Look, mom! A map!


Maps are at the heart of my fan­tasy reading expe­ri­ence. From Tolkien to Brooks to Anthony, maps were de rigueur in the old days. I remember rushing home from the store, jumping on my bed and cracking open my latest pur­chase (the new book smell? How can anyone forget that?). The first thing I would do after absorbing the cover, before reading a single word, was pore over the map. The map was what first immersed me in the world, the prep-work needed to begin my journey in Middle-Earth, or Narnia, or Xanth.

You see less maps these days. That might have some­thing to do with the increase in pop­u­larity of “urban fan­tasy” which is usu­ally set in the well known modern world. You don’t need a map in your novel when your reader can just crack open their Rand McNally Road Atlas. It also might be due to this sort of sen­ti­ment (although Joe does have maps in his later books). I always wanted a map in my SHADOW OPS books, but faced the chal­lenge of visu­ally depicting a land­scape that spans two loosely orbiting worlds.

But chal­lenges are just that: chal­lenges. With the right help, you can master them. Enter the fab­u­lously tal­ented Priscilla Spencer, who has done maps for fan­tasy lumi­naries like Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne and Sal­adin Ahmed. Suf­fice to say she was more than equal to the task.

Priscilla Spencer’s awe­some map for FORTRESS FRONTIER

Click on the map to see it full sized! Priscilla’s map lays the ground­work for FORTRESS FRONTIER and gives us our first rough sketches of the crea­tures that live in the Source. It’s the sort of map that a hard-bitten SOC oper­ator might make as he tries to make sense of the align­ment between the planes in his efforts to track down the fugi­tive Oscar Britton.

Fan­tasy maps had such a huge impact on my reading expe­ri­ence growing up, and I can’t tell you how jazzed I am to finally have one of my own.

  • http://twitter.com/PrinceJvstin Paul Weimer

    Maps in an urban fan­tasy novel. What a rev­o­lu­tionary notion!

  • John Zeleznik

    This. Is. Awe­some! I love maps. My sister-in-law thinks it’s weird when she sees all my map sketches all over this house. As if I weren’t already excited about the next book, knowing it has a map in it moves it way up the queue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3405295 Jas Bohrman

    How does one go about finding someone to create them a map like this? My boyfriend is working on a grad school pre­sen­ta­tion that requires him to make a map of a fic­tional town he’s cre­ated and doesn’t know where to begin to find someone to hire for it.

    • MykeCole

      I have a link to Priscilla’s web­site in the post. You can reach out to her and see if she’s inter­ested in the project.

    • http://twitter.com/AuthorJMichael1 Author J Michael

      Tjhere are sev­eral soft­ware appli­ca­tions that you can design your maps with. The draw­back is that you have to learn how to use them.

  • http://twitter.com/AuthorJMichael1 Author J Michael

    I hate map­less fan­tasy. I cannot imagine trying to read David Webber’s Safe­hold series without maps.