19 July, 2012

A Llathalan Annal: Empyreal Fate by Rachel Hunter




I am pleased to welcome Rachel Hunter, author of a new fantasy novel, Empyreal Fate, to Celticlady's Reviews for her blog tour...

“Determining Fantasy vs. Science Fiction”

Greetings!
It is a pleasure to be here indeed! And while I’m here, I wish to delve a bit into the main differences between the genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction. But before I begin, I thought I’d introduce myself and my fantasy novel, Empyreal Fate.
First of all, my name is Rachel Hunter, and I am currently attending the University of Oklahoma in order to pursue a degree in the health medical field. I am also an author and an avid reader, and my adoration for words sprouted when I was very young. As a child, I was fascinated with stories and their capability to seemingly transport me into new worlds. It was a source of inspiration and great comfort, and I aspire to bring the same powerful emotions I felt to others: to allow readers to drift into fantastical realms and truly be one with the surroundings. Thus, I am pleased to note that my first fantasy novel – Empyreal Fate – has been released through Hydra Publications:
Filled to the brim with forbidden love, an ancient evil, and a nation in disrepair, Empyreal Fate is a tale of riveting bravery and mortal corruption.
The land of Llathala lingers on the brink of war between men and elves, a dark history surrounding each race. Stirred by tensions of the land, a shadow of the past reemerges, taking precedence in reality and consuming the very soul of mans’ mortal weakness. Darrion, the son of a poor laborer, is ensnared in a hostile world, forced to choose between loyalty to his king or the counsel of the elves. Yet Fate has other plans in store, tying his course to Amarya, an elven royalblood of mysterious quality and unsurpassable beauty. But this forbidden connection incites betrayal from members of their own kin, marking them as traitors to the crown. In a land torn asunder, only Fate’s decree can allow such love to coexist with an ancient enmity.

Behold: A Llathalan Annal: Empyreal Fate – Part One.

Now on to our discussion: Determining Fantasy vs. Science Fiction:
Over the weekend, I pulled out an old computer game, titled, Might and Magic IX. The graphics are outdated, but the gameplay is one to be admired (and comes as a source of great nostalgia for me). For those of you unfamiliar with said game, Might and Magic is an RPG (role-playing game) from the makers at 3DO (a company no longer in existence... unfortunately). As a result, there have been few patches to take care of in-game 'issues', and I find myself seeking alternative routes to appease my craving for ‘fantasy gaming.’ But that is not what I have come to blog about! My point in even bringing up Might and Magic - or, indeed, any role-playing game in general - is to comment on the connection between RPGs and the fantasy/science fiction worlds. I find it interesting how many of the same themes or archetypes may be found in each: such as a main quest/story line, a hero, and a common villain. Granted, the details differ between works, but overall, the concept is almost interchangeable. As an author and gamer, I am curious as to how many writers of the fantasy/science fiction genre also take on RPG storylines - or note the similarities. For there are so many categories and subgenres; yet they all seem to intermingle in some way!


     Forgive me if I tend to roam a bit on the subject, but I also stopped to consider the role of women in such writing. For the first speculative novel (Science Fiction, in this case), was credited to Mary Shelley, whose work is the popular tale, Frankenstein. What is the difference between fantasy and sci-fi, you may ask? Well, here's how I determine the separation: Fantasy tends to deal more with the magical/fantastical elements of a particular world, in which the impossible takes place. There also seems to be a medieval underpinning with kings, peasants, knights, etc... It tends to dwell on what has happened in the past. Science fiction, on the other hand, deals with futuristic settings and with "rational" explanations - instances that do not involve magic, but instead define a world with technological or scientific reasonings. (As a basic comparison, I look at The Lord of the Rings versus Star Wars: a world of wizards and kings against a galaxy of saber swords and spacecraft).

To expand, with Fantasy, there seems to be more of a leniency toward “suspension of disbelief,” for in creating a new world with new creatures, the author is able to determine the boundaries and create the rules or laws that govern his or her universe. When I think of Science Fiction, however, I see a less flexible realm for such suspension. Even when creating a new world, the laws of gravity and physics still seem to be a crucial factor, and it would be difficult for the reader to accept conflicting elements of a world “just because” in such a case. Although I’m not a firm believer that Science Fiction must contain qualities defined by factual scientific bases, I do see it as possessing more reasonable – or “possible” - explanations, whereas Fantasy usually incorporates supernatural – or “mystical” – qualities.
In order to help paint a visual, I’ve put together a short list of some of the more popular titles in either category:
Fantasy: The Belgariad, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Runelords series, Sword of Shannara series, Wheel of Time series, etc…
Science Fiction: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Dragonriders of Pern, Dune, Enders Game, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc…


    I hope this brief summary helped clarify some of the main distinctions regarding the major differences between Fantasy and Science Fiction. There are, of course, many works that overlap the two genres, but these are some common “ground rules” for quick determination.


Empyreal Fate Excerpts


By Rachel Hunter
Book Blog Tour

 Drevan’s loins grew hot as he watched the sway of the woman’s body, and
he felt the urge to see her full – to gaze upon her womanly figure and marvel at her

sensitive places. It was not often he felt such appetence, and he relished it now,

taking pleasure in the maddened spur that gripped him.
            He wet his lips as she flicked her bronze hair to the side and stared at the
exposed flesh of her pale neck. He nearly swooned on the spot – the heat of his body
intense – and had to grasp hold of the trunk to keep straight. Then, from beneath a
tumbled lock, the woman’s pointed ear was revealed. Drevan caught his breath midthroat,
nearly choking. He bit his tongue as reality struck a blow. This woman – she
belonged to the elves!




