Saturday, March 22, 2014

Five kinds of wings in fantasy

1. Feathered wings

The most common type, though these could be as varied as actual feathers are. Not just in color but in purpose too—there’s a species of bird which has a surprisingly large repertoire of sounds it can make with its wings.

Owls’ wings have also evolved to be nearly soundless in flight—an advantage for hunters.

2. Skin wings

Like bats, whose wings are sensitive enough to detect changes in air temperature and currents, meaning bats can make swift changes to their flight patterns. This would be great for an interspecies romance too—imagine the wings being an erogenous zone.

It’s been a while since I read Anne Bishop’s Daughter of the Blood, but her Eyrians might be like this—if anyone can confirm, please let me know in the comments!

3. Insect wings

I like insect wings the most, perhaps because they look so fragile. The veins running through them help to strengthen them, but it would be interesting to see these scaled up to humanoid size. That would also raise the question of whether the humanoid could hover like a dragonfly, and whether the wings would be concealed in cases when not used in flight.

4. Mechanical wings

The Icarii of Dru Pagliasotti’s Clockwork Heart have metal wings, but these can be adapted for defense and attack as well. In the X-Men comics, Archangel’s wings had metal feathers which could be fired as projectiles, and such wings could also have guns mounted on them, similar to rotary cannons or even air-to-air missile launchers. Provided, of course, that they didn’t weigh the flyer down too much.

5. Magical wings

The angels’ wings in the Diablo video games are great examples of this.

As well as looking cool, the tentacles are also prehensile and can grasp at enemies. I love that dual purpose.


Unknown said...

Thank you Marion! I never thought about it. I suppose I'd like to see insect wings on humans, a double set like dragonflies. Great post.

Evelyn (a fellow AW-er)

gypsyscarlett said...

I find the skin wings especially interesting. Have been meaning to read Anne Bishop. My ever-growing list. :)

Marian Perera said...

Hi Evelyn!

Thanks for commenting. I think about odd things. :) My next list-of-five post is probably going to be about teeth in fantasy, even more odd.

Tasha - her first Black Jewels book was great. For some reason, though, I never got around to reading the sequels. Then I bought a prequel, The Invisible Ring, and that was a turnoff.

But I do want to make it through the sequels some day.