The Geomancer


Sean Williams: On Wings of Metal and Feathers

Rob H. Bedford has interviewed Sean Williams over on SFFWorld. The interview covers Sean's two related fantasy series, the Books of the Cataclysm and the Books of the Change, as well as his Star Wars novels, and his space opera - the books written with Shane Dix and his upcoming solo effort Saturn Returns. In other words, it's quite a broad interview.

On the differences in writing science fiction vs. fantasy, Sean says:

"I do find that writing SF and fantasy can be very different on both a nuts-and-bolts level and in terms of other fundamental perspectives. Fantasy is more overtly about character and landscape, while good SF self-consciously uses science and the scientific method to take us places on wings made of metal, not feathers. There are crossovers, of course: the Star Wars novels felt like fantasy half the time, and I was more strict with The Crooked Letter's worldbuilding than I am with some of my SF. I like both approaches to speculative fiction. It keeps me fresh. "

On blowing up the world:

"I wanted to show how the world we live in, which we tend to take for granted and assume will be around forever, is just one part of a long history of change and cataclysm. In this view of the world, many other people have made the same assumptions we make only to have the rug violently pulled out from under them. There are no guarantees, except for there being no guarantees, so the Books of the Change and the Books of the Cataclysm are stories about the philosophy underpinning the world, as well as what goes on inside it. I think that sets them apart from a lot of other fantasy novels, which are often about maintaining or returning a proper order, and while I'd never say that this makes my books better for that reason, I do think I'm tapping into a readership that sometimes prefers stories a little different from normal."

Elsewhere on SFFWorld, Rob reviews the second Book of the Cataclysm, the Blood Debt:

" I don’t know that subverting is exactly the right word for what Williams does, but the way he plays with the clich├ęs, his creativity and his storytelling ability make The Blood Debt a uniquely satisfying work. In a sense, this a more straightforward novel than was The Crooked Letter, but this makes The Blood Debt all the more entertaining and fun to play along as Williams throws predictability to the wind. Throughout the characters’ travels across the landscape and their encounters with creatures such as the man-kin, who resemble zombies; the Stone Mages and Sky Wardens, who both feel like the archetypical mages/councilors; and the Homunculus itself, the created man, Williams provides readers with seemingly familiar elements, that come across as both fresh and natural aspects of his inspired imagination. Not only do these, and all the elements of the story, feel natural, but there is also a sense of interconnectivity between everything in this world. Nothing is without reason.... Between the characters, the strange creatures, and the landscape, Sean Williams gives readers something fresh and mildly familiar in Epic Fantasy with his Books of the Cataclysm."


  1. Anonymous3:19 PM

    Has the fourth book ever been published? I have been looking but cannot find.

  2. Sadly, it has not. There is some talk that Sean may make it available as an ebook.