bloodyrosemccoy: (Planets)
Oh, hey, guys! It's Sea Monster Month at Torn World! I think the sea monsters, and the Duurludirj, are my favorite parts of Torn World, and I love being able to showcase them. Head on over and enjoy tales of warsailors battling giant Dreamskates and Deathfins and other such monsters, island residents using them as tourist lures, and scientists becoming fascinated with plesiosaurs. And if you feel like it, you can even add some of your own!

Dollemma

Feb. 18th, 2015 09:59 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (I AM MRS! NESBIT!)
Been thinking lately about changing up the identity of my Global Friends doll, María.

 photo Maria.jpg
Pictured: María

See, while her personality's always been pretty set, (I mean, lookit that cute face! It's easy to see her personality!) finding a good background for her has been somewhat more difficult. I've settled for a while on Belizean, but it never really got me motiviated enough to flesh out her background.

And then, completely out of nowhere I realized that one of my offshoot OGYAFEland* stories basically had her in it and I hadn't noticed. Replete with big sister (more on her some other time) and storyline and culture and everything.

It's kind of awesome.

Only problem is that I kinda feel bad switching her around so much. I catch myself wondering if that gets confusing for a doll, or if they just roll with it. I suppose it's really a question of whether the owner of the doll finds it confusing, but you know what I mean.

Anyway. I'm sort of excited to have an OGYAFEland doll to play with, so I think that will be the plan. She's going to have pretty much the same personality, too, so that will make things pretty simple.


*OGYAFE = Obligatory Giant Young Adult Fantasy Epic.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Planets)
Holy SHIT, y'all! Why did I not know about Universe Sandbox sooner? This program is AWESOME. I've been re-tooling the setting of Doctors! In! SPACE! as part of my big rewrite,* and while I've been mathing the HELL out of it and been doing pretty well, it's still nice to have an outside confirmation--and a visual one, at that. Plus, it's fun to send the solar system bodies careening around by sticking a massive star in there somewhere.

Still learning the program myself, but so far I've made sure the crazy skies for three different worlds are possible, and have managed to crash Jupiter into the sun several times. If you're at all into space stuff, guys, seriously, check this shit out. It's awesome.




Dear Astronomers: Do those poor bastards among you who study Trojan moons spend your ENTIRE LIVES with ZZ Top's "La Grange" banging around in your head?! It's been TWO DAYS. SOMEBODY HELP ME.


*Well, they're still gonna be in space, but a different part of it. Space is pretty big, after all.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Hey!  Listen!)
Hey guys! Got a worldbuilding question for you.

So while the Obligatory Giant Young Adult Fantasy Epic languishes in despair of finding an agent, it's mostly ready to be looked at--probably it could use an editor to point out things I've missed, but I've got it pretty polished. But I can't resist making a few tweaks while I wait, and there's one tweak that isn't so important for the actual book, but for the world.

The OGYAFE is portal fiction because, hey, I like portal fiction, but I'm trying to make OGYAFEland as independent as possible anyway. I want there to be a balance between their world and ours--some things are better there, others here. This extends to people, cultures, technology, and ecology and geography and so forth.

But one thing that's pretty darn fun about OGYAFEland is the dragons.

I really like the idea of dragons as a biological clade--not just a species. Not even a few varieties of intelligent creatures, like in the Dragonology books or similar pretend field guides. I'm thinking of them as but a whole dang taxonomic group distinct from reptiles, birds, and mammals--and with as much diversity, because dragons have been speciating just like all the other animals have. In OGYAFEland, dragons (with the exception of one notable species) are as commonplace, and as varied, as birds.

Which got me wondering.

Should OGYAFEland even HAVE birds?

I admit to going back and forth on this. It wouldn't take much to change it around in the story--a couple of place names would have to be changed, and one character's feathers (don't ask) would have to be specified to look like "dragonfeathers" (a modified scale that many dragon species have evolved--which is more or less how feathers work anyway), but that shouldn't be hard. And I like that our world would then have a biological clade completely foreign to OGYAFEland. Plus, while I'm not going for a one-to-one correlation between bird and dragon species, it's really fun to have them fill similar ecological niches that have the displaced characters from our world trying to make analogies and referring to "chickendragons" and "hawkdragons" and "hummingdragons" and "penguindragons."

But ... to be honest, I'd sort of miss birds.

