How did I conceive of the world and story of Heirs of Sun and Storm?
I was influenced by a host of films, books, TV shows, games, and comics from around the globe. Of course, these include cultivation novels and cyberpunk books among other things. While I did not specifically emulate or pay homage to any of the below works or creators, you can spot splashes of influence from them throughout the story. And you might have noticed an Easter Egg or two!
On the Western side, the influences span decades. Organized by publication date, they include: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), Fahrenheit 451 (1953), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), Escape from New York (1981), Tron (1982), Blade Runner (1982), Neuromancer (1984), Robocop (1987) plus subsequent incarnations, Shadowrun (1989) plus subsequent incarnations and media, Mean Streets (1989), Rise of the Dragon (1990), Total Recall (1990), Martian Memorandum (1991), Under a Killing Moon (1994), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Judge Dredd (1995), Shadowfist (1995-2013), Gattaca (1997), The Fifth Element (1997), The Matrix (1999) plus sequels and other media, Dark Angel (2000-2002), Altered Carbon (2002), Equilibrium (2002), Minority Report (2002), Person of Interest (2011-2016), Dredd (2012), Looper (2012), Continuum (2012-2015), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), and Altered Carbon (2018). And I couldn’t leave out the works of Raymond Chandler, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and more.
On the Eastern side, the inspirations span centuries: Water Margin a.k.a. Outlaws of the Marsh (late 14th century), Journey to the West (1592), Akira (1982 manga), Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983), Akira (1988 movie), Appleseed (1988), Battle Angel (1993), Ghost in the Shell (1995), Storm Riders (1998), Now and Then, Here and There (1999), Legend of Zu (2001), Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. (2002), Sage Monarch (2012), I Shall Seal the Heavens (2014), and A Will Eternal (2016). And there was much inspiration from the works of creators like Jin Yong, Gu Long, Ma Wing-Shing, Tony Wong, and Chor Yuen. I should point out that Sage Monarch, I Shall Seal the Heavens, and A Will Eternal are series that I personally translated from Chinese to English, with a total word count of around 8,000,000. To put that into context, the Harry Potter series is a bit over 1,000,000 words long.
I’m sure there are a few that skipped my mind. If nothing else, the above list certainly contains many book recommendations, I imagine you'd agree. In any case, after stewing in my head for decades, the ideas and concepts I absorbed from the above creative works coalesced into something all its own: Heirs of Sun and Storm. I hope you enjoyed this first installment. Trust me when I say there’s a lot more to come!