I’m Nicholas Kotar. I write epic fantasy and science fiction inspired by Slavic fairy tales.
Fairy tales have profound, even spiritual meaning that makes them worth reading again and again. Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin suggests in his wonderful lecture “The Spiritual Meaning of Stories” that they are indispensable for those of us who have lost our ability to see and appreciate the beautiful and transcendent in life.
I write for readers who love classic fantasy like The Lord of the Rings, but who aren’t afraid of a little darkness and honesty about the human condition. I also write for seekers after truth and beauty (like myself) and for those who feel trapped by modernity with a fresh take on traditional values and storytelling.
Fairy tales are the inspiration for the battles of good against evil - both epic and intimate - in my work. Aside from classic Slavic writers, the authors that most inspire me are J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Gene Wolfe, N. K. Jemisin, and Catherynne M. Valente.
My fascination with literature of the imagination goes way back to the days when my friends and I created an alternate version of Narnia, called Wreathlea (I don’t know? It had a lot of wreaths maybe?). We had a Stone Witch instead of a White Witch and an enchanted princess who had been turned into a Golden Evergreen.
Instead of playing with toys, we would go outside and look for cloud formations in the shape of lions. Except in our version, he was called Seaze, not Aslan. I can only imagine what the neighbors were thinking, watching us standing outside, staring at the sky, screaming “Seaze! Where are you?” with all our might…
Other masterpieces of childhood included “Duels of Space,” which started as a standard riff on Star Wars but eventually included ninjas riding the backs of warrior bears…
(Come to think of it, not much has changed. I still have warriors riding bears in my books!)
For the Symbolic World, I will be exploring how storytelling traditions and their symbolism can help us in one of the most important tasks facing humanity today: the creation of authentic Christian culture for a post-Christian age.