I guess the whole idea is to have something be better in our world. But I wanted some other input. What do you guys think?

By The Way

Dec. 16th, 2013 09:32 am
bloodyrosemccoy: (Change)
Am I the only one who's now terribly concerned about Laketown's sanitation? No wonder the Master is so unpopular. I know they live in a ~*~fantasy~*~kingdom~*~of~*~enchantment~*~ and all, but until I get some indication otherwise I'm gonna assume germ theory still holds. They must be just festering with plagues and cholera. If Bard, as the Rightful Ruler of the city, doesn't implement a public sanitation program, I'm STILL gonna call for an election. Laketown Sanitation Now! Who's with me?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Cube Love)
I mentioned before that I wanted the OGYAFE to have Untrue Religions, because as far as I'm concerned that's how religions are in our world work. What I didn't expect was how much fun I'd be having.

Here in The Real World, I have to admit that carrying on about nonsense like ghosts and spirits and psychics and astral planing and horoscoping drives me NUTS. "You know that's bullshit, right?" is the only thing I can think of to say. And I don't actually say it; it's just all I can think of to say, so instead I just stay quiet and then later go slam my head against something.

And yet here in this world I have characters who are totally, and rather hilariously casually, invested in astrology and animism and superstition,* which has about as much basis in the reality of their world as it does in ours, and I am having a BLAST. The setting is sorta-kinda mid-20th-Century in terms of technology, so you get people who are earnestly arguing about what a site's spirits will think of a new skyscraper being built on their turf, or including demon appeasement intheir car maintenance routines, or considering the most auspicious position of the stars when closing business deals, or--well, the entire tangential story I've got loudly playing in my head right now is based on a controversy about modernizing and exploiting spirits--and I love it. Here in our hospital a chapel strikes me as silly; in their world I LOVE that there's a little spirit shrine in every room.

... Then again, I do think they are being silly in the other world; I am just more tolerant of it. And I am fascinated with silly beliefs in both worlds, but around here it's more train-wreckish. Maybe I don't mind so much in OGYAFEland because they're fictional, and thus no real people get hurt when they believe in nonsense. Or maybe I should take a lesson from my own response to my characters, and try to treat real people who carry on about bullshit with more enjoyment than annoyance.

But it is still bullshit.


*But not, they will stress, in gods. That would be ridiculous.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Creative Expression)
The hypomanic idea storm of a couple of weeks ago has died down somewhat, to the point where I can actually focus on other stories besides ALL THE GOOD IDEAS. It's admittedly unpleasant to have those episodes, but the good part is that then I'm left with a year's worth of material to process when I'm in my less crazed state.

This time around it's left me with some supertangential characters in OGYAFEland. I don't know if they'll ever see the light of day beyond one short story that should work, because they're a little bit melodramatic. However, following my recent post on creative truths, I'm finding these characters interesting to work with because they really do follow the casual animism of OGYAFEland a little more literally than my main OGYAFE characters do.

The idea in OGYAFEland is that they proudly insist they don't have gods, but have a hugely extensive belief in spirits and fairies. The idiom reflects this, and a lot of people are willing to follow the traditions of leaving offerings to the spirits, but some are more attuned to it than others. And this is a somewhat modern society--kind of mid-20th-Century, give or take--which means that the fairies are willing to adapt to the changing nature of magic and technology. I like seeing how a belief that they have a lot of little personal, localized spirits hanging around affects these somewhat modernized characters' actions.

Plus, it's just fun to be able to have a character casually say something like "Sure, you can borrow my car, but beware of the bad fairies living in the transmission" and have others take them seriously. It's the little things.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Deep Thoughts)
I keep trying to write up a commentary about one of the most interesting fantasy tropes: the Religion Is True trope. Mostly because I've been fleshing out some of the mythological beliefs of OGYAFElanders,* although it's also because I just read Tamora Pierce's Battle Magic and realized that I've been ... slightly disappointed with the direction the Circleverse has been going in for the last couple of books (this one and Melting Stones) on account of this specific trope.

I always liked the Circleverse because the religion, while a central part of the story, was not indisputably, unambiguously true. You had the temple dedicates praying to and swearing by and honoring the gods, but unlike, say, Tortall or Lord of the Rings or David Eddings' books or the Young Wizards or even goddamn Zelda,** in this world they don't do it because the gods regularly drop by the local waffle house for a short stack or leave helpful voicemails for the heroes or bequeath Our Heroes with Mystical Crysticals. Hell, it's entirely possible that the Circle gods don't even exist, and it's just humans ascribing random occurrences to them.

