Environment protection: exalted wood people, talking trees and the conflict potential with civilisation

Environment protection: exalted wood people, talking trees and the conflict potential with civilisation

Today, I want to speak to you about the protection of the environment, an age-old topic of literature. Don’t believe me? Let me go into detail. In Germany we read a book called “Homo Faber” in school. This book written by the famous Max Frisch tells the story of a very technology focused, stressed business man that turns away from civilisation and towards nature. The return to nature or the reconquering of the world through nature is one of literature’s and film’s (think Avatar) themes. But how about the fantasy genre?

 

Nature always wins

Contrary to the very technical world of steampunk, fantasy is a fierce advocat for the environment. Just look at the high amount of people and species living in balance with the nature, such as elves, fairies or shamans. Who doesn’t know the classical wood elf with his bow and arrow? The long-living people are quite usually the ones very in tune with nature and, thus, their world. The humans living far away from nature are usually short-lived, quarrelsome and in many areas short-sighted. Also, dwarves are often critically viewed in regards to their mining ventures. They dug too deep….

The one novelist bringing this environmentalist characterisation to the extreme is Tolkien. His elves are certainly on the good side, even if they wrinkle their noses about all the other creatures, vandalising their world. Thus, they have retreated to the beautiful forests, ensuring their thriving. On the opposite side, you have the orcs, evil and brutal. They not only kill everything they come across. They also burn and cut down the woods.

Wait, where do we have deforestation? Oh right, our rainforests.

Obviously, Tolkien had a thing for nature (even if not on purpose). When the orcs start to deforest Fangorn for the industrialisation of Isengard, the Ents, talking trees, rise up and end their puny attempt. The fires are quelled and Isengard is drowned. Nature wins back its territory, literally rising up against orc-kind.

 

Elben und Natur bei Tolkien

Tolkien: Elves, environmental activists?

Nature vs civilisation

Now, there aren’t that many humans in reality or fantasy that live in balance with nature. Civilisation is our boon (even if it is our vice as well). We cannot survive the way we are without it. But civilisation will always be in conflict with nature. Environment protection is important, but we can’t protect it a 100% without taking away our livelihood. That may work for a single person or community but not for the 7 billion of people on our planet.

 

Robin Hobb: Soldier Boy Trilogy

Fantasy literature loves to take on that conflict and get you thinking. A beautiful example is Robin Hobb’s Soldier Boy Trilogy where this conflict becomes the background theme. The story starts in the civilisation end of its world. The realm is expanding quickly and what do you need for expansion? Infrastructure. So, one big plot point is the building of a road through the unconquered woods. It’s a tough task and one that is made even harder by the people living in the woods.

Contrary to the very technical, logical people, especially the namesake soldiers, the wood people have magic. The magic is a bit out there with its need for overindulgence in nutritious food, but it is used to protect nature. The soldier boy is at the centre of this conflict. His whole life he has dreamt of being a good, successful soldier, capable of logic and engineering. But then he gets infected by magic and fights for his place in an increasingly confusing world. Nature is messy and so is magic. It revolts the soldier boy, but then he begins to question his society and thus, civilisation. Finally, he comes to terms with his role of protecting the environment.

 

Robin Hobb: Soldier Son

Soldier Son Trilogy

 

N.K. Jemisin: The Fifth Season

Hugo Award winner N.K. Jemisin takes the conflict between civilisation and environment to a higher level. Though it’s not about forests but rocks, its nature nonetheless. Her story’s world is frequently subjected to catastrophic natural events. The fifth season is the one, when a supervolcano eruption has brought on a nuclear winter or when a mega earthquake has flattened any structure.

Natural hazard in Jemisin’s world are much more frequent and much stronger than in our world, meaning several civilisation have already bitten the dust. The great Sanze civilisation is only great because it survived five seasons. Now, her main characters are the so-called orogenes who are children of Father Earth and can prevent (or cause) earthquakes and the like. The very conflict between these dangerous, but sympathetic people and the educated, civilised, but nasty people is just another mirror of nature against civilisation.

In the end, nature always wins.

