Sunday, 2 January 2011

This week's word is: EXPOSITION

Hello dragon fans. Happy New Year, from me, the author! I hope you enjoyed my ‘David Rain’ photo last week. Strange to think I had that much hair once. If you’re wondering where Zookie is, I’ve given him the weekend off. He was very keen to write a blog entry this week which pointed you to a sample chapter from FIRE WORLD. I’m sure you would have loved that, but we’ll keep it till next week when the book will be just four days old. Meanwhile, I thought I’d talk to you about the series in general. I told Zookie that a lot of you had been writing in asking about the ending of DARK FIRE and how it links up to FIRE WORLD, given that we’ve often said how ‘different’ FIRE WORLD is. He doesn’t like doing explanations because he follows his intuition faithfully and trusts that whatever we write together WILL make sense ultimately. But as ‘ultimately’ is going to come in 2012 with the publication of THE FIRE ASCENDING, I offered to set you off on the right path now. So he’s blown a smoke ring and fluttered away to peel a Satsuma and challenge Gruffen to a game of Peggle. He’ll be back next Sunday.

The dictionary definition of an ‘exposition’ is to give an explanation of something. In our case, this would be the plot lines of the books. At this stage, however, six books into the series, I would encourage all our readers to put aside the exposition of the individual stories and think of the saga as a whole. Basically, what Zookie and I have been trying to do over the past ten years is to examine where dragons might fit into the universe. We think of them as rather special creatures (Gretel assures me there’s no argument about this!) who are somehow linked not just to the possible creation of the universe, but the mechanisms of it as well. This, by definition, has to include time and the rather strange ‘stuff’ of space that scientists call ‘dark matter’. And then there is human consciousness, of course (Arthur, Liz’s partner, is fascinated by this). The fact that we are able to question our existence just drives our need to understand ourselves and where exactly we came from.  Many of you will say the world was created by God, and you have every right to believe that, though clearly some people dispute it.  Physicists (like Arthur) do a splendid job of trying to unravel the nuts and bolts of life, but there are still a great many answers that elude them. This is where we, the writers, step in. It’s our job to look at the biggest questions and tackle them from our unique point of view. We use our creative intuition to speculate about the mysteries of life and we often come up with some rather wild and entertaining fantasies.  For instance, if the world was created from a 'big bang', then we, the animals, the plants and the stars that inhabit our world all came out of a huge explosion.  A ball of fire.  Now, what's the one creature you've heard of that breathes fire?  Mmmm.  What writers do is take these ideas and juggle them around and say, "Hey, could this be right?"  Chances are, no. But it's interesting all the same to create a story from our intuitions.  Humans have done this since the time they learned to draw on the walls of caves.  Eventually, some of it will prove to be correct.

So, how does this relate to the books? Well, at the end of DARK FIRE, when the characters are under threat from the Shadow of Ix, David sees Gadzooks write ‘SOMETIMES’ on his pad and suggests to Zanna that they are about to be moved to another world. Well, that’s not strictly true. This was done to help you, the fans, make the transition into FIRE WORLD, which is set in the alternative world of Co:pern:ica. David and Zanna and Liz and Lucy and all the rest of them are there, but not quite as you’ve met them before. The common links between the worlds are David and Gadzooks. I won’t say any more than that because it would just spoil it for you. But what you have to try to do is expand your minds a little and wrap your heads around the idea that there might be other versions of us, living slightly different lives, at the same time – but elsewhere in the universe. This is one of those big mysteries some scientists like to think about.  It's a pretty hard concept for a Sunday afternoon in January, but don’t worry if you can’t get a hold of it.  I promise you, ALL WILL BE EXPLAINED in the last book. Just enjoy FIRE WORLD for what it is – a great story. You’re going to come across a new character called Agawin. Take note of him. He’s very, very important. In fact, don’t tell anyone, but he narrates THE FIRE ASCENDING

Oops. I think I’ve given you far too much information there. Gadzooks will probably scowl like fury when he reads it, but tough. If you're lucky enough to get FIRE WORLD on January 6th, write and tell us what you think of it. Happy reading as always. And, erm, hrrr!

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