Thursday, 20 September 2018

Dragonslayer by Matthew Lang

Why Fantasy?
I once said that I tend towards fantasy rather than Science Fiction because I felt it was easier to write magicbabble than technobabble. And while I stand by that statement, Science Fiction and Fantasy  or the broader umbrella term of Speculative Fiction is usually given a bad rap. It’s childish, we’re told. It’s escapist. It’s not dealing with the Real World™. It’s being overrun by women. That last one is hilarious, especially when it’s brought up in relation to Science Fiction given we largely owe the entire genre to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and to have sad miserable fanboys getting up in arms about their penises owning of a genre that was created by a woman is…well. The less said about them the better.

I don’t think I’ll ever know how much of the way mainstream culture writes off spec fic is due to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, where things like Dungeons and Dragons were seen as the tools of the devil. I remember finding those Dark Dungeons comic strips and seriously wondering why someone with access to an actual Charm Person spell and the lack of ethics to use it freely would use it for something as lame as buying more D&D supplements. I mean, I know they’re not cheap, but being able to magically convince people to hand over their life savings is…something I may have to keep for another book. Hmm… plot bunnies. But anyway, the moral panic and derision of everything spec fic is what I grew up with, and I guess that didn’t change until The Lord of the Rings hit the big screen.

You may find the following track instructive as to how that felt. Or not. Really, it’s Tripod, so your mileage may vary. I’m told their humour is very Aussie. I think that just means that they swear a lot more than Americans would think is appropriate.

The thing that I’ve never forgotten, or perhaps never got past, is the way that people use spec fic to explore their own lives. It’s not about escaping from reality, it’s about looking at reality without real world tribalism getting in the way. It’s Terry Pratchett’s Jingo looking at the them vs. us war narrative that seems more relevant every year. It’s 2001: A Space Odyssey’s cautionary interrogation of science and Artificial Intelligence. It’s how John Scalzi’s Redshirts questions the sacrifice of nameless characters in the name of ‘drama’ and challenges us to write better. 

I did a musical in highschool once. It was an original work that we took to the Edinburgh Fringe festival on human rights. And the writer, my philosophy teacher said that it was funny. The first part of the show had to be funny. We had to be funny. Because when people laugh, they let their guard down. They’re more receptive to what you have to say. And that’s when you can hit them with something they might not otherwise want to think about. I feel that good spec fic does the same thing. It gives you the amazing, the fantastical and then asks questions about race, gender, sexuality, power, and sacrifice, amongst other things. It asks questions and poses us with problems not too dissimilar to those we face today and asks us whether we’re navigating them in the best way. In the fairest way. And we accept the lessons it teaches because it’s in a land of dragons and princesses and swordfights and magic. People always ask if writing is an escape. If fantasy is escapism. I always laugh at that. Fantasy is the place where you confront your demons. And then you run them through with your +1 longsword and send them back to the abyss and live your life, better than who you were before.

At least, that’s what I believe. And I hope one day to write something worthy of those beliefs. Whether or not I’ve succeeded, well. You be the judge.


Thank you for reading this post. It’s the second stop of my Dragonslayer Blog Tour and it’s been one more about the process of writing than anything else. You can find me next on Nicki J Markus’ blog on the 25th of September (release day!), where I’ll be releasing a historical story from the world of Dragonslayer, not previously released to the public. I hope to see you there.


A Twitterlight Story
Kill the dragon, marry the princess, and rule the kingdom. It’s a fantasy come true… if you’re straight.
Adam is a chemistry student and martial artist, active in his local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism. But none of that prepares him to be the savior of a faraway land locked in perpetual dusk.
In a world of shape-shifters, necromancy, and religious politics, Adam is fated to slay the golden dragon, Khalivibra, and defeat its mind-controlling sorcery to help Princess Esmeralda of Aergon retake her city. Tradition dictates he’ll rule by her side—but Adam is much more interested in Duin, a warrior who changes to beast form in the light of the sun… or fire.
Adam hopes he and Duin might end up together when their ordeal ends. But first, the reluctant hero, the spell-casting heir to the throne, the beast-shifting object of Adam’s desire, a six-legged cave lizard, and any allies they can gather must do the impossible… and live to celebrate their victory.

Photo by Pumpkinmook
Matthew Lang likes being on the run. Sometimes for health, but more often to see another country or culture. Preferably in person, but more frequently in his mind’s eye through the written word. Matthew likes his men hot and spunky, his focaccia more Italian than British, and his vampires to combust when exposed to sunlight. His nurses say that rumours of him escaping his straightjacket are absolute nonsense and he definitely hasn’t been let loose amongst the population of Melbourne, Australia, no matter what the internet says.
Connect with Matthew: Twitter | Facebook Website

Follow the Tour!
18th September           MM Good Book Reviews - The Origin of Stories
20th September           Sue Brown Stories - Why Fantasy?
25th September           Nicki J Markus - The Offering
26th September           Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words - Catch up with Matthew Lang
27th September           Love Bytes - How to Cook Tarantula in 7 easy steps
28th September           My Fiction Nook - The Winged Traveller Guide to Aer Goragon
1st October                  DSP Blog - Do Haerunwoln Have Pouches?


  1. Thank you for sharing. I can understand why you picked fantasy over sci-fi. If I was a writer I would probably do the same since with sci-fi I would be too scared about not getting the right wording, physic etc down.

    1. You're welcome Himi B., I'm glad you enjoyed the post! The way I approach SciFi, I struggle with finding the point where I say "Science fact up to here, and beyond this I make stuff up". I suppose I'd lean towards science fantasy anyway, so why fight it? It means I get to have dragons :D