When we look at something as big as a #SFF tetralogy, a “single’ inspiration isn’t sensible. It’s hard to write 4×150,000 words about something in the singular sense of one inspiration.

We can, perhaps, digest a pattern of events into something that has a unifying theme, but isn't properly solitary.

I had a day job for decades guiding organizations on their journeys into new technology. I guided people into new programming languages, operating systems, databases, and ways of building software. I took time off and wrote several non-fiction books on one narrow part of these technology journeys. (Not under this name, however.)

My career is a series of stories about technology adoption and adaptation. These can be retold as a mage journeying into new realms of magic.

Plus sword fights. Which didn’t actually happen. But they did happen metaphorically.

Much of what happens in The Forge is based on individual stories. My partner recognizes a few elements and asked about the real-world versions.

“It can’t be like that. Can it?”

“Yes. And. It was actually weirder and more frustrating in the real world. I thought I knew what was going on, but, stuff kept happening. It’s like an organization has a horizon, and stuff arises over the horizon that you don’t find out about until five hours later. I had to tone some of it down for the book. Dysfunction has to have a name for it to make sense.”


The book has sword fights.

I spent decades studying the martial arts. I know a little bit about fighting bare-handed as well as using swords (And a smattering of other Japanese martial-arts weapons like sai, tonfa, bo, jo, and tanbo.)

In the real-world, these manifest themselves as angry memos and resignations. Or angry memos, no resignation, and a perpetual “Now what?” of trying to work with someone who’s angry, but won’t leave. What will they do to subvert the others in the organization? Or angry memos and an organization change, and suddenly there’s this other, better-funded team, making technology pronouncements that are supposed to apply universally. In the book, that’s a mess and people will die. In the real-world, people’s souls are crushed when they realize the organization doesn’t value them.

In the technology realm, cooperation is essential. If folks can’t agree, time and money are wasted. This this grows and morphs and blossoms into the magic system of The Forge.