Y'know, like this world.

And don't get me wrong. I fuckin' like all the Religion Is True examples I listed up there. You can tell some great stories with a premise like that. Hell, I'm even working on a Scatterstone installment featuring some True Animism. But even then, making folklore True actually removes an important aspect from the people in your story: their unbridled creativity.

Now, y'all may know I'm an atheist. I grew up an atheist. My big adolescent revelation wasn't so much that I was an atheist as it was the realization that other people weren't. And while that did lead to a good bit of WTFing on my part--wait, you all BELIEVE this?!--and I do think there is a lot of harm to be gotten out of religion, I also think that religious mythology is fascinating. You can learn a lot about people by the myths they come up with. The stories teach important ideals. You can see the way the mind works in magical thinking, anthropomorphism, spiritism, and just-so explanations. And of course, they're really damn inventive. It takes a lot more cognition to make up a story than to report it.***

I don't think I'm the only one who finds this a bit of a gap. Terry Pratchett (of course) explores it a lot. Discworld's got a sort of symbiotic nature of folklore and humanity--like in Hogfather or Small Gods, where the fairies and gods and Anthropomorphic Personifications are real and concrete, but were born of and fueled by collective human imagination. And even Tortall suggests that the Immortals have a similar backstory, though it seems once they're dreamed up they become independent of humans. But those all still have concrete representations of those concepts. The Circle books were the first time it felt like it really was like our world, where it really was all abstract.

And that was the model I used for OGYAFEland, where there are a bunch of different religions/folklores/mythos ... es ... that are not objectively True, but that influence the thoughts and actions of the humans. It looks like how I see the world. And while it's cool for Pierce to change that around, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was a little disappointed when the Circle Religions started to leak into reality.


*And I just recently had a FABULOUS idea for a short story set in OGYAFEland, god DAMMIT who turned on the Inspiration Fire Hose?

**Or even His Dark Materials--weird, if you've read the book, but while the point is that religion is a construction, it's still not a human construction: angels are a Thing, and they are Messing With Us.

***When I was a kid, it frustrated the hell out of me that everyone was trying to figure out what might have inspired fantastical artworks. "Where could the idea of mermaids come from? Could it have been sailors seeing manatees?" I couldn't figure out why it never crossed their minds that maybe somebody just thought it'd be cool to give a human woman a fish tail. Yes, I know people had frames of reference to work with, but hell, they had fish and women. All it takes is one weirdo with a bit of abstract thinking.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Linguist)
Nobody ever gets to bitch about how the latest generation is Ruining English again.



The Fife, Lute, and Drum Edition of "You're the One That I Want" is a particularly hilarious touch.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Planets)
So Discovery aired a kind of sequel to Mermaids: The Body Found last week, and just like when the first one came out last year, and with that dragon one some years back, it raises an important and intriguing question:

Dude, am I the only one who thought it was just a really fun sci-fi mockumentary?

The only opinions I've really seen are "OMG I'M CONVINCED MERMAIDS R TOTALLY REAL AND THE GOVERNMENT IS COVERING IT UP" and "TRICKERY! This is naught but a HOAX you fools! It is trashy TV to ensnare unwary minds!" It's like for this particular series people forget that speculative fiction is a thing. Admittedly the documentary format is more prone to being misunderstood than your standard SyFy Original or blockbuster,* but c'mon. They are not trying to tell us The Truth, or to confuse the masses with falsehood. They are being creative and playing with science and story.

Anyway, I was kind of disappointed with the follow-up. I really liked the first one--I'm a total sucker for grain-of-science mockumentaries like that. And given that my school biology notes were covered with speculative attempts to design biologically viable, evolutionarily plausible mammalian mermaids (who are going to show up in OGYAFE 2: Electric Boogaloo), or fungal Mushroom People (y'know, the Super Mario ones), or plant-based fairies (like, say, Terwu'arie from Scatterstone), I would say that shouldn't be a surprise. I love making up critters. Hell, the game Spore was just an extension of what I've been doing all along. Only I do it more thoroughly.

