D is for different worlds

Different, or secondary, worlds are a defining feature of epic fantasy. They are elsewhere, somewhere fantastic and magical, sometimes reached by a portal (like Narnia), sometimes existing on their own without connection to our world.

Secondary worlds are internally consistent, no matter how different from our world they might be — dragons and fireballs, shapeshifters, other races, water breathers, magic wands, kingdoms that last for millennia still ruled by the same family, form-fitting breastplate for women warriors that doesn’t directly lead to their demise — the list can go on and on. All that matters is that it be Other and make sense within itself.

Each of the authors I’ve already talked about this month excel in creating new worlds for us to visit, and there are more coming. The secondary world is compelling, immersive, complete in the ways it surrounds the characters and they interact with it — but it is not necessarily somewhere we’d want to actually be. I wouldn’t be too comfortable in Joe Abercrombie’s world or George R. R. Martin’s. I’m not even sure I’d fare that well in Middle-Earth. But I can visit these places when I read and feel as though I am in a different world, a world created for my enjoyment.

Well, more likely for the author’s, but at least I get to visit.


This is a post for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is epic fantasy, and blog posts will cover authors, books, tropes, themes, or anything else I can think of to fill the alphabet. Check out some of the other bloggers participating or follow my blog by e-mail if you like what you’ve read.

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18 Comments

  1. I might like to live in Narnia for a while, as long as I wasn’t eaten or turned to stone or something. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. A well developed world is good to read and one that can be fun to get lost in.

    Lee
    A Few Words
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  3. I love getting lost in well developed worlds and would love to visit Narnia or Middle Earth. Fantasy is my favorite genre.

  4. I wish I was good at world creation, but I get too caught up on the details…then I can’t remember them while I’m writing! Ah, I guess I can’t be perfect at everything. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Your people are wonderful, and your settings are pretty cool, too. No need to create worlds if that’s not what works for you.

  5. The creation of epic fantasy worlds is an awesome talent to have. Great theme you’re doing here!

    Laura
    A to Z of Immortals, Myths & Legends

  6. omgosh, yes! The most fun part of writing is building the worlds for your characters to live in, deciding how the weather will impact their lives, what kind of animals they live and hunt with, what other cultures they’ll have to interact with, wow, I could go on and on, but I’ll stop so I don’t hog all the comment space, hehe! Nice post, totally loving your AtoZ theme. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Clearly a world builder! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I don’t necessarily do that much work every time — some stories may take place in the span of a few days, or a week, and all I need is to pick a season and climate — say, the desert in the fall — rather than building an entire world then deciding where the story will take place. It really depends on the scope of the story. Even for a drabble, though, there’s always some world building involved.

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

  7. I think I do well as a Hobbit, particularly the part about going barefoot, drinking good ale and smoking a little weed. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Don’t forget eating! Good food, good drink, good cheer — not a bad life. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks for commenting.

  8. i love reading and discovering different worlds! just started a new to me fantasy and am thorogughly immersed!

  9. I used to think it would be great to find out your mother had had an affair with Oberon, the king of Amber. Then you could sneak into Amber, walk the pattern (an ordeal only survivable by those with some royal blood), and have it send you to the perfect world for YOU…

    • Ooh, yes, the Pattern! Of course, there’s the sad fact that most of your siblings might try to kill you . . .

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