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Bardos
April 9th, 2003, 02:37 PM
A fantasy world can be like no other you've ever seen. It doesn't have to turn around on an axis, it doesn't even have to be a globe!

In scifi things are different, of course; there, you need a scientific explanation on how things work the way they do.

So, this topic is about fantasy worlds and how original they can be, or scifi worlds and how well-explained they are. Talk about your ideas, or about other authors' ideas!


Personaly, I was really impresed by Brian Aldiss' Helliconia. Everything was scientificaly explained, and it work fine. A different world than ours, yet plausible! (I'm no Physics geek, but I think it was good. ;) )

To move to a fantasy world, I'll talk about myself. :D I have two suns (the big one rising fron the East amd setting in the West, and the smaller one rising from the West and seting in the East) and four moons. I don't think that two suns moving in opposite circles are plausible (at least with the Laws we know so far!), but in a world where there are other weird things also, I think it's OK. Other weird things like three Power Tokens (perhaps not the best translation for it, since the original is writen in Greek :)), put there by the Gods to stabilize the world's three Stability Centers. And, if the Tokens are broken, then chaos follows for whole continents...

Anyway, my point is that there are no Stability Centers in reality! Thought, in fantasy it's good to try weird ideas like that -- at least, I do like it. ;)

But where do you think are the limits? And what rules should be followed? For example, I think that a fantasy writer MUST give an explanation for everything, and if not write it in his/her story, then al least s/he is good to KNOW about it.

Also, what do you think about a flat world, not a global one?

I know I'm posing too many question at once, but: Let the discussion begin!!

(I think this hasn't been discussed before in SFFWorld.com -- prove me wrong if thou dare! :p :D)

Richardb
April 9th, 2003, 05:29 PM
I often build a world and then populate it with stories, leading eventually to a novel (maybe). My most well worked fantasy world is Garithzar. It is a cylendar capped on the ends. The upper surface is typical fantasy fare, and really only differentiated from any other world by the lack of plate techtonics, and the fact that, due to heavy tilt on its axis, the southern part of the cylendar is super heated desert ending in a 50 mile wall (something has to hold the atmosphere in).
Underneath is Czarin Dresda, on the inside of the cylendar. In near total darkness, and very cold except for the far southern portions, where the normal races from above have mutated and adapted to life in the dark. Animal and plant life are obviously vastly different, as are political and religious structures.
I currently have about 200 pages detailing the world and its mechanics (realms, cultures, races, politics, etc). I have some short stories and story lines, but no major writings about this place yet. What I find is that you can make anything you want, but you do have to give it enough depth to at least suspend disbelief.
You need to know the world and use it to help build your story (at least I do). I agree, however, that the intent is to try new things, build new places and ideas, and stretch the genre.

Pluvious
April 9th, 2003, 07:20 PM
I think a flat world would be very interesting. Imagine the potential story lines, not to mention the irony!

Richard, your idea sounds mega cool also. I once read a book on caving where a fish was discovered underground that had no eyes. The cavers tried to catch it with their hands but couldn't even get close, despite the fact that the transparent creature lived in a pool of water about a foot in length and depth. Evolution is spiffy.

As far as fantasy worlds go, they need to be real worlds (unless it's a dream or something). Even if it is a make believe story.

In my novel(s) I'm working on parallel worlds, which creates special problems. Geography and the placement of temperate, tropical, or mountainous regions must be made apparent so that the reader will remember it (for the sake of the story at a later point). This means that mountains or forests or whatever must be in the same place in both worlds or there must be a reason why they aren't.

Maybe someone can help me now that I think about it. What type of terrain/climate normally and/or can potentially surround tropical jungles (in our world)? Some real world examples would be nice. Thanks.

Richardb
April 9th, 2003, 10:18 PM
Originally posted by Pluvious
I think a flat world would be very interesting. Imagine the potential story lines, not to mention the irony!

Richard, your idea sounds mega cool also. I once read a book on caving where a fish was discovered underground that had no eyes. The cavers tried to catch it with their hands but couldn't even get close, despite the fact that the transparent creature lived in a pool of water about a foot in length and depth. Evolution is spiffy.

As far as fantasy worlds go, they need to be real worlds (unless it's a dream or something). Even if it is a make believe story.

In my novel(s) I'm working on parallel worlds, which creates special problems. Geography and the placement of temperate, tropical, or mountainous regions must be made apparent so that the reader will remember it (for the sake of the story at a later point). This means that mountains or forests or whatever must be in the same place in both worlds or there must be a reason why they aren't.

Maybe someone can help me now that I think about it. What type of terrain/climate normally and/or can potentially surround tropical jungles (in our world)? Some real world examples would be nice. Thanks.
Jungles can be surrounded by savanna commonly, or scrub equally as common. It is also not completely uncommon for jungle to run into desert after a stretch of savanna or scrub.

milamber_reborn
April 9th, 2003, 11:59 PM
Is it Feist or Jordan who has two suns? One of them anyway.

Bardos
April 10th, 2003, 02:00 AM
I agree with Richardb about the jungle. Also, cylinder world is indeed cool, and you have done so much world-building there (200 pages!? !}@|@{! )

Milamber, I think none of them has two suns, but in Dragonlance they have three moons, a red one, a white one, and a black one (cn't remember their names now). Each one represents a kind of magic -- neutrail magi for the red, good magic of the white, and evil magic for the black. OK, it's a bit cheesy and D&Dish, but pretty nit suff anyway. ;)


But, still, what do you think are the limits (if there are any) in building a strange world?

Richardb
April 10th, 2003, 09:24 AM
I don't see any reason for their to be limits, as long as you can give some credense to how something came to be. Even a flat world could have been constructed via magical or technilogical means, and can have interesting attributes.

pcarney
April 10th, 2003, 01:26 PM
Originally posted by Bardos

But, still, what do you think are the limits (if there are any) in building a strange world?

