I just finished reading the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher. The series was good, especially the last two books, but that isn’t what I wanted to write about. In the Codex Alera series, and his more famous Dresden Files books, Butcher makes no attempt to hide the facets of his inner geekiness. Among other things he mentions gaming, even having Dresden attend a regular game night at some points in the series (I’ve only read Turncoat so far, but at many of my friends are Dresden fanatics.) He does not hide his gaming roots, but rather takes advantage of them along with his enjoyment of martial arts, history, etc. I am really interested to see how Gaming and related material influence his writing…
Take the the Vord in the Codex Alera, an insectoid menace that takes advantage of the realms unity to rise up and nearly conquer the world. There are clear influences here from the Tyrranids in Warhammer 40k and the Zerg in Starcraft. Mantis warriors remind me of Lictors, and many of the battle descriptions are similar to 40k fluff (but better written). The croach is quite like the coating that spreads underneath of a Zerg controlled area. Butcher takes these influences, either consciously or unconsciously, and creates something really cool and interesting from them.
Now obviously these aren’t the only influences he has. But gaming influences are particularly interesting to me because I wrote Bloodlust from a world and game I created to play with friends. I feel that sitting down and working out how magic in the world functions, how Gladiators are trained, what arenas are like, what kinds of matches are required made my writing stronger. The opinions of players trying to make characters that fit in and live in the world is even more interesting; a process that forced me to work out subtle details that I might have missed otherwise.
It is something that I discuss in the glossary of the book and will write more about, later. I just wanted to get in on the action and show off my gaming influences.