Authors of fiction should wear their learning lightly, I feel. Research should subtly inform their writing, not dominate it, and the reader should never, ever feel as if they’re being lectured. After all, they picked up the book to be entertained and transported into another world, not sat down and told to pay attention, because there’s a quiz later.

It’s a widely-held view that fantasy as a genre is one in which the writer can pretty much dispense with research. It’s all made up, so as long as you make sure there are certain natural laws by which your world functions and you stick to them, you can do what you like. It’s your sandpit. You make the rules. Continue reading