Worldbuilding 0: Intro!
This might be a series, or it might be a one-off, but I put the (Intro) thing in the title because it would be nice if it was a series. I’m going to build a new world! That is definitely the best part of storytelling. First I’m going to do some analysis of two of the worlds I write in though, because I’m like that. The other worlds are either too small to make comments about, or (in the case of the Vailverse) secret!
A lot of the drabbles I write take place in the same universe – henceforth called the drabbleverse –, because it’s fun to have continuity and I wish I was Cordwainer Smith*. There are a few small things that separate this drabbleverse from ours, and they all grew forth pretty organically over the course of the year or so I’ve drabbld intensely.
The first thing of these is fate-days. On a fate-day, everything smells of iron, and you get one chance to change your life. Fate-days are allotted seemingly at random, and one can tell that one is coming up if the rate of coincidences one is encountering. Most people in the world knows this.
The second thing is the Immortal God of Death-Fate, who is channeled through the Machine of Death, which is basically two floating bowling balls with an EKG-line of electricity between them. It speaks directly to our hearts without going through our ears. It’s very cryptic and not very helpful, and follows the rules of other machines of death that exist**.
Another thing is that practically everything has been given agency again. This is not that very present but it is still noticeable in cases such as this one: http://kewangji.tumblr.com/post/12254790760/on-the-7th-of-may-2012-the-sun-found-its-goal, or this one: http://kewangji.tumblr.com/post/24968807842/cosmos-channeled-eyes-toward-charles-who-started. I say ‘again’, because, see, far back in time, through the eyes of humans, everything was given agency – the moon wanted to arc across the sky and the rivers wanted to flow. But with the advent of determinism and stuff agency’s been sort of slowly retracted to something only humans and certain animals have, but even that’s been called into question. Obviously the sun can’t be waiting for anything.
I like that these things exist in that world.
The world with the variable, the vessel and the vermin. The variable travels the universe and deletes unwitting or sturnfleen races of biologically or technically immortal idea machines. It does so in the vessel, also called the Anywhere Machine. Nobody remembers what the vermin is/are/was/were except that it’s bad for everything. The stories written in this universe are all titled “The Anywhere Machine [something something]”. Only story currently live is The Anywhere Machine, Appendix I – Futureful Skyful***, but believe me when I say that this setting is stuffed. And also dark. Many words have to be invented specifically for this world, like sturnfleen, and dymphnatics, and meaninglet.
So, what makes these worlds fun?
Probably contrast. The contrast of those worlds and the one I exist in right now (just passing through). Hopefully they are fun to read because of this – most everything that makes you want to read anything is contrast; any scene, any sentence needs conflict. And contrast is the confliction of metaphysical concepts. Next time I will think up a few details about this new world. I will leave this topic for a little while, though, and think up exciting subtitles for posts that start “Worldbuilding [x]:”.
Below you can find a list of failed ideas for what this world should be about.
- Instead of babies, humans lay eggs.
- Extraterrestrials have already invaded and brought us under their yokes: it turns out capitalism comes from space.
- Genetic memory is totally a thing, and people’s heads are becoming too large with all that information in their skulls.
- The walls of reality are but eggs and literally world-shattering things are waking up.
Actually, that last one is probably on the right track. Next Worldbuilding post will be about monsters.
* Cordwainer Smith has a Wikipedia article you should perhaps read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordwainer_Smith
** if you haven’t yet read it, read it: http://machineofdeath.net