Social Science and Fiction Part 0: Invitation

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21 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali says:

    Isn’t there going to be a worry about how whether a world looks realistic (e.g. in the field of economics) to me depends on what I think about the roles of private property, or the state etc in the economy?Report

    • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Murali says:

      If you enjoy parody/satire and haven’t read ‘The Outsorcerer’s Apprentice’ by Tom Holt you should go find it. It is Hitchhiker’s Guide type of humor but the segments mocking the economics implied in fairy tales sword&sorcery stories had the econ majors in the family chortling.Report

  2. Avatar Derek Stanley says:

    I am like you. I have created five different worlds for just D&D (Pathfinder).

    I have also created worlds in the Heroes System.

    Also, cities in Fate, Cthulhutech, Shadowrun, and Rifts.

    I find I love to build my own stuff rather than using something already givenReport

  3. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    I have an ongoing exercise in world building. 25+ years ago I was having trouble getting to sleep (career, wife, house, kids, dog, etc on my mind). I had read a piece by a former Vietnam POW who had described how he distracted himself from his situation by building a house in his head: every brick, every board, every nail. I decided to try distracting myself from all the other things by building a story set in the various groups of asteroids, with a history for each of the major sites the protagonist visited and how they had evolved several different approaches to running a society in that setting. (I invented one piece of magic tech to solve a bunch of the problems, but only that one.) It’s an open-ended story, and because the exercise turned out to be successful in putting me to sleep, progress is slow :^)Report

    • Avatar J_A in reply to Michael Cain says:

      How did you solve the low gravity issue?Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to J_A says:

        Creation/control of a local gravity field using modest amounts of electricity is the magic tech. At least so far, I make no attempt to explain it — it’s just a given. Not only does it solve the immediate problem, but you can at least hand wave fusion power and drive technologies out of it. One of my long-standing complaints about lots of SF is people who have gravity control (at modest energy expense) but don’t use it for anything except keeping wine in glasses or water in the toilets.Report

  4. Avatar James K says:

    Oh, I’m looking forward to this.Report

  5. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Yes, I have created a world, of a sort in my paintings on Instagram.

    It is of the City of Angels in some alternate timeline, where buildings are part machine, part living beings. When I caption them, the writing is in the past tense, third person, like a traveler writing in his journal of a strange place.

    It isn’t meant to be exhaustive and descriptive like a Dune sort, but evocative and suggestive, where it is still shrouded in mystery that the viewer fills in.Report

  6. Avatar North says:

    I have created a world, worlds even. For D&D, the Marvel RPG and several other older systems. Then because I had no life I created an overarching ‘verse structure to organize the disparate worlds in relation to each other. I’m looking forward to this series.

    My own tip: commonalities really bind worlds and campaigns together. Makes players feel knowing about what they’re playing in. In all of my worlds normal mundane cats can travel transdimensionally and it’s considered common knowledge that they do. Players can be abducted from their own realities into strange scenarios and contexts but their house cats invariably show up and demand regular feeding and the NPC’s react to this with a shrug and a “cats can travel transdimensionally; everyone knows that.” It was originally an innovation done to deal with a player who would absolutely melt down over being separated from his fur-babies but the custom has outlived the player.Report

  7. Avatar J_A says:

    Though I spent a large part of my teens imagining countries and even worlds (*), I wanted to suggest an alternative that I think about a lot: Alternative life forms.

    SF tends to imagine that highly evolved life forms converge into some sort of anthropomorphism. I beg to differ. Plants, which can survive by converting electromagnetic radiation into food, are a much more successful life form qua life form (i.e. ability to self replicate). What would a civilization of completely different life forms look like?

    (*) one specific imaginary country still accompanies me while jogging, or while I fall asleep; a meditation in which I add bits and pieces of history and geography (**)

    (**) It’s in the NE corner of the Adriatic, south of Austria, more or less where the real Slovenia is. Pre- Roman conquest oral history and mythology was recorded by monks in the High Middle agesReport

  8. Avatar Pinky says:

    I have a mundane question. The cover picture for this article is a pile of d20’s. One of them has a “V” in place of a number. Does anyone know the story behind that?Report