underused settings in world building

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fruityloops
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underused settings in world building

Post by fruityloops » 31 Jan 2019 14:45

not gonna state my thoughts about this one. just wanted to ask you guys what ideas or settings are underrated in fantasy.

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by elemtilas » 31 Jan 2019 21:14

fruityloops wrote:
31 Jan 2019 14:45
not gonna state my thoughts about this one. just wanted to ask you guys what ideas or settings are underrated in fantasy.
At the risk of sounding flippant, I suppose the answer could be "anything that doesn't appear in standard / mass market fantasy for whatever region or market you happen to live in".
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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by Reyzadren » 31 Jan 2019 23:28

Kitchen sink fantasy/al-qaeda fantasy (or whatever it's called, it has no official name) seems to get attacked and insulted on the Internet, with people claiming that it's too silly, cliche or common. However, without regards to quality, I really can't find much stories written with such setting, if at all.

Quick example: Most members here present low fantasy conworlds with bronze age analogues or get really technical with scifi, except 1 conlanger who does urban fantasy (you go girl! [:D]). I guess I am one of the few who use "typical mixed fantasy" for the conworld.
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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by LinguistCat » 01 Feb 2019 06:58

I have an urban fantasy I'm working on as well as a space fantasy (not "soft scifi"). Modern urban isn't super uncommon, space fantasy certainly is though.

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by Tanni » 01 Feb 2019 09:13

fruityloops wrote:
31 Jan 2019 14:45
not gonna state my thoughts about this one. just wanted to ask you guys what ideas or settings are underrated in fantasy.
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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by k1234567890y » 01 Feb 2019 11:27

Reyzadren wrote:
31 Jan 2019 23:28
Kitchen sink fantasy/al-qaeda fantasy (or whatever it's called, it has no official name) seems to get attacked and insulted on the Internet, with people claiming that it's too silly, cliche or common. However, without regards to quality, I really can't find much stories written with such setting, if at all.

Quick example: Most members here present low fantasy conworlds with bronze age analogues or get really technical with scifi, except 1 conlanger who does urban fantasy (you go girl! [:D]). I guess I am one of the few who use "typical mixed fantasy" for the conworld.
What is an al-qaeda fantasy? (:
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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by Salmoneus » 01 Feb 2019 13:31

Presumably he thought "Hitler Fantasy" was taken?

I think he just means the kind of fantasy he likes, which is obviously terribly persecuted as though he were osama bin laden.

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by Salmoneus » 01 Feb 2019 13:35

Regarding the original question...


...I'm always surprised how few major fantasy novels are set in societies living on the backs of gargantuan island-frogs that ooze hallucinogens through their brightly-patterned skin.

Also, stories set on the moon, except the moon is filled with tunnels and all the characters are naked mole rats and they're being invaded by aquatic sci-fi people from Earth who have enslaved all the humans and now only the shamanic dream-quests of the mole rats stand between the aquatic people and total conquest of the solar system. You hardly ever read about that, it's totally underused.

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by Ahzoh » 01 Feb 2019 16:46

I see very few stories about people living in the arctic or a similar cold environment. Micamo's Mithe setting is quite wonderful.
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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by alynnidalar » 01 Feb 2019 17:51

The obvious answer, as it pertains to fantasy novels, is probably "for urban fantasy, anything not set in either the US or England" and "for non-urban fantasy, anything not set in faux-medieval Europe". Those two types of settings are so overrepresented in fantasy novels that literally anything else can be considered "underused" by contrast.

(I say, as someone whose primary conworld is urban fantasy based out of the US--although the characters tend to end up in other parts of the world quite a lot)

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by fruityloops » 01 Feb 2019 18:10

alynnidalar wrote:
01 Feb 2019 17:51
The obvious answer, as it pertains to fantasy novels, is probably "for urban fantasy, anything not set in either the US or England" and "for non-urban fantasy, anything not set in faux-medieval Europe". Those two types of settings are so overrepresented in fantasy novels that literally anything else can be considered "underused" by contrast.

