31 Days of Post Day 6: To Struggle with a Modern Secondary World

Fantasy is awash in secondary worlds. The vast majority being inspired by European medieval history. Gradually, that is starting to change. We’re beginning to see more secondary world fantasy being set in worlds with inspirations stemming outside of medieval Europe. This is a good thing, in my opinion. But not what I want to talk about.

Rather, what I want to discuss is the efficacy and desirability to try to create a secondary world inspired by more recent history.

I guess the first issue at hand is whether or not I should count steampunk as being an example. Part of me wants to hew closer to the current moment rather than a hundred plus years ago. So that would knock out Bas-Lag. But do I have other examples I can reach for?

For one thing, would Earthland (Fairy Tail) and the World of Naruto (Naruto) count? The world depicted in Naruto is clearly feudal and draws heavily upon Japan’s history. But do the modernist elements (clothing, architecture, and trappings of modern life) move the world into a more contemporary setting? And what about Earthland? There is a strong steampunk vibe, but certain elements just look modern. So, should I count them or not?

Moving to American comics, could the Marvel and DC Universes count as secondary world creations? Yes, they are set on “Earth.” But the “Earth” shown is so radically different from our own consensus reality as to be made practically secondary.

What about fantasy literature itself? Are there examples of modern secondary worlds? Not to my knowledge.

But, remembering my post from yesterday, could not Harry Potter be an example along the lines of Marvel and DC? The series takes place on Earth, but does the Wizarding World count as a contemporary secondary world? What about other hidden magical world contemporary fantasies?

I guess it all depends on who is making the judgement calls.

All this speculation does lead me to an interesting question: why am I so interested in modern/ contemporary constructed worlds?

I think the easy answer is that I’m far more interested in recent history compared to medieval history. I’m honestly rather tired of the rehashes of ye olde England. I what something new, something more modern.

And that is what I want to write, honestly. I’m not overly interested in digging into medieval history for inspiration. I want to write what inspires me, and that is more modern history.

Why not just use today’s Earth as the setting? And then so radically alter it so that it practically is a secondary world a la the Marvel and DC Universes? That is a possibility. And a very tempting one. Indeed, I’m working on an idea set on a hyper magical Earth.

But, there is that other idea I have that is also set on Earth. You know, the one where I move a city from a secondary world to this one?

I think therein lies my problem. I’m really not comfortable rehashing similar settings.

Perhaps I’m jumping way ahead of myself here. Maybe I should just focus on an idea or two and deal with the rest as they come at me. It would relieve some stress. And let what ever worlds grow out of my imagination come about organically.


Posted on October 6, 2012, in Books and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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