The following article appeared in the Colorado newspaper THE BOULDER WEEKLY.
Local author carves a new world in the ever-expanding universe of fantasy fiction.
by Vince Darcangelo
"The myth does not point to a fact; the myth points beyond facts to something that informs the fact," said the great
American mythologist Joseph Campbell.
Oreus, the hero of local author Scot R. Stone's debut novel, The Chimes of Yawrana, has this to say about myth and
history: "Sometimes it makes us wonder where the facts end and the lies begin."
A culture's mythology can say more about its beliefs and values than historical record, and these myths often speak to the
universal human experience. One of the most popular and omnipresent mythological archetypes is the hero. From the epic
struggles of Beowulf and Heracles to the latter-day journeys of Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter, the epic fantasy tale is
a cross-cultural phenomenon
In recent years, there has been a renaissance of epic fantasy in America. The success of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter
books and movies has rejuvenated interest in the classic work of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The Lord of the Rings
film series has spawned multi-genre knock-offs, and the most significant epic fantasy tale of this generation, Star Wars,
has returned to the big screen.
Stone is hoping to take epic fiction to the next level with his new series, The Snowtear Wars. The first installment of the
five-part series, The Chimes of Yawrana, was released in March, and on Saturday, April 10, Stone will read and sign his
debut novel at Borders Books and Music in Boulder. With interest in epic fantasy peaking, Stone's work is certainly in
tune with the zeitgeist.
"People, right now, are looking for the next Harry Potter and the next Lord of the Rings," says Stone. "I think now is the
perfect time for [my series] to come out."
Stone has created a world that will appeal to both fantasy purists and those with more modern creative sensibilites. The
world of Elvana, where Yawrana resides, has a traditional old-world charm that is coupled with fantastic technological
elements that border on the futuristic such as a boat that sails above the water. The blending of traditional and speculative
elements creates an experience unique to even dyed-in-the-wool fantasy freaks.
"Once people read the entire series, or even the first few books, they're going to realize that this is something that's never
been done before on this kind of level," says Stone. "I think they're going to be really surprised when they read these first
few books in this series."
The Snowtear Wars series is slated for five installments. Stone has finished writing the second book, The Ice Shadows of
Arna, and he says he already has timelines running through the fifth book.
But the charm of The Chimes of Yawrana is that is stands on its own as a first-class work of epic fantasy. Chimes details
the adeventures of a band of voyagers from Zonack who travel to Yawrana, where an ancient prophecy warns of
destruction of their civilization. When members of Yawrana's Royal Court fall ill, one of the voyagers, Oreus, must go on
a quest for the snowtear, an ancient flower with the power to heal the sick royalty. Along the way, Oreus must battle
external enemies such as the Lazul - a mythic warrior race - as well as internal enemies looking to ascend to the crown of
Yawrana through treachery and deceit. Like any great story, Chimes has a strong plot and underlying theme that supports
its fantastic elements.
"You have a variety of different cultures coming together, and they're facing many adversities," says Stone. "Basically,
they have to learn to trust each other to overcome those adversities to help each other's societies."
But a strong plot can only carry a story so far. In any genre, memorable characters are at the core of a great epic. Stone
says this is the key to writing great fantasy fiction.
"To have a successful fantasy story, you have to make your characters just as real as you would with any other book," he
says. "You have to have a good variety of characters, and people have to be able to relate to them in order to keep
[readers] interested in your storyline.
"You take little things from the life around you and incorporate them into your book, and it helps make the book seem
more real," he continues.
Stone uses one particularly personal experience to both add depth to his characters and to pay homage to one of his
"My father lost part of his leg in a construction site accident when I was very young," he says. "So I had one of the
characters, toward the end of the book, lose part of his leg. That's my tribute to my father for overcoming that."
Stone also tackles relevant social concepts, such an environmental balance and sustainability, in Chimes. Early in the story
one of the voyagers inadvertently kills a tree, which in turn kills an entire garden as their roots are interconnected. "As one
dies, so do the rest," explains a baron of Yawrana to the visitors.
"We have to ask ourselves, are we destroying the rainforests, those kind of things, at a rate that we shouldn't be, which is
having a profound effect on earth?" says Stone. "That kind of question ties in to what the Yawranans believe: You have to
live in harmony with everything around you, otherwise, if you destroy those things, you're going to destroy yourself in the
Though only out a month, Chimes has already garnered the attention of fantasy readers. The book has been selling well at
public readings, and in February, Stone was part of a record-setting book signing in Maryland that is now in the Guinness
Book. Stone was one of 153 authors reading and signing books at the three-day Publish America convention, obliterating
the previous world record of 60.
While Chimes will certainly attract diehard and newly converted fantasy fanatics, Scot says the book will appeal to anyone
with a love for adventure and expolration.
"It's basically a magical world without magic," he says. "If you like to explore, if you like to see new creatures and get a
taste of what other cultures might be like in other worlds, then I think it's the book for you."
Holding Out for a Hero-- 4/08/2004