Category: Writing – Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding Wednesday 4/7/21: Atompunk Computers

Atompunk computers deserve their own nomenclature. Running on vacuum tubes and early transistors, and programmed with miles of magnetic tape and punch cards, in the media they were mostly objects of menace. Many classic SF stories of the age revolve around artificial intelligence taking charge of humans and becoming their overlord. In the movie Colossus: …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/31/21: Atompunk Robots

Atompunk robots (those in media from 1945 – 1965) tend to have the same sort of names. Short ones like Gort, cutesy ones like Robbie or Tobor (“Robot” spelled backwards) or functional ones combining scientific terms with letters and numbers. That’s the sort I was after here with this randomly generated list. These names showed …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/24/21: Anarres and Urras

Ursula K. LeGuin’s political science fiction novel The Dispossessed has as its subtitle “An Ambiguous Utopia.” But screw that. Isn’t this a whamdoodle of a cover? Twin worlds, close enough to touch, one lush and green, one red like Mars but cratered like the Moon, done up in a riotous rainbow of colors? (I’ll do …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/17/21: The Best of
xxxxTwittersnips (Off the Map)

You have to look closely at this map until it begins to look a little familiar…. (It’s Europe with water and land masses reversed and relabeled as new countries.) Like the map, here’s some places that currently don’t exist, but could.   Imaginary Places German  cities / towns Ulmesslen, Münrach, Spargán, Amsprechtdanberg, Munsilacht Icelandic  cities …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/10/21: Let’s Talk About
xxxxWakanda

The 2018 Marvel movie Black Panther featured an advanced yet isolated African kingdom called Wakanda which is the birthplace of the titular superhero character, T’Challa, who is its King. Wakanda is powered by vibranium, one of those rare yet powerful imaginary elements favored by comic writers. Vibranium is both a blessing and a curse: blessing, …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/3/21: Fairy Tales III

This illustration by Arthur Rackham appeared on the cover of a book of Grimm’s fairy tales given to me by my parents. I forget the name of the story, but in it, the child hero, who is peeking out of the stove at the illustration’s approximate center, is hiding from the ogre. He has been …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 2/17/21: Fairy Tales II

The plasticity of fairy tales is demonstrated by these illustrations of Beauty and the Beast from over the years. In the original fairy tale, the Beast is never explicitly described, so artists had to use their imaginations. From the top left, going clockwise, he’s a spotted hyena, a wolf-boar, a very weird walrus-mole hybrid, and …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 2/10/21: Fairy Tales I

Fairy tales were not intended for children. I repeat that, fairy tales were NOT intended for children. Just take a look at the Kay Nielson illustration for Cinderella above. Despite the name, Kay is a he, a classically trained Danish artist who worked heavily during the first half of the 20th century. The moment depicts …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 2/3/21: Blues Singers

Entirely by coincidence, I found out that tables used for generating magic spells could also generate names suitable for blues singers from the first half of the twentieth century. Enjoy!   Blues Singers Sissy Withers Addie Gate Sister Willie Ella Denny Durst Quincy Pearl Slow Soft Bird Nickie Jackson Jerris Howler Jerkie Davis Viola Peach …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 1/13/21: Ancient Empires

  Over the summer as I was immersed in Narnia I read a lot about the Old Testament, and in turn about the ancient civilizations of the Near and Middle East. Most people know of Ur, Assyria, and the Phoenicians, but there were many others more obscure — Adiabene, the Girgashites, Hayasa-Azzi. Some were kingdoms, …

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