(I say, as someone whose primary conworld is urban fantasy based out of the US--although the characters tend to end up in other parts of the world quite a lot)
forgive me weebness, but how about have a urban fantasy setting that takes place in japan or china? or korea even.

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by Ahzoh » 01 Feb 2019 18:32

Doesn't anime have a crapton of that?
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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by alynnidalar » 01 Feb 2019 18:43

Ah yes, I should've specified--I was referring to Western fantasy for the most part.

IME anime and manga with fantastical elements have a broader range of settings than Western fantasy (although there's obviously still a lot of common settings--how many anime are set in high schools??)

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by Ahzoh » 01 Feb 2019 19:30

Too many. And since high school is supposed to be the Japanese equivalent to college (and the partying and drinking) in terms of “what was the highlight of my youth”, it’s different that Western doesn’t really have a large number of college settings.
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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by Salmoneus » 02 Feb 2019 01:25

No, we have a lot more school settings. School has the great advantage that everybody has to be there, whether they want to be or not, which automatically creates a narrative. University, people are only there because they want to be, and they have much more power over their own lives, which is much less interesting.

Hence, we have a lot more books and TV shows set in schools, and often those that try to transition to university settings struggle with that transition.

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by elemtilas » 02 Feb 2019 01:47

Salmoneus wrote:
02 Feb 2019 01:25
No, we have a lot more school settings. School has the great advantage that everybody has to be there, whether they want to be or not, which automatically creates a narrative. University, people are only there because they want to be, and they have much more power over their own lives, which is much less interesting.

Hence, we have a lot more books and TV shows set in schools, and often those that try to transition to university settings struggle with that transition.
Question: do you think that such School Fantasy / Fiction settings (in particular) are numerous as an effect of demography (and advertising dollars/pounds/euros)? I.e., that age group watching what is essentially a tween/teen oriented soap opera. Same question for books. I notice a lot of, pretty much out-and-out romance novels aimed at teenage girls. That kind of literature (pace!) used to be the sovereign domain of 40+ women.
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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by Salmoneus » 02 Feb 2019 14:06

elemtilas wrote:
02 Feb 2019 01:47

Question: do you think that such School Fantasy / Fiction settings (in particular) are numerous as an effect of demography (and advertising dollars/pounds/euros)? I.e., that age group watching what is essentially a tween/teen oriented soap opera.
To some extent, of course - young people like watching things with young people in them. But so do older people! The audiences for school shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Veronica Mars were never just schoolgoers; and the audience for a school show like Freaks and Geeks (or a school-age-characters show like Stranger Things) was I think always primarily adults (hence the setting decades in the past, to appeal to adult nostalgia rather than to adolescent relevance).

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by LinguoFranco » 04 Feb 2019 05:00

I think aboriginal Australia would make the perfect fantasy setting.

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by DesEsseintes » 04 Feb 2019 06:34

LinguoFranco wrote:
04 Feb 2019 05:00
I think aboriginal Australia would make the perfect fantasy setting.
My setting Áánene is, geographically speaking, based loosely on sth in between Australia and the Great Plains of North America.

I don’t really read fantasy, because the mediaeval settings that seem to predominate are not appealing to me. I think I would like to read stuff in some of the settings people have mentioned, especially the one with the frogs.

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Re: underused settings in world building

Post by gestaltist » 04 Feb 2019 09:28

So are you asking about underused (as in the topic) or underrated (as in the OP)? I feel these are completely different things.

The answer to "underused settings" would be "almost all of them". There's a few popular cliches which get reiterated seemingly endlessly. And there's a reason for that: familiarity. You're more likely to imagine something that is based on what you already know about, and you're also more likely to like something that feels at least vaguely familiar. Sal's response was on point in that sense.

My answer to "underrated settings" would be similar to some of the other responses in the thread. I feel that very low-tech settings have a lot of potential but are rarely used in fiction. I feel they are a bit more common with conlangers where having a low-tech, and thus less complex, society makes it easier to focus on the language. In pure worldbuilding and writing, though, it seems to be "medieval and up" for the most part.

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