Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On Eastern Influence in Armageddon

This is the first article in a series that will focus on some of the concepts, influences, and philosophies that lie behind the fairly straightforward storyline in the first Armageddon novel, Armageddon - The Battle of Darkening Skies.

While I have a few of them, my one liner for when people ask me the question, "What the book about?" is: "Its like Lord of the Rings meets Kung Fu, with a LOT of dragons thrown in." There are several meanings even behind this simple statement, and I want to talk a little bit about them tonight.

In putting together the story, I wanted something that was as close as I could get to classic fantasy and its themes, while still instilling flavor that was varied and diverse. I personally don't believe in just "making up" the entire racial cast in a fantasy story; I don't think it was ever meant to be that way. Myth from the past should influence fantasy and be a clear definer of what fantasy is. This is the reason I cling to racial types like elves, dwarves, men, halfings, gnomes, fairies etc. They all existed in one form or another in mythology, and have all be well defined in the genre.

One of the things I did do though, was to bring in the influence of the east. In the series, we have The Knights of the Hawk, living in the prarie covered lands of Genova. The main character, Turim Gliderlance, the half-elf is a Knight of the Hawk himself, but we also have Meineken Shadowstar, a character Turim meets early on in the book.Meineken is a ninja Master of the Black Talon Ninja clan, and one of four such Masters who run the clan. We discover that the Black Talon Clan lives in one of the cities in the southern part of Genova -- right upon the southern shore in fact -- a city called Tusokan.

Tusokan has an interesting history itself, and that's brought out in the book as well, but essentially its people came from the "western" islands (which are actually more reflective of eastern asian islands) long ago. Everything about Tusokan reflects their culture -- a culture that's remained alive over the last several hundred years of them being there, and a culture that's even pushed its influence into the rest of Genova. Some of the Genovan's clothing styles are a bit influenced by the people of Tusokan including wide headware that's used while on the farms. Its even mentioned that several of the Knights of the Hawk use katana, traditionally a japanese sword, rather than a euro-style broadsword typically expected of knights.I wanted this to be present in the book in various aspects, because when it came time for THE battle (the one I'm sure you already know the name of) to take place, and the various other confrontations throughout the book to happen, there would already be something that made visualize the scenes playing out more like a king fu movie.

I've told myself on several occassions that if ever I was able to adapt this for the big screen (a dream I'm sure plenty of authors have), that I would have knights in armor performing martial arts moves, as well as the ninja. I've always loved the fast paced combat of Hong Kong Cinema and I really wanted to reflect that as best I could.I hope this has been an interesting insight into my influences for Armageddon - The Battle of Darkening Skies, and I hope you'll be interested in taking a look at a few pages at least on LOOK INSIDE! at Amazon.com.


Terry Tibke

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