How was The Phoenix Project inspired by my love of games, film and books?
Science fiction, fantasy and general geek culture have always been a huge part of my life. Growing up it was Star Wars, Marvel, anime, and a fixation with the Final Fantasy game series. As an adult, I am working my way through the great sci-fi and dystopian films and books of our time. Also, I am discovering an immense love of all things fantasy (especially those which include immersive world-building such as Game of Thrones).
When my debut novel, The Phoenix Project, was released I decided to delve into the themes and ideas within the book to see which of these geek culture influences made their mark upon my writing.
Geek culture element #1: The Cloud/Squall type
My protagonist, Raven, started out as a Cloud Strife/Squall Leonheart lone-wolf type character. Headstrong, independent, steadfastly avoiding others in favour of skulking around alone. He makes no effort to befriend others, preferring his own morose company. Cloud was (and is) my all-time love. Roll on the FFVII remake <3! (Check out my Final Fantasy Pinterest board for lots of cool images)
Geek culture element #2: The highly skilled fight
Isn’t there always something exciting, though undoubtedly disturbing, about a high-pressure, adrenaline-fuelled fight to the death? Maybe it was my obsession with computer games as a child that led me to use this concept for my first novel. Tekken was my personal favourite beat ‘em up and what really appealed to me about these games was the fact that each character had their individual strengths and special moves. However, at the end of the day, the power was really in the hands of external forces (call it fate, destiny or some kind of deity).
Geek culture element #3: The Boss Battle
One of my favourite elements to any type of game is the ‘boss battle’. That peculiar mixture of apprehension and excitement that accompanies stepping into a fight you probably won’t emerge from (the first time I walked into the final fight with Sephiroth, and One Winged Angel started playing I swear my heart stopped for a moment!). That buzz was something I hoped to communicate in The Phoenix Project when Raven is forced to battle some of the near-invincible superstars of the prison.
Geek culture element #4: The fight to the death
There is also an element of Battle Royale, The Hunger Games and The Running Man to this novel, though I like to think my book is perhaps more psychological (and a wee bit disturbing!)
Geek culture element #5: A dystopian future
I can also see the very strong influence of dystopia in my books. Room 101 from George Orwell’s ‘1984’ inspired one section of the book, then there’s the oppressive feel to games such as Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry, Lost Odyssey etc.
All of these influences have shaped who I am as a person, and as such, have helped me to write a book that is very dear to my heart. If you enjoy the same type of things that I have mentioned within this post, why not check out The Phoenix Project and maybe you’ll see something of yourself in it too.
This post was originally featured on the blog of author Wendy J Scott: