choose to be a player or a watcher. Those who play have a chance at winning a prize from Legend himself. The decision to play is one that Scarlett does not make lightly and its from there the thick of the plot takes place.

I’m going to briefly mention my only negative of the book and that is Scarlett prior to her growth in the story. She is a character who is afraid of taking risks and constantly tries to uphold all the rules that made her a prisoner in her life. It can be a bit excessive and it made me not like Scarlett at first. I wanted her, as a reader, to push past her fears and do something instead of her internal thoughts being filled with the same worries over and over again. She does break away from this, which makes her narration a pleasant read, but I kept wanting to shake her. I wanted her to listen to those around her who were trying to help her do what she needed to do.

Moving past that, I was entranced by Caraval. I can’t say with a hundred percent certainty I would want to be a guest at the show, but I definitely loved reading about it. Stephanie Garber did a great job of heightening sensual perceptions in order to create the magic of Caraval. Characters feel in colors, take in people by their scents, see things with a sense of wonder. Her descriptions made me smile and I think she not only captured Caraval for the story, but she made sure her readers could picture everything too. I’m a sucker for descriptions and there was a balance between too much and not enough.

As much as this is a Fantasy story, it is also a mystery. Scarlett has to decipher a series of clues in order to get her sister back. She was stolen from her upon arriving at Caraval. You are as much of a reader as you are a detective trying to figure out what happened to Tella. Through this journey, Scarlett discovers a lot about herself and how the views she once held weren’t the best.

I enjoyed the twists that were thrown into the story, how I wasn’t sure who to trust and who Legend really was. Every time something appeared to be figured out, Stephanie Garber went, “Nope, here is a new twist.” This uncertainty is only added onto by the secondary characters who promise and offer help to Scarlett in exchange for payment. Only once is payment in this story money.

This story gave me similar feelings of awe as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern did. I was taken to a world very different from my own and nearly everything was given a splash of magic and life. By the last two sections of the book – it is split up based on which night it is in Caraval – I couldn’t put the book down. I needed to know what happened.

Overall, I felt as if Caraval lived up to its expectations and if you haven’t picked up a copy, I suggest doing so.

It gets 4.5/5 top hats from me.

Xx

Megan

Cover Reveal for 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

Hello Everyone!

*Whispers* Man, Megan has really been on top of this blogging thing, hasn’t she?

Why, yes, I have. 2017 apparently awoke some kind of crazy social media beast in me that wants to throw every book related thing out into the world. So today, I have some awesome news and that is, I will be revealing the cover for Tristina Wright’s Book, 27 Hours!

*cue screaming and fangirling because this cover is gorgeous

If you haven’t heard of this book, here is all you need to know. It will be released on October 3rd, 2017 and be the first installment of The Nightshade Saga.

Plot:

Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

Where To Buy:

About the Author: 

Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid, but no one can get confirmation. She fell in love with science fiction and fantasy at a young age and frequently got caught writing in class instead of paying attention. She enjoys worlds with monsters and kissing and monsters kissing. She married a nerd who can build computers and make the sun shine with his smile. Most days, she can be found drinking coffee from her favorite chipped mug and making up more stories for her wombfruit, who keep life exciting and unpredictable.

Still trying to figure out the mermaid thing.

Website: http://tristinawright.com/

Snapchat: @tristinawright
Okay, so without further ado… HERE IS THE COVER!
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Isn’t it beautiful? Seriously, I can’t stop looking at it.
This is one of the books I’m most excited to read for 2017. Give me conflict and space and diversity! Definitely consider getting your hands on it because from what I heard, it does not disappoint.
Xx
Megan

Exciting News!!

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As I’ve mentioned several times in my posts, I work for a publishing company by the name of Fantasy Works Publishing. In just five days, we will have our first official book release. The book is called The Mark of the Shadow Grove and is written by Ross Smeltzer. It’s a book I’m super excited about and has been in the works for quite some time. If you love Fantasy, you’ll want to check this out. The synopsis and an excerpt of the book can be found below.

