Thursday, 9 May 2019

OWSCyCon Fantasy Blog Tour-Shadow & Flame By J. Brandon Lowry

About The OWSCyCon Fantasy Blog Tour
As part of the OWS CyCon 2019, we asked our fantasy authors to write about what makes their world, or the world of another author unique. Each of them has come up with very different answers which reflect their writing processes, their research methods, and their views on world building.
We hope you find these insights interesting, and that they maybe give you some new things to think about when you pick up a new book, or even start writing your own.

After reading this interview, be sure to check out the responses from our other fantastic writers:

A Peek Into the World of Shadow & Flame?
By J. Brandon Lowry

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” -Arthur C. Clarke
Do me a favor - imagine a future Earth. Hunger is unimaginable. Energy is limitless. Climate -  stable. Humanity has enhanced itself through means biological and technological. Even Death has been banished, for those rich enough to afford it. This is not a perfect world, nor could it be. It has simply moved on from the problems that plague our own. Can you see it? Really make an effort. Hold it in your mind. Place yourself on those streets. Trace the skylines. Got it?

Now watch it crumble.

This isn't a slow decline, the sort of demise that leaves time for planning and adaptation. No, this is a cataclysm, a single unforeseen event that eliminates nearly all of humanity, leaving those few who are left to scrabble up from the ashes and start over again.
Generations pass. Not even legends remain of the world that was. Much of the Earth is uninhabitable. Those lands fit for life have been conquered by the Dominion, an Imperial force that seeks to bring all peoples under its banner, cementing its power through belief in the immortal gods that bestow their miraculous blessings upon a select few. This is the world of SHADOW & FLAME, a Science Fiction novel masquerading as Epic Fantasy.
The concept for this world was born from a few different points of inspiration, one of which is the work of George R. R. Martin in his masterpiece A Game of Thrones. There's a scene in the book (and show) where it’s discovered that Prince Joffrey is illegitimate due to simple rules of genetic inheritance. All true Baratheons have black hair, and Joffrey doesn’t. Jon Arryn, the character who makes this discovery, scrawls in his notes the cryptic phrase “The seed is strong”, a play on our modern understanding of genetic traits as “dominant” or “recessive”. In this way Martin uses the reader’s knowledge of science to enhance a tale that is otherwise full of magic and mystery.

A scientist by training, I began to wonder if it was possible to write a Fantasy novel that was fully scientifically accurate, yet still contained fantastical elements such as magic swords, immortal gods, and outlandish creatures. My solution was to create a world where the characters experienced the fantastic but are ignorant of the realities of their world. There are ├╝ber powerful swords, but they’re simply made of futuristic materials rather than magically enchanted. The immortal gods are bio-enhanced humans who've survived long enough to watch humanity rebuild and have guided their path. The bizarre creatures encountered in the book are based completely on traits that exist in our world, put together in novel combinations.

Of course, none of this is known to my characters. In fact, as much as I like the concept, it should be the least interesting thing about SHADOW & FLAME, serving only as a stage upon which the real story plays out. Presented as Epic Fantasy, the novel tells the tale of a realm descending into the chaos of a civil war, driven by hidden dissidents intent on the Dominion's destruction. The book's multiple POV characters struggle against the political and martial forces arrayed against them, while at the same time grappling with issues of identity and family relationships. Though hints about the world's true age and prior inhabitants are sprinkled throughout, it's not until quite late in the novel that the true nature of the world is explicitly revealed to readers. Whether the truth will be revealed to the characters is still an open question, as this is the first installment of a planned trilogy.
I hope you've enjoyed this peek into the fantastical Science Fiction world I've created. It was an incredibly challenging piece of genre-bending, but rewarding to finally complete, and I can't wait until the day when readers get the chance to explore all the little nooks and crannies I've built in. When that will happen is anybody’s guess, as I’m still actively seeking representation. Until then, I’ll be busy plugging away on the next installment and finding new ways to make magic from the natural wonders of reality.

About J. Brandon Lowry
J. Brandon Lowry is a former research scientist with a Ph.D in Molecular Biology from the University of Oregon. In 2017, he and his wife quit their jobs, sold everything, and hit the road to pursue their ideal lives. He is a founding member of the online community We Write Fiction, a group aimed at helping authors leverage their social media platforms for marketing, and also an assistant editor at Midnight Mosaic Fiction. When not writing, Brandon is busy traveling the globe with his best friend and wife, Jen.

Meet J. Brandon Lowry Online

Learn More About the OWS CyCon 2019 Event
CyCon is the biggest online book event of the year, bringing together authors and readers from all over the world for an entire weekend of book-related fun. Between the organizers, and 230+ writers, you’ll be able to:
·       view live (and recorded discussions),
·       listen to samples of their stories,
·       vote in the various genre tournaments,
·       browse the author booths, and
·       discover some amazing books and writers.
We hope you enjoy this event as much as we enjoy bringing it to you. For more information, and links to all of the activities, visit us at:

You never know, you may just find your next best read!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sounds like an interesting read. I've heard a theory that the legends of the magical sword were at least in part born of the fact that the bronze age and the iron age over lapped depending on geography. Thus, a person with more advanced weapon coming into a less advanced area in terms of metallurgy would have been seen as having a magical blade. Noticed some typos in the old comment. I should know better, never post under the effects of cold medication. :-)

  3. Interesting, I hadn't heard that! Just read your Blog Tour post, and it seems we're coming at the same dichotomy from two different angles. Where I've taken technology and turned it into magic, you've taken magic and turned it into tech, which I had never considered before. Thanks for hosting my post, enjoy CyCon!