Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Challenge: Fictional Professions

This is part of the weekly Blogging Challenge over at Long and Short Reviews. If you'd like to participate, you can find the prompts here. They also put up a post every Wednesday where you go and link your response -- and see everyone else's. Check out their homepage to find it.

The challenge for this week is "a profession from a book I'd love to try".

I've been thinking about this off and on for a while, and honestly I had some trouble coming up with answers that didn't involve things like "wizard" or "heroic warrior" -- which I suppose is completely fair, since in a lot of fantasy worlds those are legitimate occupations. But more peripheral roles, like a veterinarian who specializes in magical familiars? I'm not coming up with much there, especially not things with actual examples. 

So I went back to thinking about my own writing, and the Dark Fantasy setting that I keep trying (and failing) to write a book in. (At this point I'm beginning to think that it's because I've put too much thought into it; I have too many ideas that I'd like to work in, and they several of them simply aren't compatible with each other -- plot-wise, mostly.) Anyway, one of the distinctive things about this world is that the sky has an ecosystem every bit as varied and important as the land and the sea. Some clouds are clouds; others are swarms of tiny flying creatures almost too small to distinguish; there are floating islands, and some birds and bird-equivalents that nest on them and feed on the things that grow there... and are prey to other things, some of which never touch ground. Lower down, there are grazing animals that drift along thirty feet or so above the ground, tendrils hanging below them to capture unwary prey. 

And humans being humans, when they first wandered onto this world they immediately started dividing these things up into "things we need to exterminate" and "things that were put here for us to use". And in the awkward middle ground between those territories are the floatbeast herds. 

Floatbeasts are massive animals; the bulls are Hindenberg-sized, and even the smallest of the calves is the size of a minivan. They have an elaborate set of natural fans which they use somewhat like sails, either moving with the wind or tacking against it. During their lives, they essentially never touch the ground. And while they feed on the swarm-clouds (rather like whales with plankton) they actually rely on a symbiotic relationship with another species, called rocs or wyverns, who nest in the hollows of their back and periodically strike out to hunt, bringing back food for the herd. 

So of course people figured out a way to use them as dirigibles. 

And I would love the chance to serve as crew on a floatbeast caravan, specifically one of the roc-riders who act as guards and ferry packages down to the more isolated settlements that don't have their own skyports. That's the profession I want to try.

(Although... being a Librarian in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries would be cool, too.)


  1. I hope you find the time and inspiration to finish that book sometime soon. It sounds awesome.

    Now I want to serve as a crewmember on a floatbeast caravan, too.

  2. Wow, that's quite a challenge. Good luck with it.

  3. WOW that's a career with a challenge. I loved your choices. Thanks for sharing. Here's mine.

  4. Okay, I'm not even playing this week (totally lost track of time), but I want to read your book now. So FINISH IT.

  5. Naomi Novik's dragon novels have vets specializing in the care of dragons. The primary one who shows up is actually more competent than doctors who treat humans.

  6. Magic users! Yes, epic hero.. Check. I think you have wonderful ideas cause I did not even think of that!

  7. Now that would be a challenge. In magical terms I always figured I'd be a wandmaker myself.


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