Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Episode 32 - Another World Awaits You

Wardrobes, Deloreans, looking-glasses, ter'angreal, blue phone boxes, linking books...if you want to enter a new realm, there are ways. But, of course, someone has to make the world first. Hence, world-building.

We start this episode with an interview with Dr. Pamela Jordan-Long, Chair of the Department of Professional Writing at Taylor University and Director of the Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends. (How's that for a title?) We talk secondary worlds, the act of creating a world beyond this one.

In the second half, Tim and Nick have a go at impromptu worldbuilding. So, if you ever have a longing for Faerie-land or perhaps a world reached by stepping just left of this one, listen in! We're sure you'll come back refreshed.


Show Notes

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  1. I think we should give bonus kudos to anyone who can point out all the references in the write-up.

  2. I recognize four of the six references listed in the beginning. Now, this won't come as a shocker, but I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I love discussions on world building, and this one lived up to the topic. Dr. Pamela Jordan-Long certainly gave some insightful answers. I have Card's book on sci-fi and fantasy writing, and it's proven to be a valuable addition to my resources.

    Tim, I think you brought up an interesting question about the lack of sci-fi Christian writers. I know personally for me, I soured on Star Wars with the prequels, but I know you love them (which is perfectly fine). My daydreams don't take me to outer space, but rather to the past or to the supernatural. As for other writers, I think it's a shame that it's not explored more. While I haven't seen it, Prometheus asks a lot of questions about God and creation, and in a way that I think is positive.

    The cloud idea is an interesting story idea. Initially, angel people like Pit from Kid Icarus comes to mind, but that's off limits. With my portfolio, I've got animals on the brain, so I'd imagine some sort of mole creature who would ride the clouds and dig inside to find some sort of treasure, plant, or element that could save the clouds from all turning black. The final act could take place in a tornado, but since we're in the level of clouds it's like a whirlpool that threatens to suck the heroes down inside. The more I write about this, the funner the idea could be. I hope Nick doesn't mind me "borrowing" the concept.

    As for a story world that I would want to live in? Funnily enough, it is the Wind in the Willows. While I'm a huge Redwall fan, the characters tend to go through some very dire situations. I prefer to read about them rather than live (or die) through them. But I find something absolutely charming and wonderful about the world of WitW, and admire the sense of true friendship between the characters. I do think the mix of animal and human characters to be a bit odd, I'd go there if I wanted to just get away from it all.

    Hope everything goes well with your big project. I'm excited to see how it will turn out!

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Yeah, there are two references in that list that even I don't know. (Though considering Nick, I wouldn't be surprised if one is a Wheel of Time reference.)

    As Dr. Jordan-Long alluded to, Christian science-fiction is perhaps a bit more daunting of a prospect to writers since it often does take place in our world, yet involves ideas and theories that we don't see happening here. Christian writers are very concerned about portraying truth (and to an extent, rightly so) and therefore worry about creating situations like in Lewis' Space Trilogy where some different rules apply than apply on Earth. (Not that morality would change, but perhaps some races would have different responsibilities than others.) It's sort of like speculative theology in some ways, and that can be seen as a hazardous area. Whereas, in a completely secondary world, being that it's farther removed from our own, it feels a bit safer to come up with new ways of exploring theological ideas. Still, Lewis shows that science-fiction can be Biblically based, and I would love to see more Christians rise to the challenge.

    Greg, I really like your take on the cloud world idea, especially the tornado climax. Definitely let us know if you write something about it!

  4. Greg, have a blast with the cloud idea. I'd love to see something come of it.

    On the Christian sci-fi angle, I know Natasha read a series years ago by Kathy Tyers (Firebird, I think). Also, it seems there's some time travel, but mainly in more conventional Superbook style. Why not some Whovian sci-fi? Dr. Who's atheist most times, and it still manages to touch on important issues.

    And, yes, Tim, there is a Wheel of Time reference! All reference have been made in podcast history, except possibly my super-sneaky reference in the last line of the write-up.