September 13th, 2011

Dead Reign


In the Marla Mason books, there are characters who can summon oracles to answer questions, provide direction, and interpret prophetic dreams — all for a price, which varies from the minor to the major, depending on the magnitude of the service rendered.

They are crazy fun to write.

I’ve had a minor god of disease emerge from a trash can, a ghost in a drain, a demon named Murmurus who demanded old books in exchange for answers, and the djinn from my story “Unfairy Tale” summoned from a jar of ancient wine, among others. In Grim Tides so far I’ve got a dark sea-god in the form of an immense puhi (moray eel), and I think I’m going to drag up the disemembered ghost of Captain Cook pretty soon, specifically to warn about an invasion by outsiders. I’m hoping to work in a third oracular appearance (threes are always good), possibly one where the summoner gets a MUCH bigger supernatural figure than they wanted or expected — maybe Pele, or Lono, or Uli.

I just love the opportunities for weirdness presented by these oracles, and they’re good for setting things up in the plot — and cryptic foreshadowing is my favorite kind.

Originally published at Tim Pratt. You can comment here or there.