In the late 1970s and 1980s British writer Tanith Lee came out with the books that most defined her career: The Flat Earth series. These books were about an Arabian Nights never-never land of deserts, demons, innocent maidens, leering rakes, and magic. The first three, Night’s Master, Death’s Master, and Delusion’s Master dealt with, respectively, the three Demon Lords of Darkness: Azhrarn, Uhlume, and Chuz, who embody Evil, Death, and Madness. The fourth book, Delirium’s Mistress, introduces a new Demon Lord: Azhriaz, Azhrarn’s daughter, who is somewhat ambivalent about her title. The fourth book, Night’s Sorceries, continues her adventures.
Azhrarn, the most powerful of the Demon Lords, is the one consistent character throughout the books and the mover of most of the plots. He is described as an incredibly beautiful pale-skinned, dark-haired man and the inventor of carnal love — and, appropriately, pansexual. I’ve yet to see, however, a depiction that does him justice. The purple and turquoise illustration above, from a Japanese language version of Night’s Master, is the best of a rather tepid crop. Which is odd, given that character’s unearthly good looks and sinister morality should be a hot subject forfantasy artists. But the books do seem to have waned in popularity over the years, unlike LOTR and Narnia which had movie adaptations to support them and create buzz.
I could go on about the difficulty of adapting the Flat Earth books for the Netflix market, but that’s for another post.
On the other hand there’s no shortage of sultry, sulky, black-haired man-babe eye candy in fandom art that could stand in for the Demon Lord of Night, like the dude to the left.
The language of The Flat Earth (so named because it is, indeed, flat, with formless chaos at its borders) is consistent throughout the books, a mashup of Amharic, Arabic, and Hebrew. Female names end in -eh, male names in -em, -er, or -ar. If a character becomes a magic-user, their name is changed, women receiving the -as, -az, or -azh suffix, men -ek. Azhriazh, Azhrarn’s daughter, for example, was first known as Soveh, then Sovaz when she came into her magical powers.
I generated this list of words for fanfic or roleplay in this world for people, places, or things.
Flat Earth Names