 

Synopsis:

Daughters of the gathering dusk and students of blackest spellcraft, the women of the Schermerhorn clan are enigmas made flesh. Seers for time immemorial, they are keepers of primeval knowledge.

They are wise in the ways of the Old Religion.

And they are destroyers of men.

Do the women of the Schermerhorn clan drive the men they encounter to their destruction? Or are their actions governed by specters on the periphery of human consciousness?

The Schermerhorn women will soon learn what dwells in the oldest books and what lurks in the flickering shadows beyond the candlelight.

Excerpt:

I saw her close to the fire. I approached her. Instinct—animal’s blood—controlled my fatigued limbs and I felt no fear, though the flames blazed high and the hilltop was forlorn; the night was black as deep water . . . She turned and approached me. “There are no masters here. Only you and me,” she said.

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If you’d like to purchase this book, it will be available on the following platforms:

Fantasy Works Publishing

Amazon

Smashwords

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If you’d like to find out more about Ross here is his bio and some social media links:

Author Bio: Raised in Chatham, New York, a small town in the Berkshires that looks like the setting for a Washington Irving story, Ross grew up surrounded by overgrown woodlands and tumbled-down, derelict farmhouses. He grew up with an awareness that the past was omnipresent, a slyly pervasive power and a subtle influence on the present.

Ross now lives in Dallas, Texas with his patient and endlessly supportive wife, a hopelessly brainless terrier, and an alarmingly unhinged cat. Ross works as a social studies teacher but writes fiction whenever he gets a chance. Sadly, he seems capable only of crafting stories of the weirdest kind. His imagination—apparently corrupted in adolescence by Hawthorne, Bierce, Machen, Lovecraft, and assorted other misanthropes, weirdos, and purveyors of high strangeness—can only manufacture demented little yarns.

Ross’s fiction has appeared repeatedly in Bewildering Stories magazine, Quantum Fairy Tales, and Enchanted Conversation, an online fairy tale magazine.

Website: http://fantasyworkspublishing.com/ross-smeltzer.html

Twitter: @RossTellsTales

The Dystopia of Today’s Popularity Cult

Though Virtual FantasyCon may have passed, I have another guest post to share with my fellow writers and readers. This one is by Arie Farnam and it’s quite the read. One of the biggest debates in the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genre is how can a dystopia be contemporary? Arie attempts to explain this with the reference of her own work and other popular examples in the literary world.


I get some funny looks (and comments) when I say I write contemporary dystopia fantasy.

“Wait. Dystopia is supposed to be in the future, isn’t it?”

Let’s examine that notion for a moment. A dystopia is supposed to be an unjust society of some kind, usually one that ostracizes an individual for some random reason—looks, genes, odd abilities or lack of abilities, too smart, too dumb, too tall, too fat, too skinny, a lottery system, whatever. Then the story is all about the individual or a small group battling the status quo.

Yes, this is usually set in a grim futuristic world (because we all take after George Orwell and some of us were even born before 1984), but I don\t see anything in the general description that precludes it from being based on today’s world.

Let’s look at western (particularly US) society from the perspective of an outside observer, maybe an extraterrestrial or someone from the distant past.

Here’s a high school cafeteria with its ironclad rules about who sits where–tables for the gamers, the emos, the jocks or the geeks among the boys and for the girls the clusters around this or that social magnet. Most strive to fit in with one group or another or at least slip through relatively unnoticed. A few actually thrive in this acrid environment. And some are torn to bits.

Often one is picked out and hounded to utter psychological collapse, sometimes until they commit suicide. Their crime is being different–not abiding by the norms, not wearing the right clothes or the right makeup or sometimes having some sort of minor impairment or disability.

Obviously this part of society is immature and it can’t represent the whole. Can it?

But among adults our observer discovers mommy-cliques and business circles.

