Sounds bold, right? This probably isn’t the new world you’re thinking of, though.
Over the past 20 or so odd years, I’ve had a world rolling around in my head that I’d wanted to get out into the… funny… world, and I figure now is the time to get that moving, especially if I want that to have any impact on a couple of the other projects I have coming out in the future that tie into this world. Let me set things up properly for you.
I’m going to refer to this place as Project Emerald, specifically because it was built on the back of a short story I wrote about a tribe that had it’s population nearly wiped out leaving a small band of fighters that struck out and sought to avenge that loss. Things really just sort of developed from there.
Project Emerald is essentially a moon orbiting a gas giant planet in a solar system that is very, very far away from Earth. I’m talking so far that the two locations wouldn’t make radio or signal contact because of their vast distance between each other (though, there are things that change that in later developmental stages for story purposes). Let’s keep them separate for now, though.
The moon, or planet, is roughly Earth sized and Earth like, supporting seven different forms of sapient life that are all tied to each other in the way that all life on Earth is tied together. All of the non-sapient life on this planet is also tied to these lifeforms as well, making this ecosystem cohesive. While there are significant similarities between Earth and this planet, there are also some significant differences as well.
Now, I’ll go as far as to state that if you picked up reading material produced by me you are going to recognize the lifeforms on this planet because they are based on things related to Earth-like substances and/or creatures. There is an in universe explanation for this that will tie up the reason for the similarity, but that comes later in the process of writing the stories that comes much later. I will go as far to say that the seven major sapient forms of life are human (yes, human like us… but also not like us), crystalline, reptilian, feline, vegetation, bioluminescent, and then something more alien to us.
The world they live on is similar to Earth in that they have a world with flora and fauna, weather patterns, continents, oceans, and plenty of history to discover along the way.
Building the Setting
Along with building up the lifeforms, the setting will need particular attention paid to it. This includes not only the flora, fauna, and weather patterns but the history of the world as well. Oh, and not just the history of that world, either. The history of the entire solar system (though I’ll stop at the solar system and not go galaxy-wide).
In the process of building Project Emerald, I laid out the ground work for a solar system by mapping out (roughly) what the solar system looked like, though the final form will be left to this project to complete.
As I write these words, there are seven planets (with an eighth that has broken up and is slowly devolving into a field of asteroids) in this solar system. There is an asteroid belt already present in the solar system and the sun is a yellow hyper giant, making the habitable zone a much different location than where Sol’s habitable zone is located. On the initial layout, I have listed 21 moons (which is included the planet we’re building this solar system for) but that may be expanded. There is a single ringed world (a la Saturn), but that, too, may change in this building process.
The initial draft of the solar system also already has mysteries noted and built in because of the backstory of the planet in question. Unlike Earth, only having about 5,000 years of written recorded history, this planet has closer to 10,000 years of written history and will have far more to explain about their origins due to their greater sapient diversity.
There won’t be a lot of weird names for plants and animals in this setting. The reason for that is a study or two has been done with science fiction and the more “made up names” a work has, the less readership that thing seems to get because of it. I get that. Why rename a fern to “shebuno” just to make it sound exotic when fern works just fine? The important part of this whole exercise is not just to build a world, but to tell stories in this world… and some of those stories tie into other stories I want to tell, so “keep it simple, stupid” seems to be the best method for working this out.
With any alien environment, there will be something that pops up that just isn’t equatable to something in our own world. That will obviously need to have a name applied to it that isn’t currently in existence. These things happen. So, you’ll end up seeing lions, tigers, and bears (oh my) but you’ll also see the occasional thing that doesn’t exist in our world.
Podcast, Written, Visual
In order to bring you all of this wonderful world building, I have been trying to figure out how I want to distribute this information. At one point, I thought giving the history of the world through a podcast Dan Carlin style would be a good way to go but that would lock me in to digging a little deeper than I may want… sure, I can lighten up on the details a little more than he does and I can skim a little more of the history in larger chunks, but then I’m just giving larger overviews.
I have also thought of writing everything out, which would include the visuals of everything (like the drawn pictures of each of the sapient species on the planet). That would tend to get me into writing up a bunch of technical sounding documents of the same nature, however, and I didn’t really want to end up doing that, either.
So, where does that leave me?
I do want to do a podcast, in a Dan Carlin style. That podcast will deal with different points in the history of this particular world, and they will more than likely be chronological in nature so that I’m not confusing anyone by bouncing all over the place… though, the idea of doing what history textbooks in school do would also be acceptable (they start with a civilization, like Sumer for example, and progress it until it collapses, then bounce back to Egypt, and do roughly the same thing… then Greece, then Rome, etc, etc, etc). That might work as well.
The podcast would follow the written drafts of “here’s what the different species look like” documents pop up. Those probably would end up being more display of what they looked like and less a detailed account of biological natures (although a rough overview would be included). I mean, you have to have a basis for some of the information you’re taking in visually, right?
Essentially, I’m suggesting that I’d do a little of everything until the stories start being written. I’d hope that would work as a total experience rather than tying me down to just one mode of output.
In conclusion… for now
I hope this is enough to get you interested in seeing the final output of what this could become… I’ve been wanting to finally just get this out into the open for a long time and if I just keep telling myself “someday,” that someday will never come.