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Introduction to Speculative Societies

02 Jan

Welcome back to the Chimney! Today I want to introduce my new column, Speculative Societies, a combination of exploring likely or unlikely futures, as well as a sort of world-building workshop where I explain the purposes and possibilities of shaping a society in a speculative fiction story. This column will be primarily focusing on science fiction rather than horror or fantasy.

In each post, I will introduce a different aspect of a fictional society, whether based on a possible future Earth in our universe or a secondary world setting. Then, I will analyze it from the perspective of creating an interesting story setting. These posts are not intended as real world policy advice, but rather both as thought experiments on how we might improve our own societies and as exercises in the craft of storytelling as a whole, and world-building in particular.

Most of the proposals will be just a little bit larger than life, to emphasize what a story can gain from proposing a unique setting for its characters. Only instead of a magic system or even some example of FTL travel or stronger-than-nukes technology, we’ll be exploring the social aspects of speculative fiction. And specifically, how they can bring something more powerful to the table for creating and understanding characters(and by extension other human beings) than life or death battles or external clocks.

It’s my personal philosophy that you learn more about people and what they are capable of when they have to deal with competing options rather than forced hard decisions. You can forgive almost any mistake when the choice is life or death. But what about more personal stakes? Something closer to the decisions almost everyone is faced with each day, rather than once-in-a-generation dangers or opportunities.

Next time: Crisis Parks, Cultural and Financial Investments in the Future

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2022 in Uncategorized

 

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