Plot and worldbuilding. What is one without the other?Read More
Robert H. Langan presents his debut novel, The Icons of Man: Book One. Released for Kindle on November 4th, 2017 and in paperback on December 7th, 2017, The Icons of Man: Book One is the first installment in a speculative fiction/YA fantasy series.
A storm is coming, a city is burning, and the only thing standing between massive floods and a million deaths is an illegal team of transcendental athletes.
Horror. Fantasy. Sports.
A storm is coming. Is your team ready?
Originally a sprawing thousand-page epic, Langan made the decision to divide The Icons of Man into five parts. “It honestly just worked,” he says. “It developed into a five-act story, and so the breaks have always been kind of obvious to me. I just resisted the idea of releasing them piecemeal because I was worried it was taking the easy way out. Fortunately, I had enough friends to convince me I was going to lose my mind unless I started getting my stuff out there,” he adds with a laugh.
Icons takes place in a world called Roslyn, which Langan describes as an ‘shambolic alternate present’. “Basically it’s a very similar world to our own, both in aesthetic and some other ways you’ll see as you read. But there are many things we’d consider supernatural too—the age of the characters, some of the excesses of the environment, and obviously the powers wielded by the Durationists”—Langan’s superpowered athletes who keep Roslyn safe from the sentient thunderstorms, conjured by soul-stealing specters called Blood Poachers—“but the exact nature of the world is meant to become clearer and clearer as the series progresses. Starting out, I rely on very strong, relatable characters to make an insane world feel common and digestable, and then I throw these characters right away into big action scenes with strong visuals. You immediately know what the stakes are.”
In Icons One, Langan presents us with Lucas from Slag Falls, a disgraced Durationist who walked away from hunting storms, only to return on the eve of the biggest storm to attack Roslyn in some time. “He’s sort of Percival,” Langan explains. “He walked away because he and the Durationist League didn’t see eye-to-eye, but ultimately he can’t escape his duty towards his country.” Lucas is accompanied by his protégé, Gemini from Bedlam Ghettos. “Gemini is, at the start, the perfect student. She’s diligent, earnest, and very impressionable. To her, being a Durationist is like a kid who joins the major leagues. It’s something she treasures.”
Both Lucas and Gemini race to save Roslyn in the face of the coming storm, and along the way they encounter many of their rival Durationists. But there are surprises along the way that erase any garauntee that Roslyn’s superstar heroes can save the day.
“This first book is essentially one giant battle scene,” says Langan. “Beneath it though are some very intricate philosophical ideas. They aren’t so obvious in this first book, by the time we get to books two, three, and so forth, you should have a pretty good idea of what the thrust is here. It’s been a blast to write, and the response so far has been very encouraging. Nothing makes me happier than making a connection with readers.”
The Icons of Man: Book One is for sale now on Amazon, Kobo, B&N, and Smashwords. The retail price for the ebook is $3.99, and the paperback’s retail price is $8.95. More information can be found at www.iconsofman.com.
After a long, long wait, which no doubt many of you have been eagerly anticipating--or maybe you haven't, it's all good--the PAPERBACK VERSION of the Icons One has arrived!
It takes a few days for Amazon to merge the paperback page with the kindle version, so for now here is the link to the paperback on Amazon.com, where it's on sale for $8.95. For my beloved UK friends, here is the link on amazon.co.uk, where it will cost you £6.79. Europe and elsewhere, I will announce where to purchase as the paperback is distributed worldwide.
For those of you who have been waiting to buy a paperback copy, many thanks for your patience. The process was a bit more complicated than I anticipated--whether it be developing the full cover, formatting the book, checking for last minute glitches (thanks again Ilse)--and while it was tempting to rush, I knew it was prudent to get everything right so that I could get you the best version of the book possible. I feel we've accomplished that, and I'm proud to say that, finally, I can look at stare up at my own book on the shelf and say--well, I actually have to crane my neck over to look at it, which is annoying, and it's laying on its back atop other books so I can't see it, but you know... I can finally say the first one is here.
Please remember if you like the book to leave a review on Amazon. It's really the best way for me to keep this going, and it means a lot to get the feedback.
Thanks again to all who have supported me along the way, especially those of you who came to the launch party! It has been encouraging to know I have never been alone on this road.
Now that the paperback is here, I will be dedicated to doing my best to get it to readers who might appreciate the story, as well as maintain a website here for anyone curious about the world, just what this crazy blob I've written is about, and what future installments might have to say.
Something that occurred to me in the process of writing this series is that I never would have been able to work on it for so long if I didn't genuinely identify with the world I made up. There's a lot of tips about world-building out there for would-be fantasy authors. Many are of course good and useful, especially those that focus on the best ways to come up with the rules and logic of your universe. But a more general rule of thumb occurred to me a while ago, and someone since someone on reddit was asking for world-building tips just earlier, I thought I wouldn't let my two cents go to waste there, and that I'd post my response here as well:
RE World-building advice
I think this applies to any genre really, but certain sci-fi and fantasy: you better have a core idea, or theme, or -something- that this world expresses that you feel very strongly about. It doesn't necessarily have to be a built-up constructed philosophy, as you might find in a sci-fi novel; I suppose it could even just be a feeling or tone you discover while writing--but it better be something that you really love, and can act as some sort of mooring for the world you're building, because otherwise it's very difficult to tell whether you're going to like tomorrow what you came up with today. You might design a whole plot device or setting that seems really cool the night you wrote it down. Then by the AM it seems like crap to you. And what you come up with might not be bad per se, but you may grow to hate it regardless if it doesn't match what's in your heart.
If you don't have some sort of idea behind the world you feel really strongly about, it's gonna be difficult to put in all the blood and sweat required to see the whole world and story come to life. I personally would think objectively about things in your life, or in the real world, that resonate very strongly with you, and think about how that can be reflected in the world you build--better yet, this should interface neatly with your characters and start to offer information about them and their histories in this setting also. Just a thought.