Terry’s March Watercolour Writing Newsletter

March 2018

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Terry’s March Watercolour Writing Newsletter

March 1.jpg

That’s all for this month!

7 Fantasy & Sci-Fi Novels that will make you rethink the Moon

Considering the moon moons us every night, I haven’t come across many cool moon concepts in Sci-Fi and Fantasy. But, here’s a list of some awesome writers who’ve completely re-thunk the moon and made it into a totally rad concept.

1. Roverandom -1925
J. R. R. Tolkien


Imagine all the creatures from LOTR compressed into one place – that’s what it’s like on Tolkien’s moon. There  are wizards, dragons, goblins… the whole lot!

The only thing missing is a hobbit main character. Instead, the main character is a dog… then a toy dog… then a toy-sized dog… yip yip!

Some weird wizard dude gets mad at Rover for biting him and turns him into a toy dog (justly so! Toys can’t bite). Another wizard strolls by and decides to turn the toy dog into a toy-sized dog (justly so! All toys want to become real).

Rover is unhappy with his toy-sized dog self, but needs the original wizard to change him back. Obviously riding a seagull to the moon is the best place to look, so that’s what Rover does. Unfortunately the wizard is actually from Persia, but you know, he might have been from the moon.

If you’re a Tolkien fan, you’ll enjoy finding quips of LOTR in this super short book that he crafted for his son after he lost his toy dog.

“Tolkien *can* write a story with a happy ending! It’s a very charming tale, closer in style to “The Hobbit” than LOTR, but lighter and full of colloquialisms and word plays (many of which were lost on me!) that are rare in his other books. As he never prepared it to be published, there are a few loose ends and anomalies, but they are easily overlooked.”
X (Goodreads)

2. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress -1966
Robert A. Heinlein

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Since nobody likes prisoners, it only makes sense that we ship them all to the moon. I’m thinking of putting forward a motion to rename the moon, Mooncatraz.

In 2075, Earth is all faminey, so the Earthlings force their Moonling captors to grow wheat in gigantic underground farms and ship it back to their planet. The Moonlings are all like, “Nay, we need to conserve what water we have to survive!” Then the main moon computer (whose name is Mike) goes “beep boop” and calculates that the prisoners will turn to cannibalism from resource depletion if they keep sending shipments to Earth. Luckily computers hate cannibalism and so Mike sides with the prisoners and starts a revolt against their Earthling captors.

I really can’t wait for this novel to become a film. I’ll get see the acronym TANSTAAFL plastered on movie posters everywhere!

“What I learned from this book:
1. History bends and melts over time.
2. The first AI we meet might not be intentional.
3. Throwing rocks can get serious over interplanetary distances.
4. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”
Dan (Goodreads)

3. Luna: New Moon -2015
Ian McDonald

New Moon (Luna, #1)

100 years into the future, humanity has colonized the moon. I can’t wait for this to happen, because I think a mooncation (moon vacation) would be super stellar!

Another cool thing in this novel is that everyone’s eyes are fitted with “chibs” (like Google Glass) that tell the user how much air/water/etc. they have left.

Imagine if we had this technology already? My screen would constantly say, “Less donuts. More kale.”

After reading this book, I started a money jar for myself with a label that says, Mooncation Fund. There’s also a tonne of crazy political drama (and a crazy amount of sex) in this book, so if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, definitely check it out.

“If you can imagine the Starks and Lannisters as two rival families with competing mining operations on the moon, I daresay the situation might look a lot like the plot of Luna: New Moon. I can’t remember the last time I read a sci-fi novel featuring a richer and more compelling premise.”
Mogsy (Bibliosanctum )

4. The First Men in the Moon -1901
H.G. Wells

The First Men in the Moon

Wells was my favourite author growing up. My brother would go to the public library every weekend and run for the Sci-Fi section to see if we could find any undiscovered Wells stories.

Perhaps this novel sparked my fascination with the moon. In Wells’ story, a scientist invents an anti-gravity material called, cavorite. Obviously the best use for such a thing is to make a little anti-gravity ship and go to the moon. And that’s exactly what another dude convinces the scientist to do.

Turns out there’s some crazy shit going down on the orbiting rock and the two are enslaved by some insect-dude farmers who were herding their cows (the cows are actually just big blobs of lard).

