« Third Time's The Meme | Main | A Line I'd Forgotten »

On "The Book of Ant"

Today is the launch party for Twenty Epics, the latest anthology from All Star Stories. As part of the festivities, David has asked the authors to talk a little about their stories, so I thought I'd share a bit about mine, "The Book of Ant."

Eight or ten years ago I read an old interview of Michael Moorcock by Colin Greenland ("Six Days to Save the World," in Death is No Obstacle, Savoy: 1992). Moorcock, for the three of you still unaware, is the creator of Elric, an epic fantasy hero if there ever was one. In the interview, Moorcock mentioned that a lot of fantasy epics are written in a pseudo-King James style, leading off sentences with "And" and "But" to create a sense of urgency to carry the reader along. You know the sort:

And Shamus raised up his mighty blade Kidneysmiter, and the army of night crouched in fear. But the demon general Blacktusk snarled his snarliest snarl, and sprang, claws extended. And long did the two tussle.
Or something like that. In order to minimize the cringing that might occur, I wondered what might be an appropriate use of the style. A Biblical epic naturally came to mind.

Now epics, before fantasy writers got hold of the term, were often considered to be the story of a people. In some cases, the literal story, but more often than not it was a story that told something about a people. Once you read the epic, you knew a bit about what the people were like. Take the various Norse sagas, or the Thousand And One Nights. The best epics, to my mind, also had the gods or their minions involved in the action, as well as things like enchanted swords and magic carpets and other such items of power to aid the hero. So, with these things in mind, I set about creating a Biblical style epic on a small scale. Hopefully that should explain why I wrote it about ants.

Twenty Epics is now available through Amazon in paperback. Buy your copy today!