Article based on panel discussion at Darkovercon 34
|I recently attended Darkovercon 34, a small convention held in Maryland, which has its origins in fandom based on Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover Universe. The con is quite small, only about four hundred fifty people. This year the guests of honors were authors Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman.
If there is no price for using magic the panelists felt stories lack the kind of challenges and conflict that makes for a good yarn. Depending on the source of magic: ambient energy, energy drawn from one’s own reserves, or following the “currents” flow (e.g. ley lines) and being in the right place at the height of the flow (mentioned by Katherine Kurtz), the price of magic can be as different as night and day.
One other thing I enjoyed about the discussion is that all the authors seemed to look at past traditions for the inspiration for their own magical systems. Thinking in those terms offers a sense of historical realism to stories ranging from settings medieval to urban, even steampunk, and beyond.
I’ve got to admit, "what price the magic" opens possibilities… So, if you are as interested as I am in not just enjoying reading fantasy, but writing it – have you thought about what price the magic in your stories should take?
About the author
Highmage has serialized his science fiction/fantasy novel Highmage’s Plight on Writing.com. It has appeared in the ezine Separate Worlds (www.separateworlds.com) in its entirety. He is currently serializing another novel in the series, Human Mage, which will be completed by summer 2012. To learn more, visit his website: www.dhr2believe.net. The author lives in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. He can be reached at dhr2believe at writing dot com.