1. Headintheclouds
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    Headintheclouds Member

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    Non-Wetsern (influenced) Fantasy Worlds

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Headintheclouds, Jul 14, 2012.

    I am currently writing a story set it a fantasy world based loosely on Edo era Japan. However, I am having difficulty in properly constructing the world.

    In my experience, most fantasy worlds are at least loosely based on a more 'Western' culture, so I was wondering if anyone had any book recommendations of fantasy novels set in a non-western influenced world. While it would be useful if it were more focused on a Japanese-esque culture, I honestly just want to see how authors construct these worlds as different from the stereotypical fantasy world.

    Thanks :)
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Across the Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn
    The Road To Kotashi - Kevin Radthorne
    Two Pearls of Wisdom - Alison Goodman
     
  3. DeepBlue10055
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    Avatar- The Last Airbender (The Fire Nation, specifically) and Legend of Korra. TV shows, but they may give you an idea.
     
  4. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    The actual construction isn't any different from a fantasy world based on western culture - it's the knowledge you base it on that is different. If your knowledge of the Edo period is lacking then your best bet would be to read a couple of historical novels or textbooks and perhaps look into mythology and Shinto.

    Also, Takashi Matsuoka has a historical-fantasy novel set towards the end of the Edo period titled Cloud of Sparrows. I can't recommend it because I haven't read it but it may be worth taking a look.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why don't you go and pick up some Japanese Manga? That way you get the proper visuals - see what Japanese fantasy or magical realism looks like :)

    Otherwise, wanna try Chinese kung-fu genres? It's basically magical realism set in ancient China, most of it pretty realistic with some unbelievable elements thrown in, all explained in the form of martial arts :D
     
  6. Quinn T. Senchel
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    Quinn T. Senchel Member

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    Inu-Yasha, that Manga has given me so much useless information on Japanese mythology and how the Japanese view magic and mythological creatures. It's set in feudal Japan. I'm trying to do a fantasy novel myself that is set in a world loosely based on the Mediterranean (not simply Greece & Rome) but also includes regions similar to Ireland, Scotland, & Wales.
     
  7. inkdweller
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    I second this. You may think of Inuyasha as just another anime show (good or not), but after doing some reading on Japanese mythology and folktales I've learned that the author to Inuyasha really spent a lot of time doing her research for this story. In fact, I believe the story of Inuyasha was likely inspired by an old legend of a giant white dog-demon falling in love with a human, and carrying her off into the mountains. Things like fox deities, fox demons, demon worship, demon slaying, Buddhism, and values come into play too. For a specifically japan located fantasy, Inuyasha is a must see/read. Take a look at some traditional folklore too, religion, geography, and a bit of history. It's a lot of work for a story and sounds like a bore but it can actually be quite interesting, and very inspiring in the long run - not just for this story but possibly many in the future!

    A note on fantasy creatures! Try not to get away from the bare bones on these. Traditional folklore can seem a bit vague on their descriptions of oni and yokai, but this is good. The more you get into rules for these creatures the more you get away from what they actually are, and the more you begin to create them according to the rules of some later writer who popularized his own version of these creatures. If there is a whole website or book dedicated with information to just one creature, beware! What really defines a dragon, kitsune, or other fantasy creature for people back in those days, can usually be summed up in just one sentence - abilities and attributes vary from writer to writer, or person to person. Take the bare bones and roots of these creatures, and make it yours! Don't listen to long lists of rules or special powers, those are bologna. ;)
     

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