The Future’s Twilight That Never Was

The first book Smoke & Mirrors took place on a medieval-era planet. I intended the second book Future’s Twilight to be about a dystopian future, but the story grew into a Star Trek-like formula (visiting planets themed after genres like Westerns & police procedurals). I’ve given thought into shoehorning a book all about the future, but that brings its own questions: can science fiction be science fiction when it’s telling a story about a realm the complete opposite of science fiction? What do you think?

khatar

In Sefiros Eishi, protagonist Mykel’s weapon of choice is twin khatars. Its inspiration came from the katar, a weapon of ancient Indian origin. On this side of the world, people know it as the weapons wielded by Voldo, a character in the Soul Edge series of fighting video games.

At first glance, these weapons look nothing more than a big knife mounted on some primitive arm brace. But the most famous variation of the katar is the weapon where the main blade splits into three blades a la the claws of Marvel’s Wolverine. Very cool.

katar-ii

This is a picture of actual katars.

voldo-sc2fix

This is a picture of the aforementioned Voldo of the Soul Edge series, wielding a set of the triple-bladed katar.

The katar is a punching and stabbing weapon, but its uses go far beyond that. The triple-bladed katars excelled in catching and deflecting other weapons. Ancient Indian warriors were armed with katars with both hands, making Indians proficient dual-wielding opponents. That meant they could use one katar to defend and one to attack. They were never out of combat options on the battlefield. The katar is one of the reasons that made Indians the deadliest warriors of their era.

Now I have a little confession to make. Mykel’s primary khatar Ifirit is not actually a katar at all. It is more of a bladed gauntlet. When I wrote Mykel’s combat scenes, I always pictured the gauntlet-fingers compressed together, forming a knife-blade of sorts. That way Ifirit is both a glove and blade at any one time. It may be skirting the definition of the katar weapon, but in my book, the khatar and the katar are distant cousins.

I don’t know why the katar appeals to me. I just fell in love with the design on Soul Edge. The early pics of the Sefiros character had Wolverine’s claws mounted on both hands. But all that changed when I was given a sketch of Sefiros’ ultimate armor (think of the Super Saiyan transformations in Dragon Ball Z) by my good friend Matt Perlot (who also designed Sefiros Eishi: Chased By Flame’s cover) that everything changed. I fell in love all over again. This Ifirit was sinister and powerful and deadly. It molded onto the character’s arm in an intimate and organic way. It was open, naked aggression, and when it came out you knew there was going to be hell to pay. No one had a chance against this weapon.

Thanks for reading.

Re-Definition

I’ve been thinking a lot of what Sefiros Eishi is, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I haven’t been specific about the story’s essential definition.

I started years ago when I first saw Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. The transforming heroes just seemed cool to me, so I definitely wanted masked superheroes. But I also knew that I wanted to portray the morphing part as seriously as possible. I wanted to bring that part of Power Rangers to an adult audience. In order to do that, I had to slowly expose the morphing element slowly. That exposure came in the form of the Lynx villains and the Sutyr character.

But I had another problem. I didn’t want a fairy-tale fantasy. I wanted a medieval realm grounded in realism. I’m not George R.R. Martin (whose historical accuracy of medieval-era realms resulted in the Game of Thrones series), but reading him and others like him (Robert Jordan) inspired me to write my fantasy as real as possible. There are no dragons. There are thieves and warriors and lovers; pirates and queens and prostitutes, anything I could think of to make the characters grounded. I think I’ve done a good balancing act. Hopefully readers will see that.

 

Good News

I just signed up for a book event at a Barnes & Noble in Coral Springs from 2-4 PM. The address is at 2790 University Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33065. If you could come (most likely book signing) or meet the author of Sefiros Eishi: Chased By Flame (I will be there), I would appreciate it.

Also, I finally got the Barnes and Noble at 333 North Congress Ave (Boynton Beach) to host two copies of Sefiros Eishi on their shelves in approximately two weeks. I know it’s a small number, but if they sell it will be an open door for more copies to be hosted.

Lazarus

The man named Lazarus is a war veteran-turned-librarian who spends his days collecting and distributing books.

But come on. Chased By Flame is fantasy. Nothing is what it seems.

Lazarus is a composite character in that his creation was inspired by multiple people. The first influence was my great-uncle Ralph Bergamo. He’s a tough, no-nonsense person with a dry sense of sarcasm (who also doesn’t take any crap from anyone). He’s also a top level black belt that has no problem crushing concrete with a karate chop. Once he commits to something, there’s no stopping him.

The second influence is the fictional character Auron from the Final Fantasy X video game. Auron is the quiet warrior archetype, filling in the mentor role for newer heroes like Tidus or Wakka. He doesn’t speak much and he never says more than necessary. He’s calm to a maddening degree, and his dedication towards protecting the summoner (a powerful sorceress whose job is to rid the land of the parasitic entity Sin) is steadfast even when that duty conflicts with the world’s other officials (clergy) and their agendas.

So Ralph Bergamo and Auron. One real, one not. Lazarus gets his toughness and sarcasm from Ralph and his maddening sense of tranquility from Auron. He’s a fun character to write about and I look forward to frustrating my readers with his tales. Thanks for reading.