The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

World-building that's less dragon, more nitrogen

So, as you know, world-building has been a part of fiction–especially fantasy–for a long time. Think of Tolkien’s crazy maps, histories, languages. Think of Star Wars.

Here’s something awesome: Chris Wayan is a world-builder “more interested in planetary ecology than in narrative.” Interviewed by David Cole, he says:

One weekend in late 2001, I biked by a flea market behind Cellspace in the Mission District. I bought a globe for a few bucks. At home I started playing with it–pried it off its stand, tilted it so the tropics turned polar and poles turned tropical. Suddenly an intellectual problem snapped into focus: “We have one pole on land, one under the sea. So we have one cold pole–Antarctica–and one mild. Could Earth be tilted so we had two Antarcticas, or none? ARE there orientations where land or sea is under both poles? How would all that ice–or lack of it–affect sea level and climate?” It turned out there were a couple of solutions for each. So I got out my drill…

I love this. It’s totally related to counterfactual, but it takes it in a really interesting direction, towards ecology and systems-thinking. It also expands the whole endeavor–it’s not just words but maps, models, math.

Chris Wayan’s Planetocopia is here.

Special props to David Cole for doing such a deep interview. Here’s another one with Snarkmarket favorite Gregory Weir, the game designer who created The Majesty of Colors.

Via Wilson and Laura.

One comment

Kim Stanley Robinson does a good deal of informed theorizing on the hypothetical ecology of Mars were we to attempt to terraform it in his trilogy Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars. It’s a fascinating read.

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