 

Janna Ruth: Tanz der Feuerblüten

Yep, that’s me. I also wrote about the conflict between nature and civilisation, trying for a more objective take. The civilisation in my world is not bad, just as it isn’t bad in our world. It’s just not in balance with the environment which is represented by demons and other mythical creatures. Instead, the civilisation is based on the artistry of human kind and artificial beauty. Magic, by the way, is here part of the civilisation. When the demons and monsters rise up against my civilisation though, human kind doesn’t have much left to defend itself. But whether nature wins in the end, you’ll have to read for yourself.

Tanz der Feuerblüten will be published on the 6th of March 2017 within the uebersinnlich series, by Ueberreuter Verlag (Link).

Pre-Release Party von Tanz der Feuerblüten

Pre-Release-Party on Facebook with video reading, interviews and prices to win. (Link)

Whether it’s beneficial to humans or not, fantasy literature often acts as the advocate for the environment. Thus, there are two hypothesis to be drawn from almost every fantasy book focusing on this topic.

  • The environment is something good, that needs to be protected and …
  • The force of nature will overwhelm us in the end.

Because no matter how much we destroy of the environment, in the end we will only succeed to make the world unliveable to us. The environment will recover eventually and evolution will bring up new life-forms. The world has been through several stages of higher temperature for example, but I wouldn’t exactly recommend living through any of them.

The protection of the environment is so important not just for nature’s sake, but for our sake.

 

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My writing year 2017

Today, I would like to give you a quick overview about what’s ahead in 2017 for me and my writing career. Considering, that that is only one of three careers I’m currently holding afloat, no sleep will be on the agenda 😉

 

Insignia of Magic

Come November, it will be 15 years since I first thought up Insignia of Magic. Back then, I one episode a fortnight, one season a year, basically cruising through season 1-3. During season 4, life happened and suddenly there were months and months between episodes. In 2014 I decided to put an end to it and with great discipline, I finished the 5th season in an one episode/month regime. Again life happened, but beginning 2016, I defined my goal to pick up that 2014 regime and keep it up for the next four years to finally reach the end of my series.

Well, that worked pretty well in 2016 and so, we’re currently in the middle of season six. Now, the second half of the season of gluttony awaits us and that means, it’s gonna get epic. We’ve got gods taking part, so come on! Having already checked off 6×13, the rest of the year is promising. Bear in mind though, that I will (most likely) be unable to write an episode in March, April, July and November. They will be written before or afterwards to ensure the episodes per year ratio.

 

Two novels

My second goal is about writing two big novels this year. One is of course reserved for the NaNoWriMo. I have no idea which one it’s gonna be, but there are already four candidates. The second novel is fairly easy. I want to write the fourth and final book of the Ravenblood Saga. Because, once that is finished, I’ll start with …

 

Revisions

Currently, I’m working very hard on reivising Dream Away for the last time. There’s still one more line edit and corrections but after this no more content edit. This is my favourite project and I want to send it off to my contact in the US, who will hopefully get me some agents.

My fairy tale is already set for publication in June and to keep that deadline, the whole revision marathon is still awaiting me. I’ll start on that in February, when my draft has been hidden long enough from me to see it with fresh eyes. Since March this year, I will be spending three weeks in the Atacama Desert in Chile, March is also the deadline for that first content edit.

Mobs in der Atacama Wüste

I’ll be spending three weeks doing field work in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile!

If possible, I also want to start with editing Ravenblood and hopefully finishing the first book. And of course, there’s always Insignia of Magic. But this year, I want to edit the first season and give it really thorough clean-up and polishing. Because I am planning to publish it – as a book! Don’t worry, the dialogue style will be kept. I mean, if JK Rowling can publish a movie transcript, so can I 😉

 

Publications and Co.

This year will be extremly exciting for me, because I will have my writing debut. Meanwhile, I know a little bit more about it and the publication date has been set for March 2017. Hopefully, I will be here to see it and not sit in the desert already.

The fairytale is currently set for June 13, BUT I’m working some special things out. And if that happens, the publication will move forward a few days.

I also want to visit a few book fairs. I will have to give a pass to the Leipziger Buchmesse, because I’ll be still in Chile. But it should be possible to go to Frankfurt in October. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about accommodation, since my parents just moved there. I will definitely be at the Buch Berlin to represent the Märchenspinnerei in November. And maybe there’s one more – in June.

