Thanks for some awesome answers. I've got nothing more to add for some of what you said (as you said everything), but I've got a couple of things left.
Big Mac wrote:An Asian space setting sounds like it could be interesting. The thing with fictional worlds is that they kind of need to have their own unique selling points. Many settings are very close to "the USA colonised space". Even if they don't start with Earth, they tend to start with the assumptions from the USA.
That is absolutely correct, and as far as I'm concerned I can't *stand* science fiction of that sort. We are very fond of projecting ourselves into our foreseeable future and writing sf about it. That's all well and good but personally I find it boring. I want something different than "Earth in the future" and "Terrans in space."
of that stuff can be interesting sometimes
, but I remember reading a "How to Write Science Ficion" book and it said that you need some sort of "otherness" for science fiction. Trouble is, if someone writes a book in 1950 and the "otherness" is that NASA sends a man to the moon and then NASA really sends a man to the moon, that kind of drops the novel out of science fiction. So if a sequel gets written after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin have done their stuff the author either has to reboot their first novel or flip over into alternative history. I quite like alternative history, but it is better to start something as alternative history than have it get flipped in there by events.
Gerry Anderson created a few TV series that got "overun" (and invalidated) by reality. According to his UFO series women would all be walking around wearing purple wigs and silver mini-skirts in 1980. I don't recall that happening. Then he made a sequel to UFO and when that didn't sell, he rebooted it into Space 1999, where Moonbase Alpha had hundreds of people living on it and a nuclear explosion knocked our moon out of orbit. Looking back on those series now, the inaccuracies just make them look a bit unintentionally silly.
I find that when I look at that science fiction, the things that are "wrong" stand out as much as, or more than, the things that create "otherness". As a reader, I don't think I should be thinking about that sort of stuff. It is not so bad if a novel is actually supposed to be alternative history, because then "wrongness" is intentional and part of the "otherness".
Mind you, when you have your other hat on and are running your World Building Academy, I suppose you have to think about how other people can do this sort of near future fiction without it turning into a mess.
Teramis wrote:Astareth and the Sa'adani Empire are quite intentionally located "in a galaxy far, far away." The people are human, but they are not "humans from Earth, that orbits Sol." It sets up a different set of foundational assumptions for subsequent storytelling.
Sounds fun. I suppose that if you want to go into a science fiction future, you will be setting everything up with a Astareth having a habitable zone and looking for things like lagrangian points where space stations can go later.
Teramis wrote: Big Mac wrote:
I would be less inclined to do that, myself. I would be more inclined to take Astareth and whatever solar system you give it in the Sa'adani Empire books and stick one of Jeff Grubb's crystal spheres around it, so that I could use it in a Spelljammer game. (That is kind of what I'm known for at The Piazza!
Well, I hope you'll have a chance to give that a try when I release some game content featuring these settings.
Thanks. I hope you will eventually be able to put out a campaign setting for one or both of them. I hear that RPGs have a much smaller market than novels, so I guess you need to build up the novels first.
Big Mac wrote: Did you ever see any of what the RPGA did with Malatra: The Living Jungle? If you did, do you think it fits in OK with your vision of the area?
No, I never followed anything the RPGA did. It was just TMI on top of all my professional game design work. Though if I'd known they were doing stuff about Malatra specifically I would have looked in on it back when, out of curiosity!
In a nutshell the RPGA put a mesa in the middle of the Malatran jungle that prevents anyone getting in and out of the RPGA area. Then they added alien magical devices that make that area seem invisible from both the ground and the air. I think
the magical invisibility field might make people turn around and go back the way they came before they get to the cliffs. And I think
it goes into the air, because Spelljammer added some Shou Lung space ships that are exploring the universe. If the area was visible from the air, they would presumably spot it as they returned home with news of the strange things they found in Wildspace.
We have some threads about Living Jungle, but not a full forum. Because it "located inside" Kara-Tur those threads are inside our Kara-Tur
forum (for now). They all have a '[Malatra]" tag in the thread name. If you ever get curious there is a [Malatra] Other Malatra Websites (& Free Downloads)
sticky that has useful links.
I think I've bumped into a Kara-Tur fan in the past that thought that Malatra: Living Jungle didn't fit into Malatra too well. But I can't remember the things they were saying were wrong.