But I am also a sucker for speculative anthropology.** So while the ~*~mysteeeerious mystery*~* of cryptozoology was fun, and I do rather enjoy creepy "found" footage, I would have preferred more of a staight-up metafictional study of their evolution and culture. As long as this IS fiction, I do wish they'd carry the story further. Public discovery, contact, language, all that shit that people think doesn't work as entertainment--I would watch the HELL out of that. ("Since making contact with the merfolk, Dr. Dirk Squarejaw has been living on his boat in the open ocean, studying their lifestyle. He filmed the whole thing. Here are some of the highlights." I WOULD WATCH THAT. I might even skip watching 7 Or 8 Assholes And Mister Rogers, if the two shows were in the same time slot. God, TV is so much cooler in my head.)

... Actually, come to think of it, that was pretty much my wish for Avatar, too. But you knew that.


RANDOM POINTLESS COMPLAINT: It kind of annoys me that they kept referring to the entire species as "mermaids." I hereby propose we come up with a good sex-unspecific term for merpeople that isn't as cumbersome as, y'know, "merpeople."


*Their big mistake was tossing in the Government Coverup. If you're a conspiracy theorist, any debunking of that is only further proof that the debunker is PART OF THE CONSPIRACY. There is no way to argue with the claim that "they had to present it as fiction because otherwise the government/Illuminati/lizard people would have completely crushed it."

**Or anthropoidology, I guess.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Triple Nerd Score)
I guess my dwarves are more Pratchetty than anything, really. I am hoping the whole "dwarf women have beards" thing really did come from that one stupidly ambiguous line in the LotR Appendices that suggests that they are so alike in appearance that they are often mistaken for dwarf men, because that would mean that someone besides tweener Amelia read that and thought "Wait ... does that mean ...?" And because it's spawned such fun results.

Anyway, now that I've gotten the Scatterstone post up with its little treatise, I can tell y'all what a huge relief it was to discover that dwarf women did have beards in The Hobbit movie.* Pratchettish dwarves are fun, but I also find the idea of fancily beribboned and bejeweled and styled ladybeards** terribly entertaining. (Torn World's Elizabeth Barrette also has a take on pretty sparklies for beards.)

Unfortunately, the movies' takes on Dwarf women rather preclude the possibility that any member of Thorin's company might be a lady dwarf, as my sister and I theorized. I mean, they still might, but it's not the default. Ah, well.


*Somewhere off in the Didn't Get To Be In The New Movies Actor Warehouse, Dominic Monaghan is elbowing Viggo Mortensen and waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

**I mean, you know, ACTUAL LITERAL FOR REAL ladybeards, not that other kind.
bloodyrosemccoy: (COMICS)
Nothing like watching all the appendix bullshit on the Lord of the Rings DVDs to get one motivated to do some worldbuilding. When Richard Taylor's declaiming* about the backgrounds of different varieties of Orc helmets, or how they tried to advance armor to make it look like things changed over centuries, you can't help but want to put more detail into your own world's culture and customs. Quite useful to have on as background noise, really.

Why yes I AM on a Tolkien kick lately; thanks for noticing!


*As far as I can tell, Sir Richard Taylor, KNZM, has "declaim" as his ONLY setting. Everything he says sounds like he's practicing a dramatic reading of some epic medieval saga.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Snape Teaches)
Been trying to work out a plausible timeline of magical progress in OGYAFEland. I like paralleling it to technological advancement--you know, magic carpets start out rather weak and tough to steer, and through the generations folks work steadily to improve them to carry more things faster and farther. It's rather fun to come up with incremental advances, rather than having fully-developed spells just ready-made throughout history.

Of course, this depends on all magic being more or less based on physical objects, which has been the idea all along. It contrasts nicely with the Impossible Magic some of my own characters demonstrate, it allows people to use magic like we use iPods now, without having the faintest idea how it works, it puts wizards in a spot similar to engineers and scientists, AND it means that I get to use a particularly blingy type of magic wand--since a wand in this world is a compact rod with several spell nodes affixed to it for easy access and use.*

And it certainly helps shape the history of this world.

I'm not sure how much of this will make it into the actual OGYAFE, but it's sure fun to mess with. Gotta enjoy backstorying.