Mommy-cliques may look a tad more sophisticated, but the rules are still pretty much the same. The ammunition is still fashion and small talk, but you have to add in flashy birthday parties, magazine-quality Pinterest photos of crafts and cooking, kids fashions, kids behavior, parenting styles, how early you potty-trained and how well you can talk about it all without bragging too blatantly. The stakes are now isolation with screaming toddlers, children who ask “Mommy, why can’t I play with Johnny?” and the knowledge that the reason is that you are not cool enough for Johnny’s mom. You may not commit suicide because you wouldn’t do that to your kids, but that doesn’t mean it hurts less.

And as for business, if there was ever a world where who you know matters most, this is it. We call it “leadership” among adults and make it out to be honorable. But the old rules still apply. Social and economic classes remain very stable. Without wealthy friends of the family, a new business person is very unlikely to succeed, no matter how good their business plan. And if they do it will be largely due to people-climbing.

The stakes are the same as they were in high school–inclusion or exclusion, popularity or oblivion.

In this world, status is now measured in “likes.” The “likes” don’t necessarily do anything but how many “likes” you have determines how much or little you should be respected. And this society claims to be democratic. “Likes” are given by individuals, so the more you have the more people must support you, right?

But this too is an illusion.

Being a scientifically minded alien, I post two possible book logos on various fantasy and sci fi Facebook groups and ask members to vote by saying if they like the one on the left or the one on the right. In every group there is always an enthusiast who pipes up quickly and gives their answer, either  “right” or “left.” The first time this happens the observer is infused with belief in democracy. Hey, it works. People even find common ground. The first person chose “right” and there followed a stream of agreement, “right,” “right,” “yes, right’s the best,” a dozen or more responses. The society run on “likes” works after all!

But then the alien looks at another group. There the first person to answer said “left” and the whole string of replies agreed that the left-hand choice was the better one. Out of six different groups, the responses were about even, but they always followed the leader, like little ducks… or lemmings. So much for the democracy of “likes.”

After many similar experiences, the outside observer must conclude that “likes” are far from democratic. What is popular is popular because of how people follow the leaders, not because of popular appeal or true support. I call it “the cult of popularity,” But given that the same phenomenon that works with Facebook “likes” works in international politics, I might as well call it “the cult of power.”

Political organization, social structures and economic entities all use the psychology of high school cliques. Those who are popular get there by being or appearing popular already. When a leader degrades another, crowds quickly turn to follow suit.

So, are humans just wired to ostracize – to pick sides, pick out and pick on? When will those who are bullied stand up together instead of fighting one another for a place at the “tolerated” table? Will bystanders ever wake up and say enough is enough? For as long as there have been poets and bards and storytellers by a fire, some of us have tackled the tough questions of our times with stories and fantasy.

That’s how contemporary dystopia was born. A writer takes the realities of today and turns them in the prism of imagination, changes a factor here or there, comes up with reasons for the events and norms of today or adds some “special physics” (generally meaning either magic, the paranormal, alternative history or some foreseeable twist of science).

You can, of course, do this by creating a world that sort of looks like today’s world and taking all the liberties you want, changing the names of countries, the social norms, the political systems and even the gravity of the planet. But this is essentially writing fantasy or science fiction based on a world that is just at a similar technological level to our own. It isn’t true “contemporary” fantasy or science fiction, let alone contemporary dystopia.

There are two forms of contemporary dystopia which I personally find most interesting. Those are either based on alternative history or alternative explanations/magic. If it’s neither of these it’s probably contemporary literature with a depressing outlook on society and neither science fiction nor fantasy related. (That can be good too but it’s beyond the scope of this post.)

Alternative history is the type of contemporary dystopia in which you ask “what if” questions about history. What if the Nazis had won WWII? What if Joan of Arc had not died? And then you extrapolate the consequences of this different history until today. Depending on the skill and historical/and sociopolitical knowledge of the author this can be fantastic. It can involve magic in history but usually doesn’t.

