Meet the Neighbours part 2: The Spiderlands

The Spiderlands’ relationship to its Lowlander neighbours has always been a complicated one. For a start, few Lowlanders really understand either the extent of the Spiderlands or how it works. To the Lowlanders, the Spiderlands is exemplified in the cities of Seldies, Everis and, further south, Siennis, that sit at the south-east corner of the […]

Meet the Neighbours part 1 – the Commonweal

So we have the Lowlands, not a political unity but a geographical area containing four feuding Ant city-states and a couple of Beetle cities, not to mention the detritus left over from the Days of Lore, Moth-kinden and Mantis-kinden clinging on in forests and on mountaintops.   The Lowlands is sandwiched between two traditional neighbours, […]

Cradle of Civilisation

The dominion of the Moth-kinden before the revolution was mostly referred to by its masters as “ours”, but by the other old Inapt powers as the Shadowlands or the Darklands after the Moths’ nocturnal habits. After their fall, and the rise of the Beetle and Ant-kinden free city-states, the term “the Lowlands” began to be […]

Hammer and Sickle

Some more Empire backstory The slaves found their voice. This was five hundred and thirty-seven years before the main action in Empire (1), and we know this because the main action in Empire takes place in the year 537. The slaves had never had a calendar, while they lived under the boot of their masters. […]

Dark Days

All this was prehistory. The unspoken pact with the monster insects that ensured humanity’s survival, and the subsequent development of the Art, is all lost to the mists of time. Not even the longest memories, not even the most complete records, bear witness. What is certain is that, having chosen a side, mankind collaborated in […]

The Art of the Matter

When is magic not magic? (1)   Returning to the book….   The ancient peoples that were to become the insect-kinden(2) had bartered their souls to the arthropods, but in exchange, they gained power. The link they forged to the races of the insect-kinds opened a door to a larger world in which the human […]

Rise of the Insect Tribes

As I was saying (1), in the mists of prehistory there arose the monster insects. This precipitated something of a mass extinction amongst the vertebrates. Once you’ve unlocked the shackles of the square-cube rule (2) you’re likely to find that, especially as the bigger insects get commensurably brighter (3). So: whither our poor stone-age humanity? […]

In the mists of prehistory there arose the monster insects…

…should have been the first line of the book. It isn’t. If I’d started in the midst of prehistory I’d never have got where I wanted to go. Fantasy stories are prone to have a past. Tolkien started it (1). Indeed, the Tolkien mould is very much the standard fantasy fare even now. The Tolkien […]