– You’ve previously described The Aspect-Emperor series as ending in a ‘Gordian Knot’ of plots. At which point do you think the reader will have all the pieces to elucidate the problem, let alone the answer?
Plot closure, yes. Thematic closure, not so much. The problem of the books—the problem of ourselves—has no solution, of course. All the things that make fantasy fiction fantastic—the magic, the spirits, the gods, the objective morality, the fate—also happen to be staples of Scripture, be it Christian or ancient Greek or Hindu or what have you. Fantasy celebrates and critiques our most natural way of conceiving the world, a way that has been and continues to be undermined by the findings and proceeds of science. The way I see it, fantastic literature is the dirge of our civilization, a final retelling of our most ancient and primordial songs. The song ends when our voices fall silent. No one knows what follows the song. We can only hope that we’re somehow stronger for the singing.
This is what the best storytelling does, I think: arms us against what we cannot understand. Given my themes, ending any other way would be a betrayal.
Just a snippet from my latest interview on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist…
Also Grimdark Magazine is hosting its own Advance Reading Copy giveaway of The Great Ordeal. To enter, simply name your favourite character in the series and explain why–there’s already several pages of fascinating explanations. My favourite character overall has to be the Great Ordeal itself, simply because it embodies all the contradictions of aspiration and appetite on the scale of epic endeavour. It also has the least dialogue. Nothing worse than a prolix holy war.