A call for Artists.
The maps currently depicted on this page are crude alterations I made to existing maps. I would very much like to replace these maps with professionally drawn maps made specifically for my series. I would be willing to either purchase such maps outright or discuss a licensing agreement.
One of the biggest secrets in Gods Among Men can be discerned by taking a good look at the maps below. In my descriptions of those maps I reveal what that secret is and explain the reasons behind the decisions I made.
Main Map : Continent with Locations
Depicted below is the main map I used to provide me with a sense of scale, direction, large land contours, and so forth.
No doubt many people immediately notice the similarities between the above map and the North American continent.
That is because unlike many epic fantasy works, Gods Among Men is not set in the distant past-that-might-have-been or an alternate imaginary world, but in the far future of Earth itself.
The map above is meant to represent the North American continent after the world was ravaged by the war Demiurge and the Lady fought against an immensely powerful alien called the False Gods by Earth’s defenders.
Why did I set the series in the far future, massively altered Earth?
When I started writing Gods Among Men I was drawn to the idea expressed by Arthur C. Clarke that:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
I took that idea to an extreme. In the world of Gods Among Men:
- Magic is used on a daily basis by human wizards and Magog sorceresses.
- The magical effects created by wizards and Magog sorceresses are in fact caused by very advanced alien technology.
- That technology was brought to Earth by an alien probe.
- With the exception of the series protagonist, Wizard Damon Roth, neither the human wizards or Magog sorceresses have any significant understanding of the technology they use daily. To them it isn’t technology, it is truly magic.
- The commonly accepted explanations for how magic works is based on superstitions and theories that have no basis in reality. (Analogous to the types physics widely believed prior to Newton and Copernicous.)
Given that I wanted a magic system based on technology, it became important that I ground the world in physical laws that resemble our own as closely as possible. Part of that requirement meant that the world itself–the geology, geography, weather patterns, climate, seasons, and so forth–had to conform to what we know is possible.
I am not an expert in all the subjects required to construct a completely believable imaginary world from scratch. I am, however, quite good at researching what exists right now on Earth.
Ergo, the closer I conformed my imaginary world to Earth, the more I could rely on the extensive information already gathered about our planet to provide me with realistic details about the environment surrounding the characters.
Once I decided to conform my imaginary world to Earth norms as much as possible, it became obvious that I should simply make Earth the setting.
Which left me with deciding if the series were set in Earth’s distant past or its far future. For logistical reasons it made sense to set the events in the far future.
Since I am a native of the United States, I decided to have the story play out on the North American continent. This is not nationalism, but simple practicality. I already knew a great deal about North America, and therefore putting the action on my home continent meant I had to do much less research.
Since planets change over time, and since part of my mythology included a devastating war against aliens with near godlike powers, it made perfect sense to alter the continents to reflect massive changes.
I took maps of North America and proceeded to digitally mutilate them until I had maps that served my needs. Then I drew in various details, such as the chasm of Aḥ’Ferālt which split the continent in two, and the sprawling metropolis of Guildtown, and Damon Roth’s house, and so forth. Resulting in the above map.
Continent Without Locations
Below is the same map as above, only without the locations or major landmarks added.
Continent With Climate Zones
As I said above, the setting for Gods Among Men is Earth of the far future. That alone would dictate there be radically different weather patterns and climate zones than there are today.
However my primary goal was to tell a exciting story, not with working out plausible theoretical weather models that might develop after an world-wide apocalypse and the passage of time equivalent to a geologic age.
Ergo, I opted to take the easy way out and assume that the climate zones covering the continent in my world roughly approximated those in effect over North America today. This provided me a way to roughly estimate what types of weather the characters might encounter during their travels with adjustments made based on both month and season.
Below is a map showing the climate patterns I assumed for the continent.
Continent With Environment Zones
Again, while the continental environment would have changed radically in the future, modeling those changes was not a priority for me. Instead I again opted to assume present day standards for North America. Doing so let me determine the surrounding terrain in any location where the characters traveled.
Below is a map detailing the environment in various places across the continent.
Valley where Guildtown is Located
One of the most important locations in Gods Among Men is Guildtown, a sprawling metropolis comparable to the city of Rome near the height of the Roman Empire. Guildtown is the beating heart of the human empire called the Guild. The city occupies a strategic location that grants it tremendous control over the trade between various kingdoms.
I originally wrote descriptions of the terrain surrounding Guildtown and roughly where is was on the continent. Then years later I went looking for a place in North America that was physically a close match to what I had concocted. I found San Luis Valley in Colorado and New Mexico.
The terrain was not a perfect match, but it was close enough that I could claim the differences were the result of the ware Demiurge and the Lady fought against the False Gods, or the subsequent ice age.
Below is a graphic of San Luis Valley with some subtle changes I made to make it line up with my descriptions. I originally planned to draw Guildtown into the picture, but lacked the artistic talent to make a decent drawing of the city.
The valley is 122 miles (196 km) long and 74 miles (119 km) wide, extending from the Continental Divide on the northwest rim into New Mexico on the south. Guildtown would be located North of the exact center of the valley, and be over 20 miles across (East to West) and over 30 miles long (North to South).
Surrounding the city is a wall that forms a perfect ellipse, a fact that is important to controlling the flow of spells and magical energy pumping continuously throughout the city.
River Eugris’ Course
When I described Guildtown in my novel I included in the description a wide and very swift waterway called the River Eugris. Essentially this river follows the same path as the modern day Rio Grande, but over time has become as wide, deep, and swift as the modern Mississippi River.
Below is a map depicting River Eugris’ course as it flows southward to the ocean.
The World Changed
As I mentioned above, the world was ravaged by the war Demiurge and the Lady fought against an immensely powerful alien called the False Gods. In addition to the changes wrought on the North American continent I also modified world maps to show similar changes to other continents. I have yet to make significant use of this map, but I present it to demonstrate the damage the False Gods wrought before they were defeated.