brian barr

Serpent King: Shadow and Light follows the origins of Zian Ur, a Reptilian born into a noble military family in the Nagan Empire.

While he proves to be a natural warrior, strong and crafty in combat, Zian intimidates and terrifies other Reptilians for reasons neither they nor he can understand. As the novel continues, we learn what makes Zian different from his own people.

What makes your world special or different?

My world is set in the Dracos Constellation and it is the center of the Nagan Empire, where Reptilians rule hundreds, if not thousands, of planets. I wanted to play with the idea of an imperialist, fascist interplanetary empire ruled by a ruthless society that espoused hyper-masculinity  and a “survival of the fittest” mentality. I didn’t want this world to include humans or the solar system, though I was influenced by various cultures with the Aztecs, Japanese, and Sumerian among them, due to my interest in history.

What makes the world different is how I look at the Reptilians in their own fictional culture: the way they dress, the vocabulary they use, the other aliens they interact with, and their religious beliefs. There’s a great deal of world building that expands beyond my hodgepodge of influences and crafts an otherworldly society.

How does your main character fit into this world?

My main character is so involved in his world, yet he is an outsider. He is of a noble military family, and he possesses the qualities a soldier could want in an offspring: strong, bold, strategic, stoic, etc. Yet there is something about Zian that sets him apart from other Nagans. He exudes a power that is “Extra-Nagan”, outside of the Nagan world, that scares other Reptilians. This power leads him to uncovering a destiny he would have never dreamed of

Is there a system of magic?

Yes. In Nagan society, there are mages who wield a state-based form of magic that has been developed by the magically-inclined of Naga for millennia. These mages are a part of the priesthood, and they keep their practices secret, mostly devoted to religious ritual and ceremony work.

It’s with mages that Zian finds more of an understanding for his “Extra-Nagan” side, as he shows a natural inclination to magic as well. It’s problematic, since he is supposed to be a warrior, but his magic inclination proves to aid his warrior status.

The technology of the world is advanced, superior to our own. As this is a science-fantasy novel, there are massive starships, huge military bases, super computers, animation suspension chambers, the works. I love mixing genre, so I wanted to have a novel with high-tech science and occult fiction.

Is there anything special, precious, or unique about your world’s geography or its place in the universe?

            Yes. The skies are purple and the clouds are green. The world is lush with jungles and rainforests.

What are the two most interesting facts or features of your world?

The Reptilians have been conquering worlds for hundreds of years, and have a massive empire filled with a wide range of planets as a result. The military class is the highest class, right under the Imperial Family.

Is there a religious system in place?

Yes. The religious system of Naga is state-based, run by the empire, with little affection shown to outside religions. Extra-Nagans, or beings alien to Naga, are forced to assimilate into the Nagan religion.

I think the religion is where I show a great deal of Asian influence, particularly from Japanese and Chinese culture. The religion stresses loyalty to the Nagan society and upholding duty, very Confucius in its approach to hierarchal rank and respectability among family. The religion reinforces a group culture, where one can be ostracized if they step out of line. Meditation and scholarly pursuits are important among the priesthood, though a military man is seen as soft if he were to get too involved in temple life. Priests, priestess, mages, and eunuchs are the most religiously-inclined in this society. For everyone else, the temple is merely a backbone for Naga, as they focus on their occupational tasks.

What is one last thing you would like readers to know all about your world?

 Although this is a dark science-fiction story, I hope that Serpent King: Shadow and Light can help us look at how extreme nationalism and imperialism has displaced various people in our own reality. I also hope it can shed light on how we can participate in a society as well-meaning citizens and have a responsibility in making a culture or country better and fair to all, instead of feeling helpless or being complacent.


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