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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Magic and Time Travel - Rules of the World

What kind of place is this?  Dragons infest the sky, vampires rule the night, and these creepy wizard dudes are walking around shooting crackles of lightning bolts from their hands...I mean, I know we're not in Kansas, but Iraq shouldn't be this bad!

Justin, a very good friend of mine, posted a comment about having the story take place on Earth proper.  It's a good idea - it would certainly make it easier, in some respects, since I wouldn't have to build an entire world from scratch, so-to-speak.  On the flip side, though, there are some things I'd like to do with the story that I don't think would work quite as well on Earth.  So we'll have to put it to a vote.  Before voting, be sure to check out Justin's comments following This Blasted Kingdom Needs a Name!

The way I've kind of envisioned it so far is that the alternate universe would be a planet in a parallel dimension that's very, very close to Earth - so close, in fact, that sometimes our plane of existence intersects with the plane of existence on that planet.  So every once in a while a whole village might disappear from our planet and end up on the other one.  Or sometimes a dragon or a vampire will slip through to our side to wreak mayhem.

The added bonus is that this other planet has a slightly different universe - people who live there might evolve "magical" abilities over time.  Then again, maybe there's some alien technology in the soil that enhances the connection between thought and reality.

The other advantage of using an alternate dimension is that we can play around with time travel.  Noon today might have links to four or five different points in time on the other planet - Iraq might have a lunchtime portal to the future; meanwhile, some poor kid in Ireland slips back into the Stone Age on the alien planet infested with dragons.  I'm planning on using this for a related story when Martian colonists from our future decide to use this alternate planet as a way-point on their invasion of the past.  (Imagine this: you've got five thousand people, a couple thousand robotic soldiers, and a few dozen automated fighter planes...but your "rest stop" to the past is infested with dragons.  Honestly, it totally sucks to be you.)

On the flip side, having the story on Earth has other advantages.  For one, the English language.  There's no way in heck that all the people living on some alternate universe planet are going to speak English.  And poor Jonathan (our hero dude) isn't going to speak dragon/fairy/wizard (or whatever it is those weirdo aliens speak).  It's really hard to tell a story in which no one else speaks the same language as the protagonist.  Suha, we know, doesn't speak English...but maybe she speaks the language of this alternate reality?  And she can translate into Arabic?  And Jonathan can be like WTF??

Interesting possibilities, don't you think?

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