Roll the Dice on Orconomics and Gain +4 Happiness

imageOrconomics: A Satire
(The Dark Profit Saga Book 1)
Author: J. Zachary Pike
Publisher: Gnomish Press
Pages: 385
Genre: Satirical Fantasy
Twitter: @jzacharypike
Facebook: JZacharyPike
Website: JZacharyPike.com

One of the things I love most about the fantasy genre is the how easily I can emerse myself in that particular world. While I never had the opportunity to play Dungeons & Dragons as a youth, I did play World of Warcraft. What an amazing experience! A world of endless borders where I could walk end-to-end, and even without seeking out battles or quests, I could simply explore the world of Azeroth.

Of course it was easy to lose oneself for hours, nay days on end: Farming for coins and saving to purchase epic armor or weapons, traveling to city centers to get the best deal on a trade, selling items I created through my “talents”, talking to Non Player Characters (NPC) and searching for quests. I definately can not leave out the time honored tradition of looting our defeated enemies, ending up with either torn animal hides or a Legendary Weapon.

It’s been a few years now since I last played since I played WoW and I have to say I often miss it.

Why the walk down nostalgia lane? Because while reading Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike I was immediately transported to those fun days running quests and looting my dead enemies. When I was approached with an offer for a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review, I did not know wha to expect. My past camping experience aside, the premise of the novel is intriguing enough to pick up.

J. Zachary Pike

J. Zachary Pike

The adventuring industry drives the economy of Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. On Arth, professional heroes are hired to slay fantastic creatures with magic weapons. The beasts’ treasure is hauled back to town and divided among investors.

Since his career as a professional hero ended in failure decades ago, Gorm Ingerson’s life has been a cycle of petty crime, heavy drinking and avoiding the Heroes’ Guild. But when the Dwarf helps a Goblin secure its NPC documents, he quickly finds himself in the clutches of the guild’s enforcers.

It will take all of Gorm’s Dwarven resolve to survive political intrigue, fundamentalist lizard men, purse kobolds, healing potion addicts, and worse. Yet even if he succeeds, it may not be enough to protect his party from the dark secret behind their quest.
Orconomics is a joy to read. J. Zachary Pike is a Master Dungeon Master and weaves a fantastic tale that is funny, full of adventure and

If you’ve ever sat around a table with multi sided dice, creating wild adventure and trying to determine if the spell your wizard cast indicted +4 physical damage or -2 Intellect drain, or if you’ve immersed yourself in an MMORPG, then this novel is for you. Even if you have NO. IDEA. WHAT. I. JUST. WROTE,  but you enjoy the lighter side of Fantasy, then this novel is for you.

Roll the Dice. Get ready to Level your Fantasy Reading this Summer.  Orconomics should be on every fantasy lover’s reading list this summer.

+4 Stars out of 5.

Download your copy of Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike today! CLICK HERE. 

Special thanks to Sage Adderley and Sage’s Blog Tours for letting me participate in this tour.

image

Advertisements

Worth Mentioning – with special guest author, J. Zachary Pike

We are pleased to have J. Zachary Pike visiting us today at Astounding Books as our guest blogger. Pike was once a basement-dwelling fantasy gamer, but over time he metamorphosed into a basement-dwelling fantasy writer. A New Englander by birth and by temperament, he writes strangely funny fiction on the seacoast of New Hampshire. His novel, Orconomics, is available now. 

An excerpt from the novel can be found below. Give it a try and enter to win a FREE digital copy of the novel on a Kindle Paperwhite! You can see more of his work at jzacharypike.com, or drop him a line on Facebook or Twitter.

On Writing by J. Zachary Pike

image

I’ve found plenty of tips over the years for creating three-dimensional characters, and I’ve followed more than a few of the good ones. But I seldom see many tips for building interesting worlds, which I find odd. After all, a fantasy setting can be deep and fascinating or flat and uninteresting just as much as any character can. As I created Arth for my own books, I found it helpful to think of my world as another character, and in so doing try to make it as three-dimensional as possible.

The World is Flat

When a character is simple and stereotypical, they’re often described as flat and two dimensional. There’s nothing wrong with a two dimensional character in passing—simple characters are a critical element of storytelling. (Imagine how horrible the last book you read would be if the author delved into the past, motivations, and flaws of every person who appeared in the book.)

A simple, underdeveloped world can also come across as two-dimensional. Such a simple world might make a good stop for the interdimensional traveler / spaceship crew. Think of all the bizarrely gimmicky worlds that the original Star Trek visited, or the satirically stereotypical planets on Futurama. They make for some great gags or philosophical points, and they’re fun to visit, but you probably wouldn’t want to set a novel there.

