Something jelled recently.
Those of you who read Sci-Fi will know the name Larry Niven. He’s most famous for his novel Ring World. But more than that, what he created was a broad context for (nearly) all of his stories. It’s what he calls “Known Space.” What’s curious about it is that it’s fully cogent and rationalized. There’s a timeline and a physical domain that contains the “science” and the fiction.
Or rather, consider the Potterverse, one most of you are probably aware of. Jeanne created a world, a universe, which contains — yes her seven novel series — but more than that, it provides the potential for many more stories, some of which we’re seeing with the Dangerous Beasts movie series. Those and tens of thousands of fan-fic stories. And an entire dream world, made virtually real by Universal.
What jelled was that I’ve created my own post-apocalyptic world with a fairly complete, fairly cogent rationalization. And this Apoca-verse has room for much of what I’ve been writing as side stories.
- Blue Across the Sea was #1. Red Into the Sea will be the sequel (and I’ve mapped out two more after that: Green and White…)
- Shadow Shoals (unfinished) is also a story that takes place within this timeline and world-context. (I’ve been editing it over on Scribophile, and it’s been getting some good reviews.)
- Recently, I’ve returned to my Antarctic prisoner story, Iced, and — ayup — it also can be easily inserted into this same chrono-calamity and world situation.
- Additionally, my story City Afloat, about a band of Bangladeshis who create a floating city and drift and live on the Indian Ocean, well… it also can be wedged into this same universe.
So, I’ll end with, if you create a complete, fabricated universe, that makes sense and has meaning to you and to the stories you tell — maybe you can create a themed foundational universe into which you can write.
Larry Niven is a Sci-Fi god. He’ll be 80 years old this April 30th. I wonder if he’d mind if I used his idea of a Known Space? Maybe I should call it Known Dystopia.
I lay in bed, thinking about things, as I do, and I wondered if there was a new type of magic that I could dream up that had not already been imagined. So, in order to determine what might constitute “new” I had to itemize the existing types of magic. Here they are in no particular order. Note, these are my determinations, I did not consult with other (no doubt numerous) sources. I may have missed some, if so, do be so kind as to correct the error of my waze.
- Skill magic: enhanced skills, for instance blacksmith, fighting, crafting, doctoring, gardening, baking, singing — any skill where a magic is employed to augment or perfect a skill. The magic is only available during the practice of the skill.
- Psychological magic: finding, influence, persuasion, mind reading — where psy-ops or reading of other people or creatures is done. Scrying might be included here.
- Force magic: commanding the power of the Universe against matter or mind. I’d include the concept of Luck magic here too. The concept of being “Lucky” might be attributed to some Universal force. This is an amorphous magic, but can be attributed to power over matter, primarily.
- Deity magic: command of, or the favor of gods and their powers. Here we can’t wield the power directly, or if we do, then the power (generalized magic) was granted by a deity. But generally, we are subjected to a deity’s magic.
- Learned magic: spells, incantations, wands and witches & wizards. This is magic that can be learned from books, tomes or scrolls. Or taught by magicians who already have the knowledge. And knowledge is the key here – the magic is unavailable until the knowledge is acquired.
- Vision magic: dreams or visions that alter the world, I’ll include Time magic here, moving through time. This is the power of a mind or a consciousness to influence the physical world through dreams.
- Creature magic: elves, faeries, leprechauns, dragons, unicorns, Pegasus — magic that exists as part of a creature’s physicality or legacy. This is magic, like deity magic, which humans cannot wield but may have access to through control or influence of the creature.
- Wish magic: genies, mirrors, wells, monkey’s paw. Magic provided through wishing, whether through an agent or through a physical “possessed” or magically imbued object.
- Thing magic: coins, crystal balls, keys, books, swords, shields. When things have been enchanted to contain the magic, and whomever possesses the thing then controls the magic.
- Perception magic: [per Phil Huston] the illusion or appearance of magic (mundane magic) which is meant to fool us into believing (doesn’t all story magic do this? — Phil would say).
- Tech magic: [per Phil Huston] Arthur C. Clarke’s “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
- Nature magic: [per Serendipitious Web Life] Magic derived from Mother Nature, Gaia, Chaos, Eywa (Avatar) and evident in springs (Fountain of Youth), trees (the Ents of LOTR), elementals.
In the end, Magic is power over matter/energy, mind, space or time. Each of the above listed magics represents some form of one of these, or a combination of them.
What other magics might we explore not listed here?
- Hive magic: A blend of Force, Psych and/or Vision magic but can only be exercised when the necessary number of companions or citizens unite as a hivemind.
- Anti magic: The cancellation or annulment of any magic applied by others. The black hole of magic.
Book vs Movie.
Who reads the book after they watch the movie? Who? Anyone?
No one. No one will read the book after they watch the movie. Why? The movie has polluted their entire view of the characters. No imagination is necessary now. It’s a sad, sad world now — for the reader.
Harold “I want to be a bad wizard” Potter no longer remained this million strong youthful boy in glasses and scar after the first movie came out. No. Harry Potter became Daniel Radcliffe; Harry – No More Imagination Need Be Applied – Potter.
The fact remains that, if you read the book AFTER you watch the movie you will find yourself ROBBED. Robbed of your own imaginative powers. Your own view of how the world of the author should play out in-your-own-mind.
The Girl with all the Gifts is a great — great — zombie novel. It’s a great novel in general. But, yes, it’s a zombie novel — the only one to ever have approached the concept with valid and realistic science — but zombie nonetheless. Were you to watch this novel as the movie, before you read the book, you would be robbed of your mind’s own powers of imaginative projection. A great and noble power indeed.
Would you EVER read the book after you watched the movie? No. No you would not.
Book -> movie works.
Movie -> book does not.
A cinematic, theatrical interpretation of a novel KILLS the written version. At least for a generation. Perhaps, in 2020 or 2030, readers of Harry Potter or The Girl with all the Gifts might, once again, enjoy the written versions. Until then? Movies killed the literary star.