Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Global Climate Change in My Fiction

Or…The Dragon preps for Thursday’s blog action day

I don’t make big sweeping political statements in my fantasy fiction. My stories are meant to take you OUT of reality and off to some place more enjoyable where your worries are out of your mind. (I encourage you to check out the book descriptions of Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings on Amazon to see what I mean.)

In preparation for Oct. 15th’s Blog Action Day 2009 concerning Global Climate Change, in which I’ll be participating, I wanted to talk about one short story where I did include a wee bit of real-world worries. But, true to form, I put a fantasy twist on them. I decided to pretend the world’s global temperature had risen higher than scientists predicted and the ocean waters had engulfed more landmass than even our best conspiracy theorists and paranoid schizophrenics dreamt. I envisioned Florida and New Zealand completely under water. (Most of Hawaii and Japan as well, of course.) You get the picture.

What’s rather silly is I put this concept in what we editors refer to as an “info-dump” that the editor of Winter’s Night magazine rightfully deleted from the beginning of my story “A Legacy Protected.” Oops. So the sweeping generalization that we’re doomed got removed from my fiction even when I had finally included it. Funny. Probably saved me from myself. Richard Bray, Editor Extraordinaire, I bow.

So here’s the beginning/opening paragraphs to “A Legacy Protected” in all their backstory/info-dumping glory. I hope you enjoy their paranoid feel and pick up your copy of Winter’s Night magazine where the remainder of the story, sans global warming concept, is published.
A Legacy Protected (deleted graphs)
By Sandy Lender

His family’s money came from a boy’s idea at the beach. Jack Gantry the First had looked up at his nanny during a summer vacation and asked, “What’s going to happen to these buildings when the water rises?”

“What do you mean, dear?”

“When the water rises,” he gestured to the Atlantic Ocean creeping up the shoreline toward them, “all the buildings will be under it. Someone should move them.”

Jack’s exotic nanny bestowed on him the special smile that moms know how to bless their sons with. It was the kind of smile that inspires one little boy to become an astronaut while inspiring another to seek a cure for cancer. In young Jack’s case, the curve of her chocolate lips inspired him to figure out how much weight a pulley could hold.

“Tell me about that,” Nanny Lyddy encouraged him.

She started him thinking about booms and lifts and cranes until he came up with the idea that would revolutionize the beachfronts of the world—wherever they formed in the future. It took a decade after he’d graduated from a technical school to get the first prototype built, and another decade to get the scientists, developers, and media analysts all singing from the same sheet of music. When everything came together, his idea won him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Jack Gantry the First had stood on a stage in Oslo wishing he’d kept in touch with his nanny. He believed the teacher and protector who had fed the idea should’ve been in the audience to see him accept the award, and, when his great grandson John was old enough to appreciate the whole story, he told him so.

The odd twist in the Gantry story hit when something as simple as a co-ed threatening John with sexual harassment accusations, which could be neither proved nor disproved, put the family’s fortune in jeopardy in the early 2090s. The Gantries had weathered that storm with the help of a rising young legal aid who now served as the CEO’s administrative assistant.

John Gantry the Fourth stood in his overly metallic office contemplating his great grand-dad, the family fortune, and the eleventh hour savior on the afternoon before his wedding. He always thought it strange the way Ms. Tesker had given up a blossoming legal career to become, essentially, his secretary. Sure, Gantry Family Ltd. was huge and the position wasn’t one to sneeze at, but, still, there was a certain level of prestige in being a lawyer in New Tampa. What was the attraction to being a secretary, whether it was for the Gantry Family or not?

The buzzer on his phone let him know Ms. Tesker needed his attention.

He turned from the picture window overlooking the imaginary line above the Florida Shelf where the Atlantic Ocean met the Gulf of Mexico. What a lovely image he turned from. Inside his office, almost everything was sterile and gray recycled metal with monitors and panels and functional bits. Almost everything—he was young and brash enough to include a warm brown leather couch and a wood-paneled liquor cabinet. They stood out like neon signs of youth. They seemed to announce: “This CEO is too young to be in charge. He’s only 35. Feel free to take advantage of him and his company.” Staying on task, he pressed a green button that flashed at him from the glass top of his desk.
Again, if you’d like to read the rest of the story, without this history part, grab your inaugural edition of Winter’s Night magazine. There are 84 pages of excellently edited and well-written fantasy shorts waiting for you. And please visit here Thursday to comment on Blog Action Day 2009’s theme of Global Climate Change.
“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”
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