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The Man of Gold (Empire of the Petal Throne) (Volume 1) Paperback – July 9, 2015
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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About the Author
M.A.R. Barker (1929-2012) created the world of Tekumel, the setting for his novels and games. Inspired by Indian, Mayan, Aztec and other non-European mythologies and cultures, Barker wove these together with his own ideas to imagine an amazing science-fantasy setting. A Fulbright Scholar, Barker went on to teach at McGill University in Montreal and then at the University of Minnesota. A long-time historical game player, in 1975 Barker created a role-playing game, Empire of the Petal Throne after playing Original Dungeons & Dragons. After that, he wrote several novels, including The Man of Gold and Flamesong, both of which were published by DAW Books in the 1980's. His work is available again through the efforts of The Tekumel Foundation, established in 2008 to preserve Prof. Barker's creative legacy.
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Barker's style and world generation is actually the equivalent of what is termed "hard science fiction", whereas Tolkien's is true fantasy, or more the model of style for what is termed "soft SF" or "science fantasy." Barker's stories are never "magical" in the sense of the fairy tale, which was the hallmark of Tolkien. They are dynamic, gritty, and overwhelming in their minute details. His entire world, in fact, is set in a far future and based on a science fiction universe of extremely advanced technologies wherein this one world (or perhaps all the universe) has undergone a horrendous trauma (be it war or cosmic cataclysm has yet to be explained, though promised for the new volumes) that severed it from contact with the rest of the universe. The races and their langauges, their artifacts and civilizations, that are depicted by Barker, have all arisen from the ashes of this cataclysm on Tekemul. The legends and religions, in fact, are only echoes of whatever existed thousands of years before.
At any rate, this is one of the most complex worlds ever created, with the linguistics probably far more intricate than anything else. For writers, readers, or gameplayers who are interested in world generation, Barker has written the textbook examples.
Fantasy is not usually my genre-of-choice. I’m happy to say that didn’t matter at all-- this was a great story with characters I want to follow to see what happens next. The world of Tekumel is fascinating. We are lucky to get to dive into this richly creative world, which can give us new eyes to observe our own world with.