One of the first books that I reviewed for Fantasy Book Critic included a book out of Henry Neff's Tapestry series. Because of my level of nostalgia, this book holds a very special place in my fantasy reading. So when Fantasy Book Critic was asked to host a blog tour spot with Henry Neff I couldn't resist.
Henry Neff recently published the third book in the Tapestry series, The Fiend and the Forge and is currently working on the fourth book.
Without further ado, here is Henry Neff discussing what he writes best about, fantasy.
Photo Caption: Max McDaniels arrives in Blys, one of the four demonic kingdoms that have come to replace human cities.
What differentiates fantasy and science fiction from other genres is that its authors choose to create entire worlds. For many, I suspect that’s the core attraction - the opportunity to concoct a reality whose rules, institutions, or denizens diverge from our own. But while both create worlds, fantasy and science fiction writers often choose different tools for the job.
A number of fantasy authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, and Robert E. Howard construct worlds that are rooted in a forgotten period prior to recorded history or take place in some alternate reality. Whether it’s Middle Earth, Earthsea, or Hyboria, we recognize elements of the landscape and can often connect the dots from these mythic pasts to our own time and place. Others – J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, and Susan Cooper among them – splice their fantasy worlds into contemporary life. When one boards the Hogwarts Express or steals though the wardrobe, one enters a world where magic and fantasy predominate.
While many fantasy writers choose to operate in the past or present, science fiction writers often prefer to operate in the future. Authors such as Frank Herbert, Gene Roddenberry, and Orson Scott Card construct vast universes in which our world and Earthly antecedents are distant memories.
But what if Middle Earth existed not in our past, but in our future? That’s a fun dynamic to ponder and one I’ve chosen to explore in my own work. When creating The Tapestry, I’ve tried to combine the techniques employed by fantasy and science fiction writers and construct a fantasy future that’s rooted firmly in our own past and present.
The Tapestry’s very first book, The Hound of Rowan, begins on a Chicago train. The names, surroundings, and conventions are familiar to us as Max McDaniels is invited to attend a school of magic that’s been engaged in an ancient, secret war. While some readers initially thought I was simply creating an American version of Harry Potter, those with a bit of patience have seen the story venture into new and unexpected places. Throughout The Second Siege, the world we know is in turmoil – its major cities overrun by creatures while entire governments topple to enemies from without and within. During Max’s adventures in The Fiend and the Forge – few people even remember that those very cities and governments ever existed. Their environment has become one where myth and magic predominate…and humans no longer rule the roost.
As I embark upon The Tapestry’s fourth and final volume, I’ll continue to use techniques found in both fantasy and science fiction to reshape a world in which a fantasy future is built on our past and present. Doing so gives me the flexibility to introduce new countries, economies, and creatures while linking them to a world with which my reader is familiar. It’s a fun landscape in which to operate and all a writer can ask for.
For more information about Henry H. Neff and The Tapestry, please visit www.henryhneff.com