Dragons vs Spaceships, Who’d Win In A Fight? GUEST POST by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Dragons vs Spaceships, Who’d Win In A Fight?
by Adrian Tchaikovsky
I am, of course, a fantasy fiction writer. Spaceships? Me? Perish the thought.
In fact, my first fantasy book in a while is out this year – City of Last Chances drops at the start of December and I’ve relished the chance to get back into that mode. But, for those who’ve been on the wild train I’ve been riding since 2007, I hit the shelves with a 10(!) book series, Shadows of the Apt, recently re-covered and reprinted, along with audio from the talented Ben Allen. But that was riding the wave of readers who’d come to me for Children of Time, a book notably concerned with spaceships, albeit covered in spiders.
(I’m assuming that, as a familiar of Fantasy Hive, you’re at least engaged in the discussion of fantasy and science-fiction and whether any of it means anything. A subject we constantly kick about with the same laser focus as quantum physicists arguing about the existence of fundamental particles.)
So, dragons vs spaceships, who’d win in a fight? And the answer is that if the dragons are sharp enough they build their own dragon-scale spaceships and then you’re in a whole other sub-corner of the sub-sub-genre… This is the point about genre divides. Like the particles, even though they absolutely matter, they simultaneously do and don’t exist.
Binary systems are generally bunk, and even a dragon/spaceship continuum doesn’t do the job. What there is, however, is a kind of topographical landscape. An ideas morphospace, where every possible idea involving those dragons and spaceships and all the rest can possibly exist. A political map of a thousand little polities, each with its own traditions and each with infinitely permeable borders so that, from out in the countryside, it’s just about impossible to know whose laws you’re supposed to be following. And that is the joy of it, for me. That is the Why in why I do what I do. Because, despite being a profoundly reluctant traveller in the actual world, given that morphospacic landscape, I will goddamn ramble where I want. Which means I can end up with something like Elder Race, which is simultaneously a hard SF book and an epic fantasy narrative. I can write Ogres and The Expert System’s Brother where the trappings of a fantasy narrative are stretched over a SFnal skeleton. And I can delve into the mythic landscape in Children of Memory, where a struggling exoplanetary colony is haunted by the ancient stories of the world its ancestors came from, old gods and fairy tale entities that just won’t quit the human imagination, and that grow to fill the curious spaces that the new world presents.
Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Lincolnshire before heading off to Reading to study psychology and zoology. For reasons unclear even to himself he subsequently ended up in law and has worked as a legal executive in both Reading and Leeds. He’s the author of the critically acclaimed Shadows of the Apt series, the Echoes of the Fall trilogy, The Doors of Eden, and the Final Architecture series. Children of Time was the winner of the 30th Anniversary Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Children of Memory the third instalment in the series is out NOW