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Re: fictional worlds

From:Nihil Sum <nihilsum@...>
Date:Thursday, August 8, 2002, 6:14
Santiago (any luck with that marlin yet?) writes:

>I have a question for you all... I'd like to know to what extent are the >cultures behind your conlangs absolutely fictional...
Quite, in the sense that none of the cultures or people or historical events involved ever existed. It's a parallel Earth without any commonality in the history of civilisation. But I suppose all the natural history up to the stone age is the same though. A lot of the basics are the same though: there are rulers, war, states, empires, war, hatred, persecution, more war... given a fresh start, man fell into the same pits. Probably due to my currently pessimistic view of world events more than anything else.
>I mean, what sort of words you didn't include in your langs, because of >referring to human-made objects or concepts so closely related to human >cultures that they cannot exist in your fictional cultures...
Technology in this Earth is a bizarre blend of late nineteenth - early twentieth century industrialism, and a few things here and there that we haven't even invented yet. Simply, what they have, I made a word for it. What they don't have, I didn't make a word for it.
>Have you thought of the physical appearance of your langs' speakers?
Human. But the races will be a bit different. Some of the racial characteristics will be just like what we have on our Earth, but some can only be described as what would happen if you mixed a bunch of races together and then allowed them to seperate over time again. This is difficult to draw -- the Tolborese are meant to look like a cross between Arabs and Chinese, but my meager drawing skills hinder me there. Also the fact that whenever I draw a person, it tends to look like someone or other whom I know... go figure THAT mental block.
>My lang, Moesteskin (Moestesian would be in English) has a lot of >vocabulary relating to the latest (an not so late) technology >developments... Yes, words like "television", "computer"... what do you >think of that? It doesn't look original, does it?
Why? Does technology alone negate the originality of a constructed culture? Must they all be medieval Tolkien-style, or far future space fantasy? There's no rule for which is more "original". There's a lot of room within these, and in between these, and also off the spectrum, to be original.
>Should I do away with those terms, and try to create a whole culture with >their own objects and then name them with the lang?
Depends what you're going for. The degree of association with our culture would obviously determine the degree of similarity to our concepts. Some constructed cultures are placed here and now, on this world, in this era! Twenty-first century Earth nations which just don't happen to exist for real. And then there are those who set their cultures in a whole other universe which doesn't even share the same physical laws as ours. The Ebisedians, I recall, don't have stars!
>I hope to hear your advice
I can offer an opinion. But there is no one model to follow here. Is it "better" that you set it in a fully fictional world, or that you tie it to our Earth in some way? Well, no. It depends on the type of thing you want to create, how far out or how close in you want it to be. NS _________________________________________________________________ Join the world’s largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.