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Monday, April 18, 2016
Realm Explorers Part XCVI: Visit Skorn with Sue Bridgwater and Alistair McGechie
Welcome to Realm Explorers! In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors. Enjoy your travels! And don’t forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book.
Author’s name: Sue Bridgwater with co-author Alistair McGechie
Title of book and/or series: The Skorn Series; Legends of Skorn, Perian’s Journey, Shadows of the trees.
Brief summary of the stories: Legends of Skorn is a short story reproducing the myths and origin-tales of the world of Skorn, as compiled by Aril, Scribe of Saracoma. It is published in Dreamless Roads, a collection edited by Jan Hawke.
Perian’s journey begins high on a mountain when he first sees a beautiful flower at the heart of a dark thorn. It is to be a journey beset with many perils and filled always with contrast, as the forces of good and evil in the outer world mirror the successes and failures of Perian’s own life. In the classic tradition of the great quest stories, Perian encounters a wizard, a dragon, and high adventure; and also the betrayal and love, sorrow and joy, of everyday life. Perian’s Journey is both an adventure story told in spare resonant prose, and an interior journey, as a boy grows to manhood and confronts his personal destiny.
Shadows of the Trees is a longer mythological novel set in the Second Age, that tells the story of Saranna and Drewin, two of the Goddess Iranor’s children, who live with their mother on the Isle of the West Wind, which lies outside of time. When Drewin makes two amulets, Iranor is incensed, and Saranna and Drewin are cast out into the world of passing years. They are separated at sea and follow different paths in pursuit of an understanding of their sin and acceptance of their mortality.
A third novel, The Dry Well, is now in preparation and follows the further adventures of Saranna.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Skorn was created by the great Goddess Ellanna as she drifted through the cosmos before Time began. It is a world of magic, wizards and adventure with wide deserts, forests and magical seas.
If we were to visit Skorn as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Do not miss the mighty trees of the Forest Lands, the great horses of Lassian, the songs and cheer of the East Isles in the north, or the heady joys of Sharn the Dissolute with its many taverns and inns.
What dangers should we avoid in Skorn?
Some evil forces still lurk in hidden places of Skorn – beware Kemara the Sorceress, Groddin the Guardian of the mountain gates, the fierce Priests of Sen-Mar. Avoid the deserts of IssKor.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Skorn?
I fear the magical fruits of Lavrum are all gone, but the wines of Mardara are renowned, and the fresh fish of both the East and West Isles is outstanding.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Skorn?
Sword, spear, bow and arrow, magic.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in Skorn?
Horse and donkey-back, horse-drawn vehicles, and long walks!
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Skorn that we don’t see on Earth?
Skorn bears a strong resemblance to earth except for its pantheon of Goddesses and Gods, and the people of the sea, the Leartendans.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Skorn? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
The magics of Skorn are subtle and delicate, emanating from Iranor and her children as well as from some of the primeval forces of the world. On the evil side, powers of binding, control and imprisonment; on the good, the sweet musics of the West Wind from Iranor’s isle that strengthens and sustains those in trouble. The wizards are learned in lore but are not supernatural beings – they serve the lady Siannor, daughter of Iranor.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Skorn.
In the east Isles in the long winters they hold Reylings, gatherings for song and story and dancing. Children all over Skorn sing and chant traditional sings and rhymes.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Skorn as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
See diagram below:
Is there a particular religion practiced in Skorn? Please describe what it involves.
Religious practice varies between countries; all the Goddesses and Gods are Children of Iranor and in most lands are seen as beneficent and caring. In IssKor the people were long under the harsh and punitive regime of the Priests of Jaren the Terrible.
What is the political or government structure in Skorn? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
This varies; there are kingdoms, theocracies, and loose associations of peoples in the different countries.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Skorn?
Not unique, but it is wise not to annoy deities, dragons or wizards! It is considered polite to say when entering a home, ‘Peace be on your house’ and when someone is leaving, ‘peace attend your path.’
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your books?
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your books?
Oppression and religious bigotry.
SUE BRIDGWATER was born in Plymouth in 1948 and after 20 years in Hackney, East London has now retired home to Devon. She has generally earned her living as a librarian, and has been writing seriously since the early 1980s. Sue read English at Bedford College, London, graduating in 1970. Her M. Phil. in Children’s Fantasy Fiction was done externally during her children’s pre-school years, and was awarded in 1984. She was a Tutor in Literature and Creative Writing from 1982-96 for the Workers’ Educational Association (London District) and the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies, University of London (now a part of Birkbeck College, University of London). Sue has completed a Birkbeck College Certificate in Creative Writing, September 2002-June 2004, developing fiction techniques and skills. Her main interest is in Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is currently working on the third novel in the Skorn sequence and on non-fiction in the field of Mythopoeic studies.
Alistair McGechie was born in 1946 and was brought up in Harrow in Middlesex. He has always liked numbers and he eventually ended up working in local government doing educational statistics. He is not actively involved in this area of work anymore, but retains an interest in educational matters. He has now retired to Letchworth in Hertfordshire.
His degree was in philosophy and he has always been interested in this approach to ideas. He continues to read and study this subject (which gives him a license to study anything). Sometimes, the philosophical questions are connected with the fantasy writing in interesting ways. It is not clear exactly what the connection is: you would have to read the stories to get some idea: it may be that the work of Ursula Le Guin has had more influence.
Alistair took up writing through the Workers’ Educational Association, where he met Sue Bridgwater, who encouraged him to write fantasy stories. They worked together on the first Skorn book, Perian’s Journey. This developed into the Skorn project and they ended up working together on that.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?
All the books listed in this post can be purchased in paperback or eFormat HERE
Where can readers connect with you online? HERE