How to Invent a Religion: Part 4

A Day in the Life Theology describes what, in theory, believers of a religion ought to believe, for a given value of ought. In practice, however, members of all religions live lives at variance with what they claim to profess, from the evident truth that few people live up to their religious ideals and others…

How to Invent a Religion: Part 2

Eschatological Escapades Eschatology is the theology of endings, the counterpart to ætiology. Eschatologies are as varied as ætiologies, and just as important for shaping religious practice. Norse mythology's final battle at Ragnarök, the Buddhist prophecy of Maitreya revealing to a once-more-benighted world the concept of dharma, the theme of a time of judgement shared by…

How to Invent a Religion: Part 1

Edifying Ætiologies An ætiology is a beginning of something expressed in historical or mythological terms, and therefore a highly appropriate concept with which to begin this short series. Last week I spotted a tweet which drove home to me the inherent problems with discussing religion in fiction. In the West, our experience of life is…

Writing Fantasy-hammer

Spoilers (maybe?) for the Warhammer Fantasy Battle franchise. The biggest fantasy here is that a sword will be of any use against a three-foot tall creature from the back of a fifteen-foot tall mount. Nottingham is famous for three things: Robin Hood, knife crime, and the headquarters of a cynical corporation preying upon the pliable…

Writing Realms

'Now where did I leave my realms?' Forgotten Realms is a long-running fantasy setting originally conceived by Ed Greenwood for the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game, and is possibly the most well-known setting for the game: although other settings, such as Greyhawk and Dragonlance, predate Forgotten Realms, the books of authors such as R.…

Writing Ice and Fire

Spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire (book series) and Game of Thrones (television series). George R. R. Martin's acclaimed fantasy series, which has reinvigorated the fantasy genre and made it even somewhat acceptable to people who might have sneered at it in years past, is a natural place to start a series on thinking…