It’s very likely, that in addition to my series and the two novels there’ll be some short stories. But I will tell you more about that later.

Writing year 2017

My plan for 2017 (in German)

My writing year in numbers

Insignia of Magic: 10.000/episode – ca. 120.000 words

Ravenblood 4: ca. 150.000 words

Unknown novel: ca. 150.000 words

At least one short story: ca. 5000 words

In total that‘s: 425.000 words 🙂

 

Your Janna

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Welcome to my brand-new page!

Finally, the time has come to officially launch my website. Just in time for my big plans in 2017. Because in this beautiful year, I’ll be making my debut. With two novels at that!

But let’s start at the beginning!

Who am I?

You might not have heard of me yet. How come? Well, firstly, Janna Ruth is a pseudonym and secondly, I haven’t actually published anything yet. Despite that, I’ve been writing for a good 16 years. For a long time I only had grand ideas and a lot of novel starts. Come 2014, I took part in the NaNoWriMo and look at that. Suddenly, there was a finished novel. And it was great. Since then I got the knack for finishing novels and I’ve got about six of them lying about here in differing states, five of them written last year!

As you can see, 2016 was THE year. It was also the year that I started to have publishing plans and boy, did they come to fruition fast.

What might be a bit surprising is that I write both, in German and in English. That’s because – though I’m originally from Germany – I spend six years living and studying in New Zealand. 2014 I wrote my first novel in English and that went surprisingly well, I’ve got to say!

Neuseeland

Isn’t it beautiful *sigh*

Now, what’s more to know? Well, I’ve been born in Berlin, Germany in 1986, am currently doing my PhD in geology, want to work with new creative concepts in the field of science communication and live in beautiful Potsdam with my husband and my three boys. Think castles and parks!

So, what am I writing about?

The subtitle and picture probably give it away, but I mainly write Fantasy. In there, I serve up several subgenres. When I started out, it was mainly High Fantasy, but then I lost myself in Urban Fantasy for 14 years. Because that’s when I was working on Insignia of Magic, a series inspired by Buffy. Since that has been with me for the better part of my life and I’ve kind of grown up with these characters, there’s whole section on that here.

2014, I completely broke out of Fantasy by writing a Coming of Age novel. That book has become my absolute darling and I can see myself writing other literary genres as well. The exciting part, someone in the US is already interested. How cool would that be? Me, little German girl publishing in the US? Come on!

But before we talk about eggs unhatched, there will be some German novels coming out. In November last year, I won a writing competition with a Romantasy novel (another subgenre I had never done before). Now it will get published with the Ueberreuter Verlag. You can read the news here (if you speak German or trust your translator).

Uebersinnlich Wettbewerb

One of three winners!

In addition, there will be a modern fairy tale adaption. The special twist about this is that it is part of a unique self-publishing project: Die Märchenspinnerei (literally: spinning fairy tales). Twelve authors have come together to share all those tasks that make successful books out of little drafts. Especially sharing the marketing load is a win-win for everyone. Go and have a look at our brand new page, brought to you by yours truly!

Die Märchenspinnerei: With eleven others I’m going on a big adventure.

So, what now?

You won’t find much in publications for now, but that’s gonna change soon! That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see here. On the contrary! Have a look at my projects which will tell you what I’m currently writing on. Of course that excludes the multitude of ideas that plagued me over the last years.

If you’re interested in Insignia of Magic, you can have a look around there. Unfortunately, all of the information, including the reading sample is completely in German. I cannot promise you a translation any time soon, but it is my goal to make everything accessible for everyone. There’s some nice pictures there, though! 😉

Zeichen der Macht Cover

Aren’t they cute? Back then, it was still called Circle of Magic

Where else can you follow me?

On Facebook (bilingual): https://www.facebook.com/authorjannaruth

On Twitter (mainly German): https://twitter.com/Janna_Mobs

On Pinterest: https://de.pinterest.com/writerjannaruth/

Don’t be too harsh, I’m still learning how to use all that social media stuff really effectively. Help me out with a comment or follow.

This is it for now. I hope, you stick around for a while and pop in from time to time. This month I have something special for you. A longer text about my chosen subtitle

Have Fun!

~Janna

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