Its been a while, and to be honest, I’ve been finding it hard to write a blog with my current job. But as I now has a mean of typing away as a security guard its time to take further advantage of that. Other than that life has mostly been focusing on a new Wolrd Building Project I’ve been undertaking. This one is perhaps the reason I’ve decided to write this blog, so without further ado let us talk about building alien worlds.
The Alien World
When I first started working on the Land in the Stars, most of it was heavily influenced by Gundam, or other scifi pieces such as Battlestar Galactica. The truth is when I first started working on any of my worlds most if not all of them start out as simple ideals. The actual images in my head which help to direct my writing usually take a while to form. Often what I will do is get an idea while watching a show or when reading a book. As I write and sketch out more and more of the world in general things begin to fall into place, but let me take a step back and discuss a few things.
At least two of my worlds are utterly alien to a degree. Loakz’ala is a strange world where the planet itself is a large wasting desert, and strange floating islands above. The idea for Loakz’ala occurred while watching a strange Anime known as Last Exile which has some fairly queer ecological aspects to the world. Combine that and my love of Roshar from StormLight Archive I decided to create an entire world based on the premise of a series of floating islands. It prove hard and difficult at first until I began to map out the world physically and decide how the islands interact with the deserts below.
Not everyone always thinks about the most basic form of how an alien ecosystem might occur, but when I thought of the SkyFish (yes I know the name is beyond generic) I started to consider what they were. After mulling it over I decided that most life on the world was reptilian in nature, with a smattering of avian species. The SkyFish are a strange nearly legless (they have small little clinging limbs to hold onto rock or the floating islands) that zip around the SkySea. The “SkySea” itself is ecologically powered by the simply named strange plankton like coral plants that form colonies on floating rocks in the SkySea.
Over time I constructed the world by taking themes, and other ideals from our own and twisting them to suit my creation. The lands of Prava I felt needed some sort of large cat creature so at one point I invented large predators that mixed the idea of sugar-gliders, and tigers. What ended being created was pretty much a cat that can glide, from trees. Now in a small house cat form, that is pretty adorable. In the larger size, that can be quite frightening. So this in turn helpd to shape the greater ecology of the world even further. This plus the dominance of reptile species helped me piece together what people eat, and what they even ride as mounts.
My latest work, Land in the Stars (its a working title), is a bit more complicated. There are at least twelve worlds in Land the Triad (the three primary systems of the star cluster) each has their own biomes, and nature. Some planets are a bit like ours, where as others are simply large fields of grass. This means that when it comes to each world the general ecology, and biology of the planet itself will have to be mapped out. Part of the alien aspect of Land in the Stars is that there are no real “humans” in any of the planets. Anything that really looks human is pretty much a fae race that has had to adept to a lack of magic, and having to grow old.
Most of the alien aspects of this world come from the strange technology that the Faeru (the humanoid race in question) has had to invent to conquer the planets outside their initial colonies. Then the adaption to space led to an eventual split in the species resulting in a grouping of subspecies that divide the race. How the Faeru adapt is completely up in the air. Some did through genetic manipulation while others did so through natural evolution. In Space Opera, science is soft, or is more fantastical, meaning that how a race appears or evolves is completely up to the themes I want to present as a writer.
What you can do is based on how fantastical or real you want things
In truth how alien or strange a world can become is based upon what you wish to accomplish. If you want an outright strange world, but want realism you’ll need to do some basic research into theories of xenobiology. If you just want to outright make something up just remember, create ground rules and stick to them. Don’t invent the wonderful land of space mice, and then half some weird gerbil mutant running things without some sort of explanation. Also, do not be afraid to edit your rules, just try to avoid breaking them. When you undo the suspension of belief for your audience you end up causing them to lose faith in the context of you writing. Don’t interject a talking fox with laser powers into Mice-Land unless you have inferred that such a thing is possible beforehand.