Writing Inspiration: Learning to Fly Airships from a Spider

“The next time you see a spider web, please, pause and look a little closer. You’ll be seeing one of the most high-performance materials known to man”

– Cheryl Hayashi

In fantasy and steampunk books we often come across some sort of flying ships, these usually require some piece of magic rock or magnetic field to operate. Now spiders don’t need to fly airships if they ever want to take over the world, but the way in which they manage to fly to different and far off places sounds just as magical or science-fictional as these fictional means of transport, except with actual science behind it. So this is how they work Continue reading “Writing Inspiration: Learning to Fly Airships from a Spider”

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Quotes from Summer in Orcus

Summer in Orcus
Cover detail from Summer in Orcus By T. Kingfisher

Sometimes, when you are looking for a new book to immerse yourself in, reading a description or review of a book doesn’t work: it can be too vague or confusing, it may sound uninteresting, or even turn out to be deceptive in some cases. Sometimes going straight to the text is much more satisfying. Here I present to you 21 quotes from the book Summer in Orcus by T. Kingfisher aka Ursula Vernon Continue reading “Quotes from Summer in Orcus”

Rainy Day Reads


It’s been raining all day, with cool winds, and heavy rainfall, continuing after a night of thunder and lightning. While the rain is a welcome respite from the heat of summer, the whole city has just about turned into Venice. So I thought I’d make a post about rainy day books. Continue reading “Rainy Day Reads”

On Books with Non-human Protagonists

Featured Image: Cover painting for The Cloud Roads by artist Matthew Stewart

In my recent readings through the fantasy genre I have realised that there aren’t that many books with non-human people as the main characters or protagonists. Illustrated books from my childhood often had protagonists like bears, cats and rabbits.1 It is also much easier to find non-human characters in comics and manga, etc. I recently finished reading a beautiful graphic novel The Tea Dragon Society with very diverse characters, and tea dragons, and barely a human.

But what about prose novels with non-human protagonists for adults? While there are a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal books with people who are shape-shifters and halflings, and beings like vampires, werewolves, fairies, demons and so on, the characters or creatures like these often spend more time as human, or have very human-like cultures,2 and are often obviously based on western mythology.

Some humans might point out that books are mostly written by humans,3 therefore it is only natural that a majority of them would have a human point of view. Others may needlessly like to point out how mythological and fantastical creatures are imaginary and fictional, forgetting the fact that we are talking about fiction books here. On the whole, I believe there should be more diverse viewpoints as everyone would benefit from them.4 Only perspectives that are different from our own can help us change our thinking and worldview. And books with non-human characters also allow a chance for the portrayal of humans from different perspectives. Perhaps at the very least they may generate more tolerance and empathy for people of ones own species.

Here is a small list of favourite non-human protagonists from my own hoard of books Continue reading “On Books with Non-human Protagonists”

The Journey Begins

Welcome to my hoard of books. I am the dragon Silver Raine. I do not collect fancy baubles, shiny metals or stones like some others of my kind; some of us are even rumored to collect humans or cats. I don’t mind cats, but I prefer books. This is a place where I hope to share my thoughts on books, reading, and writing. Thanks for joining me in my book cave!

Fonthill Library Loft

Photo Citation: “Fonthill Library Loft”, Fonthill Castle, Doylestown, PA, 2011. copyright karl graf