With our first anniversary quickly approaching, THE DARK SIRE would like to commend the fantasy authors who we have published over the year. Fantasy is not an easy genre in which to write. You know the old adage: If it were easy then everyone would be doing it. It takes skill, perseverance, and a willingness to take the time to create not just a storyline for your characters but also a world in which characters must perform. That world can be as far out as the imagination will take it, but it must adhere to its own set of immutable rules.
In Shroud of Darkness by Gregory J. Glanz (Issue 3), the author takes readers into a world much like J.R.R. Tolkien. His protagonist is a half-breed Orc/human who lives in caves ruled by a sadistic Orc chieftain. Glanz creates a world by immersing the reader's senses into a realm in which they would never venture on their own. “The myriad smells of shit, blood, tears, urine, sweat and other hints of olfactory disgust that he could only guess at, nudged at this flat nose and narrow nostrils, mere aromatic wraiths of their real strength in his half-breed nose...” Glanz not only creates as sense of place, he makes the reader experience it with all five senses.
In The Heart of Living Flame (Issue 4), author Anthony Santiago skillfully blends fantasy with noir as he introduces his readers to a realm that exists with more than just a little touch of magic. His world is not real, yet we recognize it immediately as a mirror of our own. “The man who exited the squat concrete building moments later looked like no one in particular. Dressed as he was in drab olive khaki, it would have been tough to guess that the unassuming person and the hero known as Phoenix were one in the same...” Only moments before, we had experienced his grandiose flaming entrance into the kind of park that most of us have seen at one time or another. This is truly a hero story that takes a turn from the norm, and then twists expectation into non-existence.
Gregory J. Glanz returned to our pages with his story, Descent into Darkness (Issue 4), a continuation of the adventures of Wank, the half-human/half-orc creature he introduced us to in Shroud of Darkness (Issue 3). Although dealing with a dark underworld, both stories represent the epitome of the kind of High Fantasy that TDS seeks to publish. Mr. Glanz has created a fictional setting that is totally independent of the real world. His dark, underground world is extensively detailed with extravagant characters. A cavern may be shaped like an arrowhead; the underworld moss torches burn blue; reflections of light and shadow flicker from some unknown power. It's a story that impacts the reader long after the ride stops, keeping everyone hungry for more.
Over the past year, THE DARK SIRE has sought out fantasy stories that embody magic systems that are completely unique and imaginative. Those that draw you in with their well-developed settings filled with unparalleled depth and detail of sights, sounds and even smells, engaging the five senses. The kind that have characters who most of us can identify with, encouraging our empathy with the hero or heroine in their struggle on their quest.
In the coming year, THE DARK SIRE is committed to bringing our readers more of these engaging stories. We want to take our readers on the magic carpet ride of excellence with the kinds of stories that they can’t get enough of, stories filled with intricate, complex worlds. The next issue of TDS will be available on October 31st. Feel the anticipation and get ready to escape reality.
Subscribe to THE DARK SIRE literary lagazine for the best in fiction, poetry, and art.