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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Review Preview

I'll be posting a review and author interview tomorrow discussing Cry of Justice by Jason Pratt. I thought I'd give you a taste of his work and personality before then, however, with this "Part 2 of his epic look-he's-not-a-stereotypical-fantasy-novelist-answers-to-questionnaire-exam!"

You can find the first part of the q-and-a at Cafe of Dreams. And the next part will be posted soon at the Amazon Fantasy forum (I'll supply that link when I receive it). Incidentally, all of these questions come from Parker and Stoddard's "Fantasy Novelist's Exam."


Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you've read the entire book, if even then?
On this I have to honestly answer: worse. Some things in the prologue (or preface rather) won’t be understood until the end of the whole series. (But the preface is only one page.)

Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?
Yep. I guess I fail, then, huh? {wry g} Thank God the authors didn't ask if it's the first in a

How about a quintet or a decalogue?
...sigh. It's an initial trilogy, but not of a quintet or decalogue. {failing to legalese my way around this 'fail'} {lopsided g}

Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book?
444 pages, and less than 154 K-words. Substantially smaller than most “epic fantasy” novels. (The sequel is smaller still, currently around 136 K-words, and not likely to get bigger in editing.)

Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you're still many sequels away from finishing your ‘story’?
Plenty happens in CoJ. No previous books. (Yet! {g} Prequels after the series, maybe later.)

Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books?
I said MAYBE LATER!!! (phew, glad I didn't look ahead or anything on that last question... {g}) Absolutely not until the series is done. (In fact I was requested and even advised by a friend to write a prequel before trying to publish CoJ, and I refused to do so. She had a good rationale, but I couldn’t figure out how to do so and then feasibly introduce the Preface Author later.)

Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group?

Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm?
Leaving open the debating possibility that this explains some of the mysterious things going on, I’ll answer, “not obviously so”. (Whatever inferences readers draw from this answer are theirs to make, from which I divorce myself from responsibility thereof... Ditto for this disclaimer.)

Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names?
I can’t even think of secondary or tertiary characters with apostrophes or dashes in their names. Portunista’s name is sometimes abbreviated by some characters in dialogue as ‘ista, but if that counts then I give up... {rolling eyes}

Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables?
Well, there you go! Can’t win for losing! {lol!} Two of the main villains for CoJ also have four syllable names (Praxiteles and Artabanus). A minor character who is never even shown onscreen has the four-syllable name "Lestestauros". Can’t think of any others, and in my defense those are realworld names as well. (I actually lopped _off_ a syllable from a realworld word for Portunista’s name!)

Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named ‘Tim Umber’ and ‘Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok’?
Heh, one of my favorite questions... No, there's no one in the novel like that; and I wouldn’t do that unless one or the other guy came from a different culture and/or social standing originally. (In which case he’d probably have a different popular name in his new setting.)

Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings?
Orcs sort of. (I think of them as the orc-analogues anyway, and I fully expect readers to do the same.)

How about ‘orken’ or ‘dwerrows’?
They're called the “Ungulata” (or more popularly “grunts” or “unks”). In Book 2 the older racial name is “Pecari”, with an important mystical meaning behind that at several levels. (None of which meanings have anything to do with ‘pecari’ being a realworld word for swine. As is ‘ungulat’ for that matter. {g})

Do you have a race prefixed by ‘half-‘?
The northern races are called “demimen” by the main southern race (which I guess counts in a way); but the Ungulata consider themselves to be the _real_ humans compared to those clay-hearted murderers and old killers down south!

At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines?
No dwarves, no mines. No shortcuts that I can think of offhand, either.

Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG?

Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG?
Nope; although I do sometimes name computer game characters after plot characters. (To give the most recent example, the character I just created for the Playstation 2 strategy game _Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII_is called Jian Smith. This is an in-joke from the series, by the way.)

Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast?
Nope! (Heck, in some ways I wish I was... {wry g})

Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls?
No inns in CoJ. (I mean in the story; there are inns in Mikon, duh.)

Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don't?
Actually, I’ve found it difficult to avoid feudalism tropes in the culture. There are good practical reasons why it was so popular throughout human history all over the world. {shrug} I haven’t dwelt on it yet much, and larger scale political issues don’t factor into CoJ anyway.

Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place?
The one journey in the book happens offscreen, and is briefly described in retrospect.

Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won't break the plot?

Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as ‘fireball’ or ‘lightning bolt’?
Heck, I have magi killing things with a spell that I would consider to be easily identified as Silence X-foot Radius! (Plus Magic Missile, Earth To Mud, and a few other D&D staples, including something I name straight out as a “fireball” if I recall correctly.) The fact that I just wrote that I have magi _killing_ things with a Silence spell (of all things), ought to assuage some worries though. (Several reviewers have praised me for my approach to magic use, actually.)

Do you ever use the term ‘mana’ in your novel?
No, but I do use the term “materia”, which probably counts just as badly.

Do you ever use the term "plate mail" in your novel?
Nope; but I did go back and do a search to make sure, because I couldn’t recall for sure that I hadn’t, to be honest. {g!} (For those who don't know why this question would be asked, "plate mail" is a contradictory term made popular by Dungeons and Dragons.)

Heaven help you, do you ever use the term "hit points" in your novel?
No, duh. (And if I did, I’d keep them in a cultural context similar to where realworld ‘hitpoints’ came from: European sport-fencing scoring, where duelists started off with so many points and had them deducted for every valid hit against them.)

Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs?
Yes, and this is given a minor mention in CoJ in passing.

Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest?
No, and no horses are on-screen in CoJ anyway. (Horses are relatively rare in Mikon.)

Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day?
I can’t think of a fight in CoJ that lasts (in novel time) much more than half an hour; though I have to admit that many of the surviving participants (including the troops who wore the heavy armor) do spend the rest of the morning and much of the afternoon afterward digging on a pile of rubble. (Not in armor, though; and they’re relieved at various intervals. In fact, one officer makes them go eat lunch so they won’t wear out and become useless.) Not sure how many of them made love afterward (one couple does, who by the way weren’t digging on the rubble pile), but it would have been later that night after resting and eating (including that couple).

Tiff here...Again, review and after-the-fact author interview coming tomorrow!


  1. Yay! {ggg!}

    Just a comment-tracking-comment post.

    (Plus thanks for hosting the article. I'll leave a link here for Part 3 when I send it up this weekend or early next week.)

  2. This is an excellent and unique interview. I just loved it. Jason's sense of humor really shines through with this one.


  3. The final third of the article is now live, here at the Amazon Fantasy Forum!



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