March 2023 Question

In various fantasy works, you often have “lancers” as one of the primary types of troops. I’m not aware of any time in history when lancers were that prominent, although I am certainly not familiar with every era of history. Is there a reason, possibly related to how you picture the various magic systems impacting war, for the use of lancers so commonly?

The magic system was certainly the reason for the use of Mirror Lancers in the Recluce books, because in the time of Cyador, firelances were a stand-off weapon. Another factor is that the population density, especially in Candar, is comparatively low and the distances between communities, except along the Great Canal, mitigate against infantry… and there’s a lot of grassland.

In the Corean Chronicles, rifles and magic were both stand-off weapons, but magic definitely precludes large massed armies. In the Imager Portfolio, the fighting forces in the early years were more like mounted infantry.

Historically, there have definitely been notable eras where the predominant military force was mounted, but such forces work better in areas of lower population density, and where forage is abundant, similar to the lands I’ve created.

But I suppose part of the reason is that, as a former Naval officer and pilot, I prefer not to deal with the grinding brutality of soldiers on foot making mincemeat out of each other, and I’ve created worlds where it’s not quite as necessary or workable.

3 thoughts on “March 2023 Question”

  1. Hendrik Hols says:

    I can see in your writing the methodical thinking in your past training, it is something I never experienced yet I enjoy your writing because of it. I read and reread all your writings because of it. I wonder if you have considered writing something closer to today’s chaotic world set in this world? I know that if you did you’ll lose the seperation from today’s politics but I think your insights on individual human motivation and larger macro effects of societal angst…just wondering.

    1. Years ago, I wrote (with Bruce Scott Levinson) what was then a near-future political SF novel — The Green Progression. It was one of the worst-selling novels ever published by Tor. Most likely, the three books of “The Grand Illusion” are about as close as I’ll get to our present-day world… although I do reserve the right to change my mind.

      1. Hendrik Hols says:

        I read that, “The Green Progressions” I enjoyed it because it seemed to have insights into the Chernobyl desaster. Still, I’ll read anything you write, odd as it may seem ifind your writing relaxing yet intriguing,I reread your novels often, you are a true story teller.

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