-–Scene from Empyreal Fate - Part One of Rachel Hunter’s Llathalan Annal series.

 Darrion stared, dazed, into Amarya's face as she loomed above him, concern defining her frame. Lifting himself, he sat, uncertain how he had come to lie upon the ground. He did not remember falling; he had no recollection.
"You did well,” the elf congratulated, extending a slender hand.
Darrion rubbed his head, feeling a tenderness that had not been there before. "What happened?" he asked, taking her hand and rising.
            "I saw not of your mind, but from what I could figure, you gained entrance to the thoughts of a rambling oak. I know this to be true, for I could see your eyes swimming beneath the lids. Such does not occur unless a connection is made.” Amarya beamed, eyes sparkling with pride despite her pupil’s faint. With eager strides, she began smoothing the creases of his tunic. "You drifted too far, however – missing the mark. Your focus broke upon more than a single entity; your mind roamed in places it was not meant. As a result, your consciousness receded, and your celestial bond forged hollow spaces to compensate. Once that barrier snapped, the voices of many within the Illex, not merely the trees, poured through you. It was an overload of understanding – most mortals cannot handle such. But no need to fret; you’ve far surpassed the most capable of beginners. I am simply surprised you made contact at all."
            Darrion stepped back, feeling the lightness of his chest. With clouded thoughts, he speculated the feat he had barely attained. Few words could describe his awe - the confusion - that enveloped him. Dizziness clothed him as a tumbled reed.
Resting one palm against the bark of an oak, he listened - intent - as though searching for a beating heart against the trunk. Despite his wavering state, he was glad for Amarya’s tutelage. This feeling… it was almost surreal.
            "To my knowledge, never has a human discerned as much as you.” Amarya’s pale hand sought Darrion's shoulder, and he melted at her touch. "I'm uncertain what it means - for indeed, your ability comes as no coincidence… But the mortal mind proves oft unable to comprehend the spiritual realm. Not that it's impossible, but man forgets his possession. He knows not of the awareness beyond material senses. You, Darrion, are not like other men. You – you’re different." She shifted her jaw, examining him as if for answers.
"It’s true… I never knew the depths to which magic strayed," Darrion murmured, almost trembling from his ethereal venture. "I used to think it all frivolous tricks of the tongue."
"Not quite,” Amarya offered. "Those who perform incantations, as you suggest, are sorcerers - mere magicians who rely on handholds and false words to create masked illusions. In some cases – nigh, but rare - such illusions become reality. Regardless, the art lacks in form. Words are the derivation of mortals - a human contrivance, unnecessary for understanding. They are not real, as nature is real. Nay, words are but crude concepts – trivial in the matter of divine understanding. What is meant in one tongue may be opposite in another. How can a concept so unsure create something so pure? The answer is simple: it cannot.”
-–Scene from Empyreal Fate - Part One of Rachel Hunter’s Llathalan Annal series.

About The Book
Length Paperback: 264 Pages
Date Released: April 2012
Language:
Publisher: Hydra Publications
Book Blurb:
Filled to the brim with forbidden love, an ancient evil, and a nation in disrepair, Empyreal Fate is a tale of riveting bravery and mortal corruption.

The land of Llathala lingers on the brink of war between men and elves, a dark history surrounding each race. Stirred by tensions of the land, a shadow of the past reemerges, taking precedence in reality and consuming the very soul of mans’ mortal weakness. Darrion, the son of a poor laborer, is ensnared in a hostile world, forced to choose between loyalty to his king or the counsel of the elves. Yet Fate has other plans in store, tying his course to Amarya, an elven royalblood of mysterious quality and unsurpassable beauty. But this forbidden connection incites betrayal from members of their own kin, marking them as traitors to the crown. In a land torn asunder, only Fate’s decree can allow such love to coexist with an ancient enmity.
Behold: A Llathalan Annal: Empyreal Fate – Part One.

 
 
Author bio & links:
Born in 1993, Rachel Hunter has always been fascinated with words and the intricate way in which they combine. Since a child, she has been an avid writer, winding vibrant tales and elaborate stanzas on folded bits of paper.

As the years passed, her love of words never died; her adoration for reading fared no equal. Always with her nose in a book, Rachel took fondly to works spanning all genres. Yet it was the compelling grasp of fantasy and science fiction that wrenched her fascination above all.

In March of 2012, Rachel published her first short story with Trestle Press, titled, "Perfect Nothing", which recounted her harrowing relationship with an eating disorder and was also fueled by her passion for psychology. But her writing does not end there. While currently pursuing a degree in psychology and in the medical field at the University of Oklahoma, she aspires also to illuminate the creative spark of eager readers. In her desire to incite intrigue, she is simultaneously exploring new worlds and creating vast empires of her own. "Empyreal Fate" is only the first in her Llathalan Annal series. Indeed, it is only the beginning. 
 

2 comments:

Life Defined said...

Thank you for featuring me and my novel here today! I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be on your blog~

Truly,
Rachel

CelticLady said...

You are quite welcome!!

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