1. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Senior Member

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    Making a truly 'weird' setting.

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Mouthwash, Nov 4, 2016.

    I mean weird as in alien, something irreconcilable to any degree with our universe. The Edge Chronicles have this kind of setting, but even better examples are Tower of Babylon and Exhalation, by Ted Chiang. I also think that steampunk should count- Chiang has a story set in a Victorian-era Britain where alchemy works, Kabbalah functions as a science and the industrial revolution was driven by golems.

    Right now I'm trying to create a setting in which deities govern regions or aspects of nature like feudal fiefdoms, and one of my goals is to eliminate any point of reference with Earth. I don't want it to be set on a planet or in a recognizable universe, and I want the deities to act very differently from historical pagan gods (not to mention gods in well-known fantasy universes). The point is to present something genuinely fresh.

    Please post your advice/thoughts, or even better, a recounting of an actual attempt. I'd also love some other examples of this fiction, if anyone knows them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
  2. Scot

    Scot Senior Member

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    Have you read the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett? The introductory paragraphs to most of the novels are as weird as you could wish for. Strange gods, magic, mythical creatures, alchemy and steampunk all feature.
     
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  3. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Senior Member

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    I know of it, but based on what I read in the Wiki article I don't think I would like it very much. :meh:
     
  4. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    You can't make a truly unique setting. Everything has a reference point. Instead of saying "I want to build something totally alien", say "I want to build something like our world but ______" and then fill in the blank. While I haven't read The Edge series, I did read the wikipedia entry you linked and can tell you that blank is "it's a cliff". The Discworld version is "but it's flat and on the back of four elephants who in turn ride a turtle".

    However, of the three you've listed, all of the worlds/ universes differ in terms of astrology and geology. Maybe start there.
     
  5. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Senior Member

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    I just want to make it impossible for it to be set in the same universe as Earth (barring alternate dimensions or simulations).

    The physics is also weird as well. There are flying rocks and solid lightning that can be ground up to purify water. Even not being on a planet creates some interesting scenarios as weather works in a totally different way.

    Also, the religion is quite alien as well. Rather than being simply about "deities," it's more of a branch of science that some take too seriously. I think that's a lot more realistic than the monotheistic/pagan viewpoint that the Western world seems restricted to.

    I was hoping for some broad principles or mistakes to avoid. This sounds like one of the hardest kinds of settings to make.
     
  6. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    If you want a universe where the religion is science taken is religion, have a look at the tech priests in Warhammer 40,000. And yeah, it is the hardest setting to make and do seriously. That's why most people don't do it.

    If you want a broad principle, make a change, and then ask how it would affect people's lives, or if it would at all.b We are creatures of convenience and comfort, and, more often than not, we will take the lazy path.
     

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