The last few weeks have been certainly interesting. Designing the world of Taer-Sha-Sereanna has been a mixture of fun, and outright drudgery. The entire world or series of worlds in the star-cluster are fairly large and expansive. Each focuses on a different series of world of hats in a way. So for the past two weeks I have been devouring tvtropes.com as means of inspiration. A lot of reading on various fantasy and science fiction works to get ideas of what I want to include in the mash-up madness that is the Land in the Stars. So far, I have really spent a lot of work on laying the ground work of Lore on the five races of the Avalon Cluster. What was once a series based around a trinary system has involved three or more systems all spread throughout a dark area of space.
Space is an Ocean, is perhaps one of the biggest tropes I pull inspiration from. Two of my favorite Sci-Fi series Mobile Suit Gundam, and Firefly focused on how a large portion of space is quite huge. Faster-Than-Light engines do tend to shrink the size of something and make everything seem much smaller. Babylon Five is a fantastic example of how FTL (Hyperspace Drives) can in fact still make space seem large and terrible. The issue here is that more often than not in some Sci-Fi series the sense of how big space can be. Or how dangerous it can be. Now let me quickly jump to say that there are -a lot- of series who bring this up. Space is huge in most galactic settings in the general sense of the Galaxy. Its really the area around an actual system, or outside that we rarely see or even peruse.
Depth of a World
One of the biggest ongoing aspects of fantasy is that there are in general, tons upon tons of races somehow in the world. There are elves, dwarves, half orcs, and so on. Each race has a specific culture tied to it, and exists in a specific part of the world usually. Sometimes a species will have subraces or sub-species, but in general they are kind of a one trick pony of a specific archetype. Humans are often the jack-of-all trades racial group, elves are the aging band in the last of their days, orcs are the mindless grunts, and dwarves love to build stuff. Now, the one thing to note is that this trope is not as widespread as it seems. Many book series often have a decent amount of difference between their sub-racial groups, but in many ways they are all kind of the same, somehow.
Back to Land in the Stars, this starts to apply in that I want to avoid creating singular cultures for each race. The Faeru being the oldest and most widespread of the five races are the ones with the most diversity. They built the grand Star Empire, and colonized known space so they have the largest swathe of history. The synthetic Soul-Given on the other hand have a sense of diversity that comes from in some circumstances of being all the same, but in others of being unique. They are perhaps the one race that never truly -had- the ability to be “Faerin” or “Human” in a way. Unless you count one of the stranger of the subspecies of Enarodyr (the Soulgiven).
In truth I want my world to have breadth, and depth in it. Characters need to appear out of the substance in a way where thousands of different ‘actual people’ can arise. This is not “All My Elves are Blue”, and worship a water god. This is like the real world where identity, and who someone is or who a people are can be very very hard to pin down. Think about it. America is far from one group of people, and Canadians are not all maple syrup loving moose riders
A world with depth has races that are politically, racially, and linguistically diverse. They have similarities in how they spread throughout and area, but they split and evolve in their own ways. Tolkien had this in his elves. An elvish Lord would leads his people away and over time they would come to adapt their environment. This is how the Teleria of Beleriand (in the Simarillion) eventually split into the Nandor, the Sindarin, Sylvan and other elvish subgroups over time. Even humans were different in certain areas. Migration, and history often shape a people, and that is part of the depth of a world.