Tag Archive: Worldbuilding


Science fiction authors have a tough job.

There have been a bunch of breakthroughs lately in different tech sectors. These range from coding improvements to new technology that interfaces with the human body, to stuff that many people thought outright impossible. Sometimes it’s mind-boggling. Other times it’s happening so slowly that you have to really step back and realize how different things have become.

My friend Lori took some time to introduce me to some of her favorite westerns the other night. In a scene in Shane when the characters (several homesteaders, plus the titular Shane who is helping them out) stop at a general store, the female lead (Marion Starett) pauses to examine a Mason jar in wonder. “My, my, my,” she says. “What will they think of next?”

Well, contemporary audiences no doubt got a kick out of that one, separated from Marion by almost a hundred years of technological development. The telephone, the phonograph, the automobile, the airplane, the rocket, the computer, cinema and television — all these were in her future, and in their past, in their present. The answer to her question was long, complicated, and unbelievable to her contemporaries.  Continue reading

Yep, I’ve been away for a while. I had some personal-life things to take care of. Nope, I’m not going to describe them here, because they don’t have to do with writing or fun stuff. This ain’t no LiveJournal or MySpace here, bub! (Aaaaand I just dated myself. Moving on.)

I was going to make my first post back be a book review, but instead I decided to get off my duff and start the worldbuilding series I’ve been meaning to do for months now. The reason is that two parts of my life have converged on the same topic very recently. The first is that my workshop at Christendom College has restarted; the second is that I play World of Warcraft on the side.

What’s the relevancy? you might ask, and rightly so. Warcraft players might be able to guess, of course, but I’ll address the workshop angle first. Most of my students are interested in writing fantasy, which is a happy coincidence for me as I fully expected the opposite even though all evidence of youthful interest in fiction backs it up. (Just glance through the Teen Fiction section at your local bookstore, or see what the most popular movies are among the teens-and-twenties demographic.) I tailor my workshop lectures to my audience’s interests, and when I mentioned I could do some lectures on worldbuilding, there was much rejoicing.

One of the things many people overlook when worldbuilding, however, is economics. That doesn’t mean Wall Street and esoteric ideas of bull and bear markets or how one makes money using other people’s money. No, I mean taking into consideration what is valuable to a different society, what constitutes that level of value, how you represent and trade that value, and how you go about creating value.

Oh, dear. I did promise non-technical, didn’t I? It’s right there in the post’s title. I guess I need to live up to that! Continue reading

As I noted before, AwesomeCon is much bigger this year. I forgot my camera and didn’t want to just use my phone, so I’ll take pictures tomorrow; but I found myself looking around the dealer hall in disbelief. That room alone would convince anyone who didn’t know better that this was an established con, and not something in its second year. The staff and other volunteers were doing a top-notch job, and the convention center staff were extremely helpful to everyone.

Also, I was amused to hear one of the screens playing “Everything is Awesome” (from The LEGO Movie) on continuous loop in the library. Despite its ultimate meaning in the movie, I was still appreciative! Continue reading

If two highly-educated men are able to spend the time from midnight to 2am on a chat program dissecting a TV show, you know one of three things.

  1. It’s one of the best shows ever.
  2. It’s one of the worst shows ever.
  3. It’s a show with so much misused potential that those currently in charge should shut up and let someone else fix it.

Considering the show we were talking about is Agents of SHIELD, it should be obvious we’re talking about Option Three.

WARNING. Spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and “Turn, Turn, Turn” from here on out. Continue reading

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