1. Xboxlover

    Xboxlover Senior Member

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    Creating a mixed world

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Xboxlover, Jul 10, 2017.

    In my plot space travel is a thing. How would the best way to show multi-planet culture bleeding into other planets? I'm looking to mix fantasy and modern together. Example: Midieval Renaissance Victorian and modern day.
    Looking for a more believable visual. Buildings, village's, fashions, that sort of thing. I know what I want I see it in my head but it's not transferring well to paper.
    Thoughts?
     
  2. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    The best example I can give you is, Dune.
    Technology is no longer trusted, in fact AI has been outlawed, and there's been a falling back into a sort of baroque way of life... in the very worst sense of the word.
    If you want visuals to help you imagine your story you may want to watch Dune, the movie that was released in 1984.
     
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  3. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    It really depends on how you want to do it. It's just as reasonable for there to be lots of separate cultures living together as it is for there to be one dominant culture that kinda eats all the others. That's really the only two options though. Don't do anything silly having someone wearing modern jeans, a Victorian top hat and a medieval doublet (to take your examples) because that sort of thing is not really how cultures work. You just don't really see people mixing and matching, they tend to gravitate to one cultural identity. The only times that people do seem to overlap is when one culture is seem as default or neutral; so you might see an Asian woman wearing normal western street clothes and an Islamic headscarf, but that's more because those clothes are just clothes and don't have any specific cultural meaning. You see people wearing jeans as much in South America and Asia and the Middle East as you do in the West.
     
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  4. Xboxlover

    Xboxlover Senior Member

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    Actually that's funny. My husband has almost of the books, and we borrowed the movies from my parents. The original and scifi versions for comparison. (Comparing the new and old.) I hadn't thought to look at it from a writers perspective. I'll take a closer look at those again. Thank you for your quick reply.
     
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  5. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    I think you'll get the best inspiration from the original book, Dune... and a better idea of how old world architecture and sensibilities can be fused to modern technology with the movie. It's kind of funny, the spaceships in the 1984 movie have brass fittings (if I recall rightly), plush leather seats, etc. It was Steampunk before there was Steampunk.:)
     
  6. Xboxlover

    Xboxlover Senior Member

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    I see where you are going and what your saying. What I'm thinking more towards is (using our world as an example here) India has its own clothing and culture and Japan its own, but taking the fashion and maybe modernizing it a bit. Picking 1 of the categories above for each culture kind of thing. So using say Victorian Era clothing in one country but you see bleed through from another planet's the emigrants wearing whatever culture they came from. Further analogy expansion on above example: Japan sees western bleed through in the feudal era. So say they didn't close off and ban people from coming in. You would see styles that came from other cultures and a possible influence from those idea's in there clothing and fashion after a time.
    So in my universe we see things get messy and chaotic from the exchange of idea's and fallout from it. I guess hmm think Star Gate. In some of those episodes the older cultures experience initial shock but later remember the modern people that came through the gates. It no longer holds its shock value but they may still have their suspicions and superstitions revolving around the modern tech and fashions. Some later will even adapt to it.
     
  7. Xboxlover

    Xboxlover Senior Member

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    Shutters at steampunk. lol Sorry trying to avoid steampunk. I'm so over it. LMOA
     
  8. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    I don't really agree. Dune isn't so much old and new coming together; it's a fantasy universe much more so than it is a sci fi one. The technology is never a big deal, in fact the stories pretty much go out of their way to make technology as irrelevant as possible. The conceit that you can't use lasers wherever there are shields is basically the same as just not having lasers in that universe. There isn't even really much use of guns in that world. The really important plot points are all magical (navigators, prescience, benne geserit tomfoolery, axoltl tanks etc) and while there are space ships that's very much a garnish.

    It draws it's aesthetic from middle east and India and the way they decorate and handle technological things is something you'd see in the court of a sheikh whose being bribed by a western government and to whom cannons and modern rifles are things of almost mystical power and thus come with lots of embellishment. In the west such things were dirty, greasy utilitarian things and produced in the millions but to a local ruler they were of extreme value and importance and demonstrated his power and influence. It makes for weird and interesting contrasts of style of course; technology decorated like a reliquary but that's all it really is. The technology is almost a fetish and the story treats it as such; as something that shows how damn rich you are but not something you actually need, and in fact that depending on technology is bad and that plucky local tribesmen can overcome all that high tech stuff.

    Dune's aesthetic is certainly interesting I just wouldn't say it's steampunk.
     
  9. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    You do see styles and so forth melding into each other somewhat but not to a huge amount. You get the occasional item that jumps the barrier and styles do get effected but it's not as simple as just saying these two cultures rub up together so their styles blend in together. It's more that one culture sees a thing and then makes that thing their own, they create their own spin on it. That's where the fez came from. The Ottomans liked the hats Europeans wore but they didn't just start wearing top hats, they made a hat that they could wear and pray in (ie, touch their forehead to the ground) and came up with something very unique instead of just picking up someone else's culture.

    The thing with culture really is that culture comes with a lot of "because we've always done it that way". The reason the Ottomans could just create a hat like that was because they didn't wear hats, so there was no problem transplanting that idea to them. But they would have been a lot less happy to dump their tulwars and start wearing Western sabres. No matter what they aren't going to drop their thousand year old traditions to cater to fashion. Kilt wearing never became popular in pre-modern England despite there being a very fluid border with the kilty northern savages. Why though? Because there's a huge amount of history and pride tied up in a kilt and if you don't share that then you don't see the point.

    It's easy for things to come in and fill a vacant space, for hats or jewelry or accessories. When one culture is seen as exotic then it can influence fashion to some degree, the cut of a collar or the length of a skirt. But it's very unlikely that things that have some genuine cultural significance will be displaced while keeping the original culture intact. Scotland still has it's own culture but it's definitely not the same culture as when they were clan-living, kilt wearing people. The English forced them to integrate in British culture and while they are unique they aren't a truly separate culture anymore.
     