How a World is Like Another Character

A character isn’t a person, and a fantasy world isn’t a place. They’re both constructs for telling stories and conveying themes. Your characters’ strengths, weaknesses, flaws, and redemption (should) all serve to shape your story and advance your plot. Creating a world is the same way: it’s a tool for advancing the plot plot. The easiest way for me to keep that in mind is to think of Arth as another character.

Here are some of the ways that helps me.

  • I try to give my world “flaws.” It’s easy to see if a character is too perfect, or too evil, or just too… flat. One key indication of a two-dimensional character is a lack of flaws (or redemptive qualities for villains.) But a world can be too one-note as well, and a good way to prevent that is to give it “flaws.” it a counter-themes, something that takes it in the opposite direction. One example from Arth is the balance between military and financial forces— on the one hand, the world is full of violence and constant danger, but at the same time a stable economy with advanced financial markets has grown not just despite the conflict, but because of it.
  • I use two-dimensional characters to create three dimensional cultures. Part of what makes our world so interesting is the diversity of perspectives and attitudes that you find in any group of people. If all of my minor characters are of one mind and purpose, or even clearly divided along predictable lines, my world would be missing out on some engaging conflict. II try to give the minor characters a variety of voices and perspectives, so that together they’ll create a picture of a more fascinating culture.
  • I think about my world’s character arc. A character that doesn’t advance or change over the course of a story is a dull one, and the same goes for a setting that isn’t impacted by the character’s actions. I try to outline the way my heroes’ actions will change their world, and what that does for Arth narratively.

Your mileage may vary, but it always helps me to think of my world as another character, If you’re thinking about writing fantasy or speculative fiction, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Book Excerpt from Orconomics: A Satire

imageLegend held that Andarun had once been the greatest city on Arth, in the early ages when it was the high seat of the kingdoms of the Sten. Then the Sten betrayed the rest of mankind and were subsequently wiped out in retaliation. The armies of Man were quickly driven away by a dragon, which was followed by hordes of Lizardmen, who fell to the Gremlins, who were slain by an Ogre tribe, and so on and so forth. By the time the Freedmen liberated the city from the rule of Ogmar the Mad, one could barely walk down Central Avenue without tripping over a priceless relic from a long-faded conflict. Of course, no one could even venture near a sewer grate for fear of giant spiders or Venomous Scargs or any of the other monstrous denizens that had never fully been expunged from the city.

Ironically, these ancient threats were key to Andarun’s rapid gentrification. Dangerous monsters and abundant treasure attract heroes. Wealthy heroes in need of gear attract merchants. Well-to-do merchants attract industry. Industry needs workers, who need developers for housing, who need builders and laborers, who need services. The ancient ruins beneath Mount Wynspar fertilized a blooming economy on its surface. Within an age, Andarun was again the greatest city on Arth, this time built atop the most deadly dungeon on Arth.

In Andarun, one could wake a nameless fear or two just by digging a wine cellar.

“The city’s built on big steps carved into the mountain back when the Sten were around,” Gorm told Gleebek as they made their way through Andarun’s crowded streets. “The lowest step is called the Base, and the top is the Pinnacle. Every step starts in the Ridge,” he said, pointing to the rough cliff face that cast the western side of the city in shadow, “and ends at the Wall.” He turned and pointed to the giant stone edifice that made up the eastern mirror of the Ridge.

“A zabba,” Gleebek said with a low whistle.

“Aye. The Wall and the Ridge cast long shadows down here on the lower steps. But Andarun rises to their tops, so up near the Pinnacle, where the uppity-ups live, the Wall ain’t much taller than a hedge. Good views, I’m told.”

“Da grongo?”

“Everything’s better by the Wall—the view, the light, the smells. Course, everything’s more expensive too. Makes Andarun almost like a map of society, ye see. The higher up the mountain ye go, the higher your status. The closer to the Wall ye are, the more money ye have.”

“Grong, da nub’root Hupsit—”

“So if we get separated, head down toward the Base and west to the Ridge. Eventually, ye’ll come here.” Gorm rounded a bend and gestured down an alley that was deeper and darker than most swamps.

“Ga’pab?”

“Welcome to the Underdim,” grinned Gorm. “They don’t get any more Ridgeward or Baseward.”

Interested in visiting Arth? There’s never been an better time, because right now you can win one of several free copies of Orconomics—including a digital copy on a Kindle Paperwhite. CLICK HERE Enter to win on my contest page.