There is something strange in the air. Something odd, out of place, like the
acrid waft of a snuffed candle in sunlit kitchen. Or perhaps it is just
something old, invigorated, given new life. Something, perhaps, like the novel Strange
One of the Pan’s newest fantasy novels, it is also one of its oldest. How so?
Strange Harbors co-founder Garnet says: ‘It’s an extension of
something that was started before the first big crash, even though not a lot of
people are around to remember it. And I like that fact.’
The original novel she is referring to was a pre-Crash novel called Sanctuary,
an urban low-fantasy tale charting the lives of people in the only neutral city
amid a raging war. The city of Sanctuary still exists in the world of Strange
Harbors, albeit on the far side of a dangerous ocean.
The new story, in fact, is more of a prequel to that original tale than a
sequel, this time charting the early exploration of the world as the Days of
Sail emerge. Specifically, it follows the efforts of the Second Great Expedition
in its efforts to establish a colony on a distant island.
The characters within are setting out on a journey into the heart of darkness,
stepping out in unknown lands with character strengths and failings that go with
the motives required to make exploration viable, commercial and successful.
Strange Harbors board member Jasper Cordwainer recalls what
initially excited him about the novel. ‘I was drawn to the mystery, the
already complicated history of those on the expedition and how it would drive
interaction among the settlers, the unknown fate of the previous settlers, and
the non-human dangers that would lie on the other side of the Clouded Ocean.
Settlers who hope to start a new life, having it in their minds that hardships
will involve satisfying their basic needs, are up against much more –
themselves, an unseen enemy – and I knew it would make for quite an
interesting story to be a part of.’
Strange Harbors co-founder Garnet adds: ‘It's a bit of a relief
to finally have some low fantasy here, something that's not all magic and elves
and “we must save the world” hysteria.’
That is one of the important points in Strange Harbors. The
founder and early members of the novel agreed from the start that magic should
not feature in the novel and that it would be interesting to explore the
narrative development of a fantasy setting based almost entirely on a human
culture. As introspective as that might sound, there are still adventures to be
had and non-human cultures to meet.
So why not set your sail for the Strange Harbors.
Visit Strange Harbors