  10. Xboxlover

    Xboxlover Senior Member

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    All great points thank you for the insight! I do agree with the integration of only small things and the "Because its always been done that way." I like the examples you provided as well thank you. Sometimes it is hard to see what will affect fashion.
     
  11. Xboxlover

    Xboxlover Senior Member

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    It can be hard to mix technology and magic. One will inevitably over power the other.
    I am trying to keep it more fantasy based. I hate to use this example. While I myself don't play the Final Fantasy games, I've watched the movies and watched my husband or friends play them in passing mostly. Aside from the awesome special effects and the brilliant colorful environments, I do like how they handle the modern fused fantasy. I would like to think that square has the right idea on modern fantasy. That aside, I want to create something that has that kind of impact but is my own not a copy or rip off as some people would suggest.
    Sad part about this whole thing is I'm finally getting the gumption to write my story after developing it passively for 20 years. The based idea: the portal fantasy which everyone seems to have mixed feelings on. I personally like spaceships and portal fantasies. If I had to guess where my original impressions or inspiration came from it would be Star Gate. I have a romance with exploration lol.
     
  12. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I don't think I agree that cultures don't mix... assuming someone's saying that (I got a bit lost in some of the posts).

    I think you could use food as a good example of how things adapt and absorb - the changes to European cuisine when the vegetables from the New World arrived, the ways North Americans have borrowed and modified foods from all over the world, to the point that when I'm asked if I like Chinese food I have to ask "Chinese-Chinese, or Canadian-Chinese", the fusion restaurants where a North American chef combines foods from two different world cultures, etc. The frozen dinner section at my grocery store is dominated by westernized Indian and Chinese dishes, with Thai beginning to make a strong showing. When people try to come up with foods that are emblematic of Canada, we generally have to get pretty obscure--foods that are unique to us, but that we don't actually eat all that often.

    Same goes for architecture, maybe especially residential? You can walk down a street and see a true Victorian, a modern version of a Victorian, a "Tudor", a colonial, a Spanish-style, a Cape Cod, etc. etc. all mixed in together.

    Fashion? My closet holds plaid, paisley, Chinoiserie, denim, khaki, Khente, lace, moccasins with genuine beadwork, modified and modernized moccasins, cowboy boots, etc. etc. and I'm quite conservative, fashion-wise.

    Gardens? I have a English county garden in my back yard, my parents are developing a Japanese garden at their place, my neighbours have a formal French-inspired garden to go with their French cottage architecture, etc. etc.

    The arts? I live in a rural area with not much "culture" and still in the past year I've watched films from France, Germany, Japan, China, Argentina, Cuba... England/US/Canada too, of course.

    Closer to the OP: I think you'd need to draw connections between culture and functionality for this to be really effective. Buildings tend to last a long time, so it's pretty easy to see original versions of Victorian or Colonial (or, in the Old World, older styles) architecture. But there are also lots of updated versions -- "log cabins" that are 6 000 square feet with every modern convenience, etc. We borrow the style, but modernize the structure. Same with fashion -- I might like the colours and patterns of, say, an African fabric, but to be practical in Canada I'm going to want those features translated to something that will be warmer, will stand up to frequent washings, etc. Also be aware of the ways fashion reflects social changes -- women used to wear long skirts and other less "practical" clothing, but as we got more social/political freedom we started demanding more flexible, useful clothing. Denim used to be a sign of the working class, but now it's universal.

    I can't give you concrete ideas, but I think there's lots of potential.
     
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  13. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    How solid is your story? If you have plot, characters, and a driving engine then the props, costumes, and scenery should theoretically fall into place. Not that the world building isn't important, but it doesn't have much to do without something to hold it together. It kind of just floats around in a narrative vacuum, preening and begging for attention until something comes along to make it important.

    Again, in theory, the story should be able to provide its own inertia regardless of setting. Whenever I hit a snag similar (I think) to what you described, it's almost always because I'm trying to bend the story to the world instead of the world to the story.
     
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  14. Xboxlover

    Xboxlover Senior Member

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    Its pretty solid. I don't want to share to many details of it though, to keep it more of a surprise for later. I have all the imagery in my head, developed my characters: are all developed almost to their ending points. I also have multiple timelines for planets, races, and countries. Individual main players both protagonists and antagonists. (Even plan on doing side stories following the villains.) I literally have enough material to write an anthology if I want. Which is the plan to. I guess maybe I'm reading to much online. It seems everyone places world building 1st. Not that I haven't done this. I just really want to write and let things fall into place, but everyone online says a story won't succeed if its not realistic. Which is weird because I thought fantasy was supposed to be fantasy. Not that I don't have rules to things.
     
  15. Xboxlover

    Xboxlover Senior Member

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    Yeah I was thinking of individualize things as such. Like how in some neighborhoods people have different tastes and the houses aren't cookie cutter. Someone has a Victorian home, another may have something less goddy. Thank you for you reply by the way.
     
  16. Xboxlover

    Xboxlover Senior Member

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    Sorry I hope this doesn't count as bumping but this is really important. In my story there is a lot of political conflicts. As I've been polishing my outlines and sectioning things for various books. I started seeing a trend. I'm getting nervous that people will think I'm pushing conservative and liberal agenda's when in reality I just want to tell a story for fun, provide conflict and resolution. I'm taking no sides in our political world because its tedious and I don't care. Because in all reality politics stress me out to hell, but to have a good story you have to provide a conflict and politics provide great conflict.
    As I've been reading this forum over and over, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm being over critical?
     

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