1. lauraamanda87
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    lauraamanda87 New Member

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    Technicalities of Creating Fantasy Universes

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by lauraamanda87, Oct 8, 2012.

    Hi,

    I have a question.

    Is it possible to create a fantasy universe, eg: with simliar but different histories, different continents etc, yet still refer to objects as we know them in reality, eg: a VW Beetle, a Harley Softail motorbike?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
  2. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    See my .sig disclaimer. But I think this could work if done well. If it was just one VW Beetle that appeared out of nowhere, then it would be confusing. But if your word was consistently using well known objects in unfamiliar contexts, then I think it might be able to add an interesting distinctive flavour to your story. You might have to watch out for cheesiness. E.g. if you had mythical beings eating the sacred Heinz Baked Beans, it might get a bit silly. But if you had a world where all cars were Volkswagen Beetles, then perhaps it would add a sense of strangeness but familiarity at the same time.
     
  3. lauraamanda87
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    lauraamanda87 New Member

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    Thanks, i was thinking of keeping everything pretty much the same as reality, except for the fact that the cities are different, the rules are different and certain people are born with special abilities. I was thinking that maybe this would afford the reader a stronger sense of the familiar allowing them to further accept the strange special abilities. But i understand there are rules to this sort of thing.
     
  4. Langadune
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    Langadune Member

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    Actually the rules are what you make them. What matters is how well you pull it off. It may seem strange to some that Juflu is driving a Harley down the streets of Mogglestraum, but hey, Mogglestraum is a strange place. If you focus on the wierdness, you may be expected to explain it. If you focus on the story with enough skill you may not even have to address the issue.
     
  5. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think that there are that many rules. But inconsistency can look a bit amateur or "lazy writing"-ish.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Of course it's possible. And as a writer, you can do it well, or not so well.
     
  7. lauraamanda87
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    lauraamanda87 New Member

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    Cool, thanks guys.
     
  8. DannyA
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    DannyA Member

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    If it's a parallel universe, everything can be the same - but different in a parallel universe kind of way! ;)
     
  9. moonflower
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    moonflower New Member

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    Sometimes it's funny, like in The Color of Magic--a movie based on Discworld series with a tourist dressed in plainclothes in a fantasy Middle Ages dragon world...but, I personally find it cheesy and random.
     
  10. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    That was done in the TV series 'Caprica' where a number of well known cars were visible on the streets of a city on another planet somewhere else in the galaxy. Of course there's an implicit link back to Earth, but it was interesting the way it was done. I was particularly amused to see the very British Morris Minor in a quintessentially U.S. style of city! :D
     
  11. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Anything can be done in fantasy.
     
  12. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    No way. It's completely impossible. No way you could do it. :rolleyes:

    Seriously, do you think about: it's our world, looks like our world, sounds like our world, but the shape of continents are different, country flags are different and London is in Sweden... or is it more like: it all looks different except for a few items, important to the story, but placed in there so the reader feels the awkwardness of the setting?

    Or, to put it differently: are the familiar objects there for the reader to feel connection with "reality" or to feel dissociation with our "reality"??
     
  13. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    I have quite a similar concept except I've made a point not to be specific with things that have brand names or connotations that don't make sense in the context of my world. Of course, you can do it any way you like, but you have to be careful in the details you present and make sure they have a purpose other than being easily identifiable to the readers.
     
  14. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    The biggest question is why create a parallel universe? Is it solely to change the rules? If so, you must realize that in writing fantasy fiction, you can have the same Earth, and universe, but the path of humanity is different. It would just need to be explained. In creating an alternate universe you have to build the world from scratch. If you have the continents in other places and people have powers, but the rest is fundamentally the same type of society, may as well give descriptions of these objects and attach a name brand from the world you create.

    e.g. describe the motorbike's features: high handle bars, roaring engine, etc. then tag the name Morrison or something instead of Harley.
    e.g. describe the features of the VW Beetle, then call it something like the Volksman.

    When I created a new earth for a story I started, I realized I needed to know the history of the world because now there has to be a reason for humanity to develop as it did. It may not be present in the story, but it could effect their culture. If you use the same earth, you can get away with explaining how they developed powers and the restructuring of cities, without having to develop everything from scratch.

    I have a story that is set in an alternate universe, very specifically so, because the main character creates it. The main character starts on earth, but creates an alternate universe with very different rules. Structures are similar to different time periods and styles and ideas from our earth, but because I gae thm a new universe with expressly new laws, I gave everything its own identity. :p But even the sections that are in our earth only have names of real cities, the rest are morphed to fit my needs as the writer.
     
  15. jedellion
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    jedellion Member

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    Phillip Pullman's dark materials are an excellent example of parallel development.

    I loved his use of amberic, instead of electric.
     

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