Welcome to the start of our final sub-series in our year long Worldbuilding series. The title of this sub-series could be called nothing but Other. Yep, there are a few topics I want to talk about that I just couldn’t find a place for. Some could easily be placed in their own sub-series, but after a year of this, I am ready to move onto other topics. So they get one post. Now you may be asking why is there a post on Wednesday? Good question. It simple. I feel like I owe you all more since for the last few weeks I haven’t been posting on time. So you get two posts this week.

Now you may be asking why is there a post on Wednesday? Good question. It simple. I feel like I owe you all more since for the last few weeks I haven’t been posting on time. So you get two posts this week. The other reason is I want to finish the Worldbuilding Series as a whole by the end of this month. So two birds. Let’s dive into today’s post.

There are two topics so we are going to split them up. We will talk about Communication first and the move onto Transportation.

How is communication usually done in fantasy stories? It is either by a messenger who delivers it by horse or other for of transportation. However, long distance communication is usually sent by messenger pigeon or raven. There’s nothing wrong with this, but these things have become tropes of fantasy. Why? Well because like a lot of things in fantasy (mostly stories taking place in a medieval setting) we use things from our own history. Why? Because we are familiar with it. Also, we know it works. No author wants to come up with a way of doing something and have their readers say “Nope, that wouldn’t work.”

Side note, if that happens it is not because the premises of the idea didn’t work, it was the overall execution throughout the story. Other things in the story aren’t done well enough to make use believe it can work.

Continuing. While there is nothing wrong with using things from our world that work, it just not as unique. I am tired of having so many fantasy worlds feel the same because they all have the share things from our world. The idea is this isn’t our world. Maybe humans exist there, but they aren’t humans from earth. They should have different kinds of plants animals. If you are going to go with a less technically advanced people, come up with ideas for they would communicate over various distances. Maybe you have bird post, but only commoners use it because they can’t afford the really cool and instant communication that the rich have access to.

If you want to use something from our world, put a twist on it. How about the telegraph, but instead of sending electrical signals maybe it sends pulses through the magic ley lines. It doesn’t just go to a specific place, but everywhere. Maybe that is why a code is needed so only the person the message is intended for can get it and read it. Speaking of magic, why can’t it be used to communicate with people far away? Have magic mirrors or portals that allow you to actually see each other. How about

How about a telepathic race? Instead of writing anything, you visit the local Telepathy shop or if you are wealthy enough have your own personal telepath, and by contact with them, you can communicate with another person. Either through another telepathy or directly to the person.

This isn’t limited to fantasy. If you are going to have a science fiction world where all or a portion of the galaxy is colonized, you need to know how they will communicate. My problem with science fiction right now is that they are relying too much on current science. So communication to another star system takes years. Some might say that’s because it is accurate. Yes, and it works if you want a storyworld where every star system is there own separate place and communicate long term. What if you want a world where you can talk to someone on the other side of the galaxy?

“Sorry, you can’t do that, because based on our current science that is impossible.” Wrong. You have to come up with that works for your story world. If you want people to know how it works, make it believable. Or come up with a new discovery that allows for it to happen. This is why I love Stargate. Sub-Space Communication is how they talk to each other so far away. When you get really far, such as different galaxies, you have communication stones that switch consciousness with someone else. You are in someone else’s body.

Let’s move onto Transportation.

“You’re just going to ask the same questions but about transportation.” Probably. However there is a difference between talking to someone far away and actually going there. Let’s look at all the different ways there are to travel on earth. You can walk, ride a bike, use an animal like a horse, you have cars, trains, ships on rivers and oceans. Planes for crossing around the world in hours instead of days or weeks. There are submarines for going below the ocean and shuttles that go into space.

There are a variety of types within those ways to travel, such as sled dogs for animals. You have motorcycles, dirtbikes for as motor vehicles though I just said cars. Depending on the time period your story world is in, will determine your ways to travel.

“Wait! You made a huge stink earlier about fantasy worlds being too similar because they used things from our own world and time periods. Now you’re saying travel has to be based one time period.”

I did just say that, but I said it because a lot of people seem to think that way. I would hope people would look at ways of travel and come up with their own even if they have their world set in a medieval type period. Why not have cars at that time? Instead of using gas, they use a different kind of fuel. If the world is closer to their sun, but not so close it is a desert planet, maybe they have a form or solar power. They have carriages that move on their own that use crystals that are full of sunlight.

We will never truly get away from having worlds that are similar to our own completely, but we can take things from our world and place them into our storyworlds but make them fit. I am a huge proponent of stealing other people’s ideas.

“What!”

You heard me. Am I saying steal someone’s novel they wrote and publish it as your own? No. However, you will find ideas that you really like from your friends, other writers and take them and use them. However, those ideas don’t work if you just drop them into your storyworld as they are. You have to make changes to them so it fits. That goes with anything. If you want flying cars in your colonial time period type world, you can do it. Just give a reason why, and make it believable. Maybe that world has a stronger magnetic field or something that allows them to have those kinds of vehicles.

Going back to magic, why can’t you just open portals and be there instantly. How about jump sites. This way you can get to civilized areas fast like other major cities, but if you want to get to the mountains, you have to jump to the closest site and then travel by foot or animal. If you’re using magic, you can have flying carpets. If you don’t want instantaneous travel, magic allows you to move faster or slows time down so you can get to places far away, quicker.

Time to look at science fiction. Unlike with communication, if you want to use science it isn’t that bad for travel. Why? Well, many scientists have many different theories on how such galactic travel may be possible without breaking the speed of light. There this is my approach and screw the cosmic speed limit and just do whatever you want. Ever heard of Hyperspace, Faster than Light Travel, Wormholes, hell why not just use portals.

When it comes to doing anything in writing, if you make it seem possible within your storyworld, then readers will buy into it. Not all, but most. Its when you don’t make it seem possible that everyone rejects it. If you have this great idea on how people can travel across the universe, but don’t think anyone will believe it is possible, and keep thinking that. Well, when you write it, you will write it in a way that tells the reader you don’t think anyone is buying it or you don’t believe it. Guess what happens, they won’t either.

My closing remarks are, to limit yourself to ways we travel or communicated during specific time periods. Do what you want and just sell it. Also, there is nothing wrong with using things we use, but put your own twist on it.

That’s all I got. Check back on Saturday for the next post in our Other sub-series. The topic Science and Medicine.

 

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