June 16th, 2014

happiness is a warm gun

So then what?

This is a rant about worldbuilding in fandom.

I think, as fandom, we do this thing where we try to justify our id-pleasing premises by trying to explain it. Oh no, um, evil scientists just invented dudes who can have children, okay? There was totally financial thing, like, twenty years ago, and I guess we had to resort to a slave economy. Totally.

Sometimes, it can be done well, but a lot of the time it feels like watching a terrible Christopher Nolan movie, where you can pretty much see the convoluted machinery that's moving us to the predetermined ending, clearly reverse engineered and not particularly organic.

What I love seeing in fandom, what I love almost more than anything else, is the part where we, as authors, move past that point and say, "so then what?"

We have slaves, sexy slaves, and people buy and sell them against their will. So then what? How does the slave trade look, now that we exist within a heavily technological, commercialized culture? How do your slaves signal status or lack thereof? How does the burgeoning emancipation movement work? Which politicians do they target? How? Do they go the radical human-rights-terrorism route?

Oh no! The evil dystopian government is forcing people to get married. So then what? What is their career situation look like? What is expected of married couples of various ages and life-stages? What is up with raising children? How are they expected to interact with other married couples? What happens to the stragglers or the people who try to buck the system? What does this look like to other countries? Do they all have similar systems?

It frustrates the crap out of me when I see authors twisting themselves up into knots trying to justify their id to me. I don't care! I don't care why aliens that secrete aphrodisiacs might be on Earth or why otherwise perfectly normal human men go into heat! I am willing to start with you guys there.

But for fucks sake, please make the rest of it interesting. Ask the other questions. Dig a little deeper. You'll be surprised at what you find.

Our worldbuilding shouldn't end at the point where we get our id-pleasing premise. It should start there.

</end rant>

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