I don't see any limits as long as what you present is consistent. Make the laws whatever you like, but don't break them.

The trick is presenting these laws without the dreaded information dump.

KatG
April 11th, 2003, 11:59 AM
Originally posted by Bardos

To move to a fantasy world, I'll talk about myself. :D I have two suns (the big one rising fron the East amd setting in the West, and the smaller one rising from the West and seting in the East) and four moons. I don't think that two suns moving in opposite circles are plausible (at least with the Laws we know so far!), but in a world where there are other weird things also, I think it's OK. Other weird things like three Power Tokens (perhaps not the best translation for it, since the original is writen in Greek :)), put there by the Gods to stabilize the world's three Stability Centers. And, if the Tokens are broken, then chaos follows for whole continents...

Well, lets see, if you have two suns moving in opposite directions, then that means that these two suns -- stars -- are on opposite sides of the planet. Which means that your fantasy planet never has any night -- it's always day. Which could be interesting, but which sun does the planet orbit around? Does it orbit around both, producing a double helix year of some very long length? What are the seasons like? Is one sun weaker (farther away and/or smaller) than the other and how does that effect time, light and seasons? If it doesn't, what's the fantasy magical explanation for it? Or do the natives think that the suns orbit around the planet? You'd still have to explain the effects of the two suns on the planet though. I imagine that this planet would be rather hot and dry or maybe very jungly like a life-sustaining Venus.

I don't know if you're trying something comic or not, but a fun series for you to look at would be Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Disworld is flat and rides on the back of four giant elephants standing on a giant tortoise. Pratchett's written, I don't know, 40 books set in the place? Might be helpful.



But where do you think are the limits? And what rules should be followed? For example, I think that a fantasy writer MUST give an explanation for everything, and if not write it in his/her story, then al least s/he is good to KNOW about it.

Also, what do you think about a flat world, not a global one?



I don't think it's a matter of limits. I've read sf where there's not much explanation for how things got the way they are and I've read fantasy with minute explanations for how everything in the world developed. The big difference between the two, the one that tends to put one in Slot A and the other in Slot B, is that in a sf story, there's some scientific explanation or set-up for what is going on and in a fantasy story, there's no explanation or a fantastical, non-scientific explanation for what's going on. For instance, if you have vampires and it's explained that they're really suffering from a bizarre blood deficiency disease that creates certain biological effects or if your vampire is an alien visitor with a different biology than ours, then your vampire story is science fiction. If your vampires shy at crosses, turn into wolves, and drink blood because their evil undead, then it's a fantasy story. If space colonists land on a planet years ago and begin a telepathic partnership with the native inhabitants, it's science fiction. If witches telepathically bond with animal familiars as the result of a spell or innate magic talents, it's fantasy, and so on.

So I think it's more a matter of making whatever world set-up you have credible within the context of the story. I don't know that you have to have every i dotted and every t crossed in your head to do that, just as I don't feel I necessarily need to know what my characters like for breakfast unless it's an element of the story. But there are some writers for whom knowing this kind of detail is essential.

Flat world: Pratchett is the only fantasy one I know of, but there might be others out there. A flat world that doesn't spin might work better with two suns.

Bardos
April 12th, 2003, 03:00 AM
First of all, KatG, don't wait any scientific excplanation, for it's fantasy. ;)

Well, lets see, if you have two suns moving in opposite directions, then that means that these two suns -- stars -- are on opposite sides of the planet. Which means that your fantasy planet never has any night -- it's always day.

Err, no. :) It's like this:

Dawn: Big Sun rises from the East, and starts moving towards the middle.
Some hours after dawn: Small Sun rises from the West.
Hours towards Mid-Day: Both suns move towards the middle, and they are now getting closer (less distance between them, I mean).
Mid-Day: Both on the middle, more or less, but the one is NOT covering the other.
Afternoon: Suns start sinking towards East and West, and they set almost simultaneously.

Note here, that the Big Sun is the main sun; the Small Sun is like an ornament in the sky.

Which could be interesting, but which sun does the planet orbit around?

You can't have two suns doing in different directions so there's no scientific explanetion... so there's no point in this.

Does it orbit around both, producing a double helix year of some very long length?

The year is a bit longer than ours, 414 days. But I, intentionaly, haven't given thought on orbits and such, b/c it's not scifi. No one is going to get off the "planet" anyway.

What are the seasons like?

Normal, more or less.

Is one sun weaker (farther away and/or smaller) than the other and how does that effect time, light and seasons? If it doesn't, what's the fantasy magical explanation for it?

As I've said the SS is like an ormament. In reality it was a gift from a god of fire and rebirth, called Phoenix but a.k.a. Masmarth (but that is only hinted at in my story)... and the gods have long vanished by then.

Or do the natives think that the suns orbit around the planet?

They probably don't think they actually orbit around them. See below. Example: When one of the Stability Centers was de-stabilized, the suns and moons in the region (and only in that region) went wild; night and day was not clear, until things were put trogether again. So, that means they actually DON'T orbit.

You'd still have to explain the effects of the two suns on the planet though. I imagine that this planet would be rather hot and dry or maybe very jungly like a life-sustaining Venus.

Not at all. Earth-like more or less. Imagine that the BS is weaker than our oun and that the SS is the other part needed to make conditions almost Earth-like in heat etc.


Your idea about a flat world, I think, fits for my world here, since I don't want it to ordit anyway. Have you anymore ideas about flat worlds? Or anyone else?

Thanx for your comments, btw; I like others to make me think about worlds. If you have anything else shout!! :)