Orconomics: A Satire
By J. Zachary Pike
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
High Comedy Meets Hi gh Fantasy in a Best Selling Satire
The adventuring industry drives the economy of Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. On Arth, professional heroes are hired to slay fantastic creatures with magic weapons. The beasts’ treasure is hauled back to town and divided among investors.
A Fateful Decision
Since his career as a professional hero ended in failure decades ago, Gorm Ingerson’s life has been a cycle of petty crime, heavy drinking and avoiding the Heroes’ Guild. But when the Dwarf helps a Goblin secure its NPC documents, he quickly finds himself in the clutches of the guild’s enforcers.
A Deadly Quest
Guild justice means certain death for Gorm, but his captors present him with an alternative: to join a party of misfit adventurers on a quest to join a feeble priest with delusions of destiny. But the only clear thing about the work of the mad goddess is its danger: nobody has attempted to fulfill her prophecy and survived.
A Roll of the Dice
It will take all of Gorm’s Dwarven resolve to survive political intrigue, fundamentalist lizard men, purse kobolds, healing potion addicts, and worse. Yet even if he succeeds, it may not be enough to protect his party from the dark secret behind their quest.
Get to Know J. Zachary Pike
J. Zachary Pike was once a basement-dwelling fantasy gamer, but over time he metamorphosed into a basement-dwelling fantasy writer. He has written and directed several award-winning shorts, including Zelig Award winner "The Toll" and "Endurance Challenge: Mordred's Isle" starring Billy West.
1. Your book couldn’t have come at a better time, in light of this recent Presidential campaign that has turned out to be one of the worst jokes in America’s history. So tell us, Zachary, what made you write a satirical story?
I’ve been writing fantasy humor since I was in high school, but I always felt my writing lacked… heft. A connection. It was just gaming jokes. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was a satirist without anything to satirize. The financial calamity of 2008 changed that— I lost my job and gained a ton of perspective on how the actions of a privileged few can impact us all.
2. Without giving too much of your plot away, what can a reader expect after having read your book?
I think it’s a fun take on both finance and fantasy tropes, woven around a character-driven story. If I’m dreaming big, I hope some readers will get a new perspective on the way the system can be skewed in favor of certain people, and recognize the meaningful changes we need to pursue if we’re to create a more just society. But I suspect most people just love the characters and laugh at the jokes, which is wonderful in its own right.
3. Since you write in the fantasy genre, who are some of your favorite well-known authors in the same genre?
I’ve idolized Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams since I was a kid. Tolkien is the grandfather of the genre, and I was quite the Middle-Earth buff in grade school and high school. And I read a lot of Dungeons and Dragons fantasy by Weiss and Hickman or R.A. Salvatore.
4. I absolutely love the cover of your book. How did you come up with its concept?
Thanks! The easiest way I could think of to combine the concept of money and Orcs was to put an Orc on money, and that gave me an idea for the portrait. I originally designed my own cove; it was just the Orc-as-Lincoln portrait that I drew. That gave me the idea for bookmarks that look like 5 giltin bills—I still distribute these at comic-conventions I visit.
When I went to James at Bookfly Design to redo my cover, I wanted him to incorporate the 5 giltin bill, while hinting at the violence and injustice in the book. He had the idea to put the bill on fire, which I think was brilliant. I’m still doing illustration for my books, but after working with Bookfly I’m done designing my own covers.
5. What was Zachary’s life like growing up?
I won’t say it was easy, but any hardship I experienced was self-inflicted. I grew up in a forested New England neighborhood with loving parents who encouraged and supported me. Unfortunately, as a kid and teenager I was really opinionated, judgmental, and kind of mean, without being nearly attractive enough to pull that off. So I wasn’t terribly popular, either.
I read a lot. I played a lot of games with friends. I did Drama club. I had fun with my family. I never knew how good I had it. There are loads of things I’d do differently, but overall it’s hard to regret a childhood like that.
6. How did you come up with the title of Orconomics?
I’m not the first person to use the pun. I heard it when playing with some D&D players back in college—they were actually joking about the economic system based on looting treasure. And I’m fairly certain there was a character named Orconomics on a Warcraft server that my old roommate used to play on. When I decided to give my story a satirical bent based on the great recession, it popped into my head and stuck there.
7. If Orconomics became a motion picture, what actor would you like to play Gorm Ingerson?
Ok, side note—if Orconomics was a movie, I’d absolutely love for it to be animated. Like a Pixar / Dreamworks kind of thing. I’m a former animator, and there’s some scenes the book that animation could just make more vibrant and funny and lively than live action. So even though he’s completely the wrong body type, I’d cast Gerard Butler as Gorm. He pulled of Stoick in How to Train Your Dragon, and he’d make an amazing Ingerson.
8. I hear you were a big time fantasy gamer. Is this where your world opened to write fantasy novels?
It’s a big part of it, and a lot of the inside-jokes in the books are based on games or gaming. A lot of fantasy gaming—especially RPGs—is about telling a story to yourself, or participating in a story with a small group. It felt like a natural extension to take away the mechanics and just keep telling stories.
9. If you weren’t a writer, what would Zachary be doing?
Probably gaming more. Definitely sleeping more.
10. How many years have you been writing?
Since I was sixteen, so over two decades. Though as a disclaimer, I’ll add that most of it was horrible.
11. What are you most passionate about?
I can get really, really wrapped up in my own stories. I think that’s the passion that encompasses the other ones. My political views, relationships, faith, hobbies, and lots of other little parts of myself get blended into this narrative that I go over and over in my head, all the time. I’ll laugh if I think about a funny scene, and even get a bit misty eyed when I think about some of the more poignant moments. And I used to think I was kind of silly to be that emotional over a story you made up, but I’ve learned to accept that my book is really the sum of my passions.
Besides, if you’re book doesn’t move you, it’s probably not going to do much for your readers.
12. I see you’re an award-winning writer of shorts, have you reached your goals? And if not, what can we expect to see and/or read from Zachary in the future?
I have a lot of writing goals in the future. Orconomics is the first in a trilogy, and I could write Gorm for a long, long time, But my animation years are behind me. Animating was a wonderful experience, but writing is a better fit for me in a number of ways. It’s a faster way to create, and I’m slow at all of these things, so all the speed I can get helps. Plus, with kids and a career I don’t have a lot of time for collaboration, but I can write alone in my basement. And I do.
Side note: Thanks for having me on the blog. These were great questions, and I really appreciate the thought and research you put into them.
Aaw thank you so much for your kind words! Mello & June wishes Zachary the absolute best! It was great having him take time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions and indulge a bit into the literary scene. Please come back anytime, and best of luck on your novel and future works. Readers, make sure you show your love to this fellow author by using the links below. There's 9 days left to the #Giveaway. Hurry! Don't Delay! Good Luck!
CONTACT THE AUTHOR/FIND THE BOOK
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Win A Kindle Paperwhite with a digital copy of Orconomics: A Satire –
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer
Whoever said you have to Write What you Know
doesn't have a Creative Mind!