Dystopia by alternative explanation is less common and there are only really a few good examples. Alternative-explanation dystopia doesn’t change anything about widely known historical events. Instead it suggests underlying explanations for the current state of society based on fantasy, a conspiracy theory, magic or some other special physics. It generally requires a premise of secrecy or conspiracy of some kind. The world appears as it does today but there is something fishy going on under the surface.

Harry Potter is an example of alternative-explanation contemporary fantasy and it shares a lot with dystopia but isn’t usually categorized as such. It also uses humor and exaggeration of social norms rather than attempting to make the existence of the Wizarding Community literally plausible, which is a mark of adult versions of this genre. Still J. K. Rowling is an excellent pioneer in the field.

The trick with an alternative-explanation story is to keep the norms of the outside world near to reality, while making a hidden fantasy or science fiction premise utterly plausible. Done well, this is the kind of story that can give readers nightmares or make them think about the book all day and return to it compulsively.

This is my basis for calling a set of books “contemporary dystopian fantasy.” The Kyrennei Series falls into the second category—alternative-explanation dystopia and it is also broadly defined as urban fantasy because the alternative explanation involves magic.

Everything appears on the surface just as it does in today’s world, but behind the scenes things are darker than most people know. From high school cliques to international business, the social and political games of today are played for the purposes of a mind-control cult that usurps the wills of individuals, causing them to desire what the cult desires–unmitigated power and wealth for cult leaders.

12170371_906815179397001_1366684771_nI started Book One (The Soul and the Seed) a few years ago with that simple premise. I like “what if” stories, and I tutor both teenagers and adults in foreign language. When we talk, I often ask my students if they like popular culture. Almost everyone feels out of touch with what the media claims is most popular. And sometimes you see it happening. Online polls show Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic primary debate by a landslide, but those polls are deleted and headlines proclaiming the wild popularity of Hilary Clinton replace them.

This is the real world, and yes, there are real-world political and economic undercurrents to explain these things. But what if they explanations we are given were not true?

How many people really like the popular soft drinks, clothes, music and reality TV? Some do but many, and in my experience most, actually don’t. If media and clothing companies are truly motivated by the free desires of consumers, why would they force feed us things we don’t like and claim that they are popular?

At the heart of it, is the power cult called the Addin (at least in my dystopian fantasy). And from that all other things flow. But that’s only half the premise.

Here’s another question. Why are there legends about light, graceful people with pointed ears in widely separated cultures like Ireland and Vietnam? And while we’re at it, why are there many different subspecies of dogs or apes, but no other subspecies close to humans? Why are there no non-human races such as those in Tolkien’s Middle Earth but there are so many similar legends about them?

In my story the answer is that there were such people, and they were annihilated by the power cult. Even their memory was wiped from history.

Why? Because they were immune to mind control.

And now you’re off and running with a terrifying tale that is so close to your reality that you can taste it. No need to change the facts of history. Mix in a little speculative science fiction about dormant layers of genes recalling ancient interspecies ancestors (based on a real theory involving cancer cells) and you can even have the extinct non-human race reappear in today’s suburbia.

That’s the logic behind one contemporary dystopia. There are plenty of other ways to run with the ideas of this subgenre and many interesting (and wonderfully creepy) avenues to explore. Contemporary science fiction/fantasy is a very new genre and its depths have yet to be charted. And that’s why I love it.

Join the discussion. What’s your favorite contemporary science fiction or fantasy? Is there anything about today’s world that stands out as strange, unexplained or dystopian to you?

About Arie Farnam:

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Arie Farnam is a former war correspondent and urban documentary filmmaker turned fantasy and dystopia writer, living in Prague. She is the author of The Kyrennei Series, which presents a magical and frighteningly realistic alternative take on contemporary international affairs and social dynamics. She also writes about practical herb lore and things that arouse her passions at www.ariefarnam.com. When not setting keyboards on fire with speed typing, Farnam practices urban homesteading, chases her two awesome children and concocts herbal medicines. You can sign up to get one of her books for free at www.ariefarnam.com/signup and she can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/arieanna.farnam.