• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



When Horror Meets Fantasy

   I was recently asked to be a guest speaker at a Hobart film festival themed around women in horror: Stranger With My Face.
I identify so strongly as a fantasy writer that I’m always surprised when I get included in discussions of the overlapping genres (like my utter astonishment the first time I was nominated for a short story award in a science fiction category).

But once I thought about it, and peeled some of my preconceptions away, I started thinking that yes, I am actually a horror writer (as well as a fantasy writer and a novel writer and a feminist writer, and so on).  It’s hard to argue with when I look at the Creature Court trilogy, which is full of blood and dark magic, obsession and addiction, cruelty and death, along with the aspects I’m better known for – like banter, frocks and steamy sex scenes.

Come to that, most fantasy does have elements of horror in it.  Lord of the Rings is not only rife with monsters and violence, but it also features one of the most iconic Dread Objects of genre fiction – the ring that destroys the souls of those who hold it.  Fritz Leiber, one of my own heroes for his funny and clever Lankhmar series, also put Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser through some deep psychological traumas and was a master at balancing the sinister with the amusing.

Urban fantasy is particularly related to horror – in fact, you could argue that the works of Laurell K Hamilton, Charlaine Harris et al. are closer in many ways to the traditions of horror than to fantasy, certainly in the way that vampires, werewolves and other Horror Movie Icons have been swept into the mainstream.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer might have served to popularise the idea of a girl hero fighting the darkness, but while that show epitomises the urban fantasy genre, it was created very much in conversation with horror movie tropes.

So what is your favourite fictional collision between horror and fantasy?

Fallon Friday: Transport … think *real* hard about it …

When you are building a world, your people need to get around it, unless all the action takes place in one room (in which case you have a whole different set of problems I’m not going to tackle here).

So, before you have you hero haring off to save the damsel in distress (or the damsel haring off to save the hero) think about your methods of transport and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are the main types of transport on my world?
  2. Who controls it? (ie does every man own a horse or do they all use the monorail?)
  3. Are modes of transport similar across the planet? (Which might give rise to the disturbing spectacle of reindeer in the tropics.)
  4. Is the transport appropriate to the technology, power, and infrastructure?
  5. Does everyone have access to the same transport? (Think about how many people on Earth can afford to fly or even own a car. Think about the consequences to trade, growth and pollution, and perception of inequitable distribution of wealth.)
  6. How does transport impact the world in terms of society?
  7. How would the disruption of transport impact my world? (There’s a reason the first thing they do in wars in bomb bridges, you know…)

And remember… there is a time factor involved in the type of transport you use on your world. Decide fairly early on in your story how your people are going to get around. And then stick to it. A city that is 90 miles away isn’t going to be taken by an advancing army by surprise if they’re on horseback. They might if you have aircraft and high technology, but if your heroes are on foot, your damsel is going to be in distress for days before she’s rescued…