Language and the Insect-Kinden

Language tends to get one of two treatments in fantasy – either it’s never looked at, everyone speaks English and it’s all fine, or Tolkien. Mr T being a professor of Anglo-Saxon, I think, he went to town on the languages in a big way. Indeed I believe I read that the languages came first, […]

Faculties of Literature

Literacy in Collegium is close to one hundred percent. Indeed, literacy across the Lowlands is extremely high. Collegium’s academic credentials have a lot to do with this. The College and the Assembly ensure that a basic education is available for all, and charitable institutions such as the Way Brothers provide schools in Helleron and other […]

Their Nourishmente

A number of people have been on at me with eminently sensible questions about everyday details of the lives of the kinden, and mostly of the “where does everything come from, if it’s insects all the way?” kind. Hence, whilst this entry won’t be the most fiercely enthralling for lovers of swordplay and the clashes […]

Flies and Prejudice

One of the reasons I’m so in awe of Gene Wolfe is the amount of very scholarly debate inspired by his work. Now, I’m not in his league when it comes to utterly, intricately baffling (1) writing, but hola, what’s this? Following the review at Eve’s Alexandria (an extended version of the earlier SFX magazine […]


Art by David Mumford The elegant and machiavellian Spider-kinden rule a vast coalition across the sea, where they live in luxury and riches un-dreamt of by Lowlanders, or at least their women rule, and their men do as they’re told. Spiders are their own worst enemies, however, and the great Aristoi families are constantly scheming […]

Sacrificed to the Insect God (1)

Religion and Belief amongst the Kinden   They have no gods. This is the first thing. To the certain knowledge of the Lowlanders there are no insect churchs, no spider-priestesses or weevil-popes. Oh, perhaps there are savage peoples at the very edge of civilisation, ekeing out a living in the harsh places that history has […]


  Art by David Mumford   The Wasp Empire is scarcely three generations old, born when the chieftain of one hill-tribe grew strong enough to force all his neighbours to bow the knee. The Wasps have flown from strength to strength since then, embracing new ways of war, conquering cities and enslaving entire kinden. Now, […]


  Art by David Mumford The great and insular Dragonfly Commonweal, the Lowlands’ northern neighbour, has been declining for centuries, unable to sustain order and peace across its many principalities. A state already tottering has been left in ruins after a twelve-year campaign by the Wasp Empire. With thousands dead in battle and thousands more […]

The Ants Go Marching…

Warfare amongst the Kinden changed irrevocably after the Apt revolution, and continues to change with each artificer’s refinements. In the Lowlands the main model for an army is that of the Ant-kinden, who hold themselves supreme in the field of mass combat ;(1). The other major Apt model is that of the Wasp Empire’s many […]

Meet the Neighbours Part 3 – Black and Gold

It might seem that the Beetle-kinden of the Lowlands are the only force for progress and Aptitude in the world, set against a tapestry of the ignorant and the superstitious: Moths, Dragonflies, Mantids and Spiders being dragged kicking and screaming into the world post-revolution. If only. The Lowlanders are not alone. Although the overthrow of […]