A way with worlds: 19 - World View: Evolving with Alicia Ashby
by Steven Savage of Seventh Sanctum
Page 1 of 2
This is going to be a bit different from my usual columns -
instead of me talking to the audience, I'm interviewing an author
who has built a strong continuity-driven fiction series. This
will be an irregular feature, exploring the ideas and concepts of
unique individuals and how they created their worlds.
Imagine a world of living biotechnology, a secret
criminal conspiracy, and two enemies-turned-friends who discover
the world and each other are not what they thought. The powers of
nature, the balance of man and his environment, all spiral
towards a terrifying conclusion as ignorance, greed, love, and
heroism combine . . .
In Pokemon: Evolution.
Yes, Pokemon - Pokemon
turned into Hong Kong Film Noir twelve years down the road. This
isn't a standard fanfiction: it's an extrapolated look at a world
while trying to keep true to the themes of the original tales and
game. Its a developed possible-future story with culture,
characters, and causality. With such a tight continuity, I
figured an interview with its main creator and writer, Alicia
Ashby, would be invaluable.
If you want to find the
stories, you can find them here at fanfiction.net by searching
for the title "Pokemon: Evolution", its author (under
her nom de plume of "Lynxara") or following these links (if
fanfiction.net hasn't rearranged its database)
Or visit Evolution's home
And now, on to the the
<StevenSavage> Well, let's start from the top.
Pokemon: Evolution is a complete world, a look at Pokemon twelve
years into the future in a very detailed setting. How did this
<Alicia> Well, the
idea had profoundly humble beginnings. It started when my
co-writer, DamienK, wanted to run a metaconcept of a canon
character in an IRC roleplay channel I frequented.
<Alicia> So, he made a
list of 16 anime characters he'd like to play. He went strictly
for character who he thought were unpopular or 'second string'. A
lot of folks like, say, Ah My Goddess' Keiichi Morisato were on
Unfortunately, I can't get more specifics... but Gary Oak was on
there, too, as Damien had gotten to really like the character's
concept from the videogame and anime.
Damien also made a list of 16 very 'odd' occupations... things
like sentai hero, bounty hunter... and, well, one was 'hitman'.
<Alicia> His plan was
to use a scheme of coin-flipping based on binary numbers to match
a character to an odd occupation.
<StevenSavage> And the
deciding that 'Megumi Morisato' and 'sentai hero' was completely
unworkable, he flipped again and got 'Gary Oak' and 'hitman'.
<Alicia> The end
result was Adauchi.
that Gary's name from the original animated series?
<Alicia> No. Gary's
original name was 'Shigeru'. 'Adauchi' is Japanese for
'vengeance', and we refer to him like for a very particular and
spoiler-laden story reason.
<StevenSavage> I won't
pry for the sake of future readers.
<Alicia> I become a
part of this when Damien plays Adauchi a few times, likes the
concept, but finds the power level of the roleplay is too high to
do much with an ordinary human. He asks me about making a
companion character for him.
that character is?
<Alicia> That would be
Satoshi. The design came to me very quickly, as did the bare
concept of what Evolution's world would be. Damien had only
sketchy notes for how Gary and turned out the way he did, and
part of why he asked me to get involved was to help flesh out the
world and see what other things might have changed.
Satoshi, is, essentially, Ash, the hero of Pokemon, evolved as it
<Alicia> Precisely. He
also seemed, out of all the canon cast to choose from, the one
who would be most interesting to bounce off of Damien's idea.
<StevenSavage> So the
two archnemeses, in your concept, were now companions.
<Alicia> By necessity.
Ash started out as something of an NPC 'guide' character. For the
fanfic, we had fewer character and more control of the plot, so
Ash become more of a true protagonist there.
enough, Evo's story changed and grew over time.
<StevenSavage> So you
started as role-play, and that became the fanfic. How did this
come about? And what was it like to play such characters who,
originally, were antagonists?
characters had an enormous amount of chemistry with each other
stemming from their history as antagonists.
<StevenSavage> Sort of
the classic old-movie concept of you need to be able to dislike
someone to like them?
<Alicia> Somewhat like
that, though not quite.
<StevenSavage> Go on,
<Alicia> We were
playing mostly from anime canon, and the anime canon paints Gary
much more as a self-centered jerk than as a real antagonist.
towards the end of the first season, he's portrayed as simply
being a 'competitor' of Ash's rather than someone who's out to
harm him in some way.
less hatred, more . . . jerk.
They were more two little boys who wanted the same toy and
couldn't share, in my opinion. And that played into their
relationship as adults... on one hand, they sympathize with each
other, but on the other, they often irritate each other
<StevenSavage> So with
the relationship and the characters established, how did this
bloom into the current storyline?
<Alicia> Well, when we
finished the Evolution campaigns, we decided that some of the
events there were interesting enough to warrant being shared with
<StevenSavage> So you
brought your storyline to a close, your RPG, and then made them
<Alicia> Right. The
current projected plot of the fanfic will almost blend all our
RPG storylines into one that sort of sums up the entire
worldsetting and everything we're saying about it, and about
other things, too.
<StevenSavage> Ah, so
the fiction uses as well as extends on your roleplaying
experiences. A "directors cut" of the world, in a way?
<Alicia> That would be
the best way to describe it, yeah. The fanfic has more depth than
the roleplays did, and that's intentional.Next Page
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