Virtual Fantasy Con – Blog Hop Hunt

Hi, I’m Susan Stuckey author of various fantastical tales and I’m your host for this stop in the Hunt.

If you would like to find out more about the Hunt, please click here.

Somewhere on this page is a hidden number. Collect all the numbers from all the authors’ posts, and then add them up. Once you’ve added all the numbers, and if I am your last author, please head to the official website and click on the ENTER HERE page to find the entry form. Only entries will the correct number will qualify to win.

The author I’m pleased to be hosting for Virtual FantasyCon’s Blog Hop Hunt today is Brian Burt, author of Aquarius Rising.

BlogHopHunt_Photos_3I’ve always loved reading (and now writing) speculative fiction, which includes science fiction, fantasy, dark fantasy verging on classic horror, and all the shadings in between. There are many reasons, but the chance to explore (as a reader) or build (as a writer) completely alien worlds is at the top of the list. All fiction writers are world-builders in some sense; even if their fictional universe is almost indistinguishable on the surface from the one we inhabit in our daily lives, there are subtle differences for readers who delve deeper. In the realm of speculative fiction, those differences are often obvious. In fact, they’re striking, mind-boggling, forcing readers to re-examine fundamental assumptions and push their imaginations to the limit. That’s the beauty, the challenge, the thrill that lies at the heart of the shared adventure between readers and writers of speculative fiction: it transforms spec-fic into “special fiction!”

When I first worked up the nerve to try my hand at a full-length novel, I was daunted by the whole idea. I’d written and published quite a few short stories, but a novel is a different beast entirely. What inspired me, what kept me going when it felt like an impossible climb up the side of a sheer, massive cliff, was the chance to play god inside my own twisted skull — to create a universe I could call my own, with characters I cared about whose fates (at least to some extent) were under my control. What a wicked buzz that is!

That led me into an imaginary world right here on planet Earth for my Aquarius RisingBlogHopHunt_Photos_2 trilogy and its first installment, In the Tears of God. Most science fiction explores alien landscapes on planets far across the boundless void of space, revolving around distant stars many light years from us. Aquarius Rising drew me inward instead of outward, to the uncharted depths of our own oceans. The series protagonist is an Aquarian: one of the human-dolphin hybrids living beneath the waves after global warming, and a disastrous attempt to reverse it, winds up drowning coastal human cities. 28 Aquarians have built their thriving reef-cities amid the ruins of those submerged coastal towns. Building Aquarius on the grave of human civilization — picturing these strange hybrid humanoids diving through the wreckage of coral-crusted buildings long ago swallowed by the sea — really drew me in as a writer and kept me motivated as the trilogy unfolded. There were other weird hybrid species I encountered on this future Earth. Mole-like Talpidians dug their labyrinthine burrow networks beneath the crust of the barren, sun-scorched land; reptilian Saurians roamed the ruined inland cities like cannibalistic berserkers. Smart-sharks prowled the ocean shallows, savaging Aquarian communities without mercy. Different human factions still clung to the margins of both land and sea, trying to protect the subspecies their ancestors had bioengineered or to redeem the tragic mistake that had rendered the continents barely habitable. Every weird, hostile ecological niche of this ravaged future Earth provided another chance to put flesh and blood on the bones of imagination.

BlogHopHunt_PhotosBook Two of the trilogy, Blood Tide, was released last year and traced the obsession of one tormented Aquarian to exact revenge on the humans above the waves whom he blames for the brutal massacre of his reef-city, his wife, and his daughter in the wake of the Medusa Plague. This second installment took me into new nooks and crannies of the future Earth created in Book 1, where more bizarre mutant creatures, and other tribes of hybrid humanoids, lurked, waiting to be discovered. Book Three, The Price of Eden, is now in the hands of beta-readers and will conclude the trilogy when it’s released next year.

It’s been a blast exploring this imaginary future Earth, peeling back the onion to see what wondrous surprises are hiding between the layers. Researching the oceans, and the real-life mysteries concealed in the depths that cover most of our planet, made the adventure feel even more compelling. Speculative fiction doesn’t have a monopoly on world-building… but I do believe we do it better, with more exotic, boundary-shattering creativity, than any other genre. Come celebrate that miracle of shared imagination with us!

Did you find the number? If you did, then click Brian Burt’s link – to continue Virtual FantasyCon’s Blog Hop Hunt.