Monday, October 13, 2014

Fantastical Evolution

I stated in my previous post that Fantasy requires an eclectic and interdisciplinary knowledge to make another fantastical world. This opinion/belief of mine has led me to do a little ( should be a lot, but it isn't ) research in various areas of this world, which made me understand how little knowledge I actually have.

Now, onto my theory. My first theory is called Fantastical Evolution. Since I am yet to attain the lingual power to explain such that you will understand it as I have conceived it, please bear with me as I go through three items of pertinence.

One. When we observe our world closely, we can say that there is a lot of history and reasoning, whether we know it or not, behind everything. Biologically, whether you believe in Intelligent Creation or evolution,  either way the role of genetics over time seems apparent. This is also the case linguistically - the evidence I am considering is the bastardization of words, and import from words from one language into another as cultures mingle ( lingua franca, anyone? ); like so, every discipline - from dance and architecture, to chemistry and art, has this 'history and history based reasoning behind it'.

Two. Isaac Asimov and Brandon Sanderson, have similar views ; their arguments can be found here. 


Three.  Let's consider the computer game 'Dwarf Fortress' ( You can download it for free here ), and look at a quote from Wikipedia regarding it:

Every game in Dwarf Fortress starts with the generation of a new world; only one game, in either Fortress or Adventure Mode, at a time can be ongoing per world. The exact qualities of a world are randomly generated, but can be influenced quite heavily with input from the player, who determines the map size, natural savagery, mineral occurrence, et cetera. The world generator first uses a fractal algorithm to create a randomized elevation map. This is then further elaborated upon by a temperature map, rainfall projection map, drainage value, vegetation value, and salinity. Each tract of land is then differentiated into a biome based upon a combination of these values. Tracts of land are then sorted into evil, neutral, or good regions, as well as benign, wild, or savage ones. Mountains are then worn away with temporary rivers, followed by permanent ones flowing from high points to low ones. Local animal and plant populations are established, followed by sentient populations.[4
 
 
From the above three items, it can be reasonably gathered that:
   1) There is an immense historical 'behind-the-scenes' work done for anything on any world. What we perceive is an end product of endless mingling between many disciplines, from science and anthropology to psychology and music.
  2)  Historical, evolution based genesis leads to worlds that are as complex as our world, with inter weaving components that react with each other on all levels according to an algorithm that may or may not be unique to that world.
  
Fantastical Evolution  is the creation of a fantasy setting through dynamic evolution  and interaction between it's components and historical elements pertinent to that setting; it is in such a setting that: the fantastical world is as real as possible, given the underlying assumptions are true; the setting has historical genesis like the people of Earth have theirs'; the best setting for a world is obtained. 

Let me elaborate that. 

There are two ways you can create something in a fantastical reality: the most common, and in my opinion, inferior method is to just go ahead and invent it, letting the elements spring from the depths of your imagination ( what I call static creation ); the method I advocate is where the creation comes into being naturally,  following the laws of nature, physics, culture, anthropology and magic ( as it applies to that world ) in a history that's suitable to the realm ( dynamic creation ). The basis for this, however, is ultimately out of the creator's mind; but due to the naturalistic evolution, there is more dimensionality and realism. It's almost as if, had the assumptions you made in the basis been true, the resulting world/ universe would actually spring into being. 

A good analogy is a simulation; a programmer makes some assumptions, sets some default values, some rules, and let's the simulation go wild, creating a complex and interwoven world - as opposed to simply writing the interwoven connections and calling it lore. 

For example, I am not sure if Tolkien's work falls in line with my theory. I have not read his books that are not directly related to The Fellowship, such as The Silmarillion, while being aware that they contain an incredible content of fantastical linguistic and mythological content, providing a rich back ground for Middle Earth. The reason I say that I am not sure if it follows my theory is that I don't know if he simply made all the history up ( static creation ) or made a path along which everything could make itself ( dynamic creation ). 

I am not yet satisfied that I have explained myself thoroughly, so I will give one last demonstration. 

Consider the following fantastical lore:  

Edwin, the King of the Northern isles, died with no selection of a heir. As a result, chaos ensued between his hundred children. Dorak, the King of the Southern isles, promised to help Samora claim her father's throne on one condition: 7 days and 7 nights after the victory he assured her, he would be given her hand in marriage. 

 Sounds legitimate right? Well, that's static creation - let's do another piece of lore, but with dynamic creation...

...where we run into a huge problem. Writing dynamically created lore requires an eclectic and inter disciplinary knowledge, something I don't have enough of.  

However, I literally just made up that piece of lore up - I invented the name, or perhaps borrowed it from somewhere ( without consideration of linguistics of the place I'm writing about ), invented the place ( without consideration of geographical genesis), and invented the rest of the plot ( without consideration of cultural /anthropological genesis factors ). By just writing the lore down,  the lore is now true for that world simply because I, the creator, arbitrarily say so.  It's different from the lore being determined by near-scientific causes.

However, if I were to say that there were a tribe of hill men on a small island in the Northern isles...and just leave everything else to dynamic creation; I can visualize and speculate the ensuing history, given I have the appropriate knowledge and skills, resulting in a place, time and events that are, within the scope of imagination, historically accurate, and then, within the dimensional bounds of my creation, which will continue to evolve with time, I will create a plot - which would be similar to creating fiction in our world.


That, my dear reader, is Fantastical Evolution. 

 

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