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.