World Building

I enjoy world building.

As a child, my fantasy play often consisted of world building. I made maps and diagrams, designed worlds and universes, and imagined all of the fantastic creatures that lived in those places and the adventures to be had there. In my writing today, the world building is as much a part of my work as it was a part of my play when I was a child.

As I build worlds, I find I use many -ologies, for example: anthropology, archaeology, biology, climatology, ecology, geology, meteorology, sociology, technology, and zoology, and a few non -ologies such as botany, chemistry, and physics. (These lists are not all-inclusive; I could add other disciplines.) I satisfy my desire for complete and accurate worlds by incorporating as much true science into my science fiction as I can even as I extend the science into the realms of speculation.

For my current project, one area of exploration has been time keeping: how would an alien civilization keep time. The cultures of Earth have calendars and clocks. The aliens on the world I have built also have a calendar and a clock. Envisioning these keepers of time leads me to investigate my own methods of time keeping and to ask questions such as, “Why do we have the calendar we have and why do we have the clock we have?” that ultimately leads to asking, “How would an alien civilization perform these functions?”

The alien’s calendar accounts for the seasons as the foundation of the yearly cycle, but their culture and their biology drives the clustering of the days. These people have hormonal cycles and reproductive cycles that guide much of their culture and their calendar reflects those cycles.

The daily cycle has more of an impact on the human protagonist. The length of day on the alien world is longer than the day on Earth, and the aliens use a base 8 numbering system to divide their day into meaningful segments and moments. The human finds it impossible to know what time it is. Exploring his coping method is interesting.

Earlier today, I was thinking about how much fun writing is, even though writing is the hardest thing I have ever done. Creating worlds, creating civilizations, creating speculative science is fun. As I write, I feel as happy as I did when I played these same games as a child. I feel I am reliving the best days of my childhood.

I enjoy world building.

Experimental Risirid Analog Clock Face

Example alien clock created to explore ideas about how aliens might measure the passage of the day.

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