It’s a good thing we went to the moon already and discovered this was all false. Otherwise, I’d be having nightmares of lardcows and insect dudes every time I look up into the sky at night.

“Describe this book in a single word? Ridiculous. I have never read science fictions. I have read very few classics. And then I went and randomly picked up this classic sci-fi written in 1901. Well, I’m very glad I did so because The First Men In The Moon by Sir H.G Wells is as amazing as it is ridiculous.”
Veronica the Geek (Goodreads)

It’s also noteworthy to mention that there’s a film adaptation, First Men on the Moon (1964), which is worth a watch. It definitely gave me nightmares of gigantic caterpillars and weird crystal hive mind caves as a kid.

5. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter -10th Century

Not a novel, but I had to include it in this list. Besides being a moon fan, I’m also an ancient tale fan, so bonus points as this is the oldest surviving Japanese prose narrative.

In ancient Japan they didn’t know that moon babies are born inside of bamboo stalks so a bamboo cutter is surprised when he cuts one open and finds a tiny girl. Luckily we know better now.

The cutter then raises the girl as his own and she grows into the most beautiful thing ever because bamboo juice is great for the skin. Her beauty attracts all the men who want to do things to her that they can only do once they’re married. But, bamboo girl will have none of it. Only a moon husband will do.

I can’t say much more without giving too much away, but I definitely recommend checking it out. Plus, it’s the story of how Mount Fuji got its name.

All in all, whoever crafted this story was on some kind of crazy trip. Moon people born in bamboo stalks on earth? That’s a stretch!

This is a super great story!
-Unkown Japanese Person (10th Century Japan)

6. Mutineers’ Moon -1991
David Weber

Mutineers' Moon (Dahak, #1)

This book answers a lot of questions that science hasn’t yet figured out.

What is the moon? A gigantic sentient spaceship of course!

Where did humans come from? 50,000 years ago, there was a mutiny in the moon space ship and a bunch of humans were like, “We’re going to live on earth.”

Are evil aliens coming to destroy us all? Yes, and the only way to save humanity is by faking the death of an astronaut!

See? Everything makes sense now.

I always knew there was more to the moon than its boring orbit thing. I mean, it does cause nice eclipses every once in a while, but being a gigantic, ancient spaceship is way cooler.

Without getting into the complexity of this novel (there’s a lot of different conflicts to keep up on. It’s more of a military sci-fi thing), let me just say that this is possibly the coolest concept I’ve come across for the moon.

“One of my all-time favorite series. I’ve likely re-read this book (in the omnibus “Empire from the Ashes” edition) more than any other in my collection.”
Ross Wilson (Goodreads)

7. Gardens of the Moon -1999
Steven Erikson

Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)

There’s not as much moon in this novel (or the 10-part series) as there is a gigantic floating rock with an impenetrable fortress inside of it, called Moon Spawn (there are other floating fortresses too, but this one is the most badass).

I mean, the moon is basically a big floating rock anyway, so Moon Spawn fits the description perfectly.

If I were going to try to rule the world, this is exactly what I would build. What makes Moon Spawn more terrifying is that thousands of humongous ravens live on it. Have you ever been out for an early morning for a jog when you turn a corner and a dozen crows are silently staring at you from dead tree? Now imagine that X 3,000!

There’s an awesome battle in Gardens of the Moon against Moon Spawn. A bunch of mages are like, “We can overthrown this thing” and set it on fire. No big deal though, the fortress just floats away and continues to be totally awesome somewhere else (well, until it crashes into the sea and becomes a bunch of treasure-filled islands, which is also pretty rad).

Here’s a sweetass depiction of the battle. Notice the hoards of ravens?

(I tried to find the source of this image, but couldn’t. If you know it, please tell me!)

This is a series to get into if you like super high fantasy. The world building is completely next level (especially because the series is 10 books long). There’s even a whole 3,000+ page wiki dedicated to Erikson’s series.

“There’s a loooot of (incredible) characters, places, concepts, gods, demons – and what little exposition there is usually comes after the fact, but I’ve never been in a more vividly realised / immersive fantasy world.”
Sam Ashurst (Goodreads)

Special Mention:

In Cloud Atlas (2004, David Mitchell) advertisements are beamed onto the moon from a dystopian Korea.

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