Category: Writing – Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding Wednesday 5/9/18: The Wild West

Yippee-ki-yay! The Western is a uniquely American form of cinema and literature taking its plot, characters, and setting from the American Old West in the years 1850 to 1900. Cowboys (and cowgirls) ride horses, bear rifles and revolvers, and often live a nomadic life drifting through small towns, ranches, saloons, and military forts in the …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 5/2/18: States of Confusion
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  Imaginary U.S. States are not as widely used in fiction as imaginary countries are, even though their pedigree is longer. Anthony Trollope created one of the first, Mickewa, for his satirical novel The American Senator in 1877, and Vladimir Nabokov the fictional state of Udana for Lolita.  Thomas Wolfe contributed Catawba, based on South …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 4/25/18: Pern

Anne McCaffrey wrote a long-running series of books about the backward planet of Pern and its giant, telepathic dragons used to combat “thread” – an invasive space spore that filtered down from an adjacent orbiting body — by burning from the air with their fiery breath. Pern had a pseudo-Medieval culture and the dragons a …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 4/18/18: Superheroes

Thor looks disgruntled here (or maybe pleased? It’s hard to tell) but many other superheroes would be happy to take a break from their regular rounds of protecting the innocent. Maybe even some of these randomly generated ones. (Jules Feiffer’s The Great Comic Book Heroes remains the best introduction I’ve read to the history of …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 4/11/18: Cursed Magic Items

Sometimes a dungeon master, or an author or game writer, wants to toy with their characters. Not in a life-ending way, but just to vex them a little. The following items do just that. Cursed Magic Items Spoon of Canine Mucous: Any food this item touches turns into dog drool. Iol-Del’s Unlucky Siphon: This flexible …

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A Medieval Feast

Next were borne round dishes of carp, pilchards, and lobsters, and there after store enew of meats: a fat kid roasted whole and garnished peas on a spacious silver charger, kid pasties, plates of meat’s tongues and sweetbreads, sucking rabbits in jellies, hedgehogs baked in their skins, hogs’ haslets, carbonadoes, chitterlings, and dormouse pies. — …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 4/4/18: Zimiamvia

In The Worm Ouroboros E.R. Eddison dazzles the reader with innumerable exotic and fantastically named people, places, and things. Unfortunately, they don’t all adhere to a consistent linguistic base, and no less a luminary like J.R.R. Tolkien criticized the author for this. Some character names sound Latin, such as Laxus, Corinius, Corund, and Corsus. Others …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/28/18: The Lord of the Things, Part IV

The great shadow descended like a falling cloud. And behold! It was a winged creature: if bird, then greater than all other birds, and it was naked, and neither quill nor feather did it bear, and its vast pinions were as webs of hide between horned fingers; and it stank. A creature of an older …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/21/18: The Lord of the Things, Part III

One of the important differences between Lord of the Rings and earlier fantasies is in Tolkien’s protagonists. Frodo, Merry, Pippin, and Sam are not high-powered warriors like those in Germanic and Norse legend, exemplified by Lord Juss and Brandoch Daha in E.R. Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros, which I’m reading now. Neither do they fit the …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/14/18: The Lord of the Things, Part II

Here we are moving on to more characters in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with more variations. So hypothetical Freudno Buffins of Buff End can have brave-hearted companions like Gjori the Dwarf and Laegolach the Elf. There are other Tolkien name generators, of course. Most of them, to my eyes at least, work on …

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