*I've had a problem with wands ever since Harry Potter. How the heck do wizards figure out spells? Do they just stand in a field with a wand and a Portuguese dictionary and flap around until somebody explodes or something? Is magic like trying to figure out a cheat code to unlock a spell? Obviously it's not intuitive since you need to go to school to learn it, so they've got to be doing SOMETHING.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Planets)
I may not be able to argue with Christopher Tolkien, but I have to say I agree far more with this article about The Hobbit--especially since my recent curiosity about Tolkien's languages has led to another attempt to read The Silmarillion.*

I'll add, though, that one of the best things about the movies is the pure JOY with which they take you on a tour of Middle-Earth. I suppose Radagast the Brown could have been edited out, Saruman needn't really have made an appearance, the plate-juggling didn't have to be there, and the Stone Giants were over the top. But before you dismiss them as useless nods to bookish Tolkien nerds, I want you to remember James Cameron's Avatar.

My response to Avatar could best be described as an intense, burning indifference. Before it came out the producers made much of the fact that it was a carefully constructed other world, with its own ecosystem and language and culture. And yet, when you saw the movie, you realized that the glowing world of Pandora lacked personality. Three hours went by and at the end of it I somehow cared less about everyone involved. I was vaguely familiar with maybe two Na'vi (Neytiri and Tsu'tey), but I couldn't conceive of what Neytiri did when she WASN'T shepherding Jake The Dumbass around. I didn't know whether there were favorite swimming holes. I didn't know who made Neytiri's formal necklace. I didn't find out what other villagers did with their time. I didn't even know any other Na'vi names, in a movie that was purportedly meant to showcase their world.** Nobody told off-color jokes that didn't translate, nobody had a favorite fruit, nobody played an instrument, nobody secretly saved Grace's giant copy of The Lorax because it was fascinatingly alien. They were just a mass of Na'vi.***

And they hardly dwell on the world. The great wonders are passed by in favor of dragging the dull plot along. "Oh, yeah, we've got hammerheaded peacock rhinoceroses. Meh. Let's have another heavy-handed argument with the speciesist CEO!"

Now remember the delight with which Radagast shows off his rabbits, or Bilbo sits down to a nice little bathrobe dinner, or the weird little minion of the Goblin King goes zip-stringing off the scaffolding. The movie is really proud of itself and completely in love with its source material, and it wants you to share that joy. And that doesn't just mean sweeping panoramas, but also the minute details. And since even Peter Jackson can't cram every wonderful thing into a movie, the details that do show up have to suggest that this world is going on even when you aren't looking at it. The Hobbit does that. Avatar not so much.

That, I think, is what a lot of people are missing. And yet it's the delight of stories (hell, that's the whole point of our own Torn World--to showcase both a big world AND the wonderful little people living day-to-day in it). So if you ever feel tempted to gripe about those Stone Giants, just remember that they'd have improved the hell out of Avatar.


*I tried to read it in high school, but quickly discovered that Tolkiens Sr. and Jr. have all the abilities of a history textbook writer and more when it comes to making totally goddamn badass tales staggeringly boring. If my brain goes numb while reading about a battle with a giant spider, you need to spiff up your storytelling.

**There's a moment in the film when Jake has had his vision quest or something--not actually shown--and has Become One Of The Tribe, when Neytiri points out that he can now "choose a woman." She then lists a couple of women in the tribe--Jane is the best singer, Sharon sure knows how to kill the everloving shit out of a deer--while obviously hoping Jake will pick her. What was supposed to be a cute, romantic moment in the film was completely lost on me while I grappled with the idea that Jake even KNEW any other women in the tribe. BECAUSE I SURE DIDN'T.

***Na'vi language creator Paul Frommer seems to be battling this anonymity single-handedly, or at least few-handedly with the help of a small but dedicated squad of hardcore Na'vi learners. His blog is a lot more fun than the movie, and the sample sentences tell you a lot more about Na'vi life, as well!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Planets)
Sister's got me watchin' new-style Battlestar Galactica. And call me nuts, while I am finally enjoying the HELL out of military science fiction books in the form of the Honor Harrington series,* I have to admit in this series I'm way more curious about just what kind of culture builds up in the civilian fleet.

I mean, they hint at it, but not nearly as much as I'd like. C'mon--you have just under 50,000 people who escaped the end of the world with only what they had on them at the time. There might be Exciting War Shit going down in the military, but that's a hell of a lot of civilians sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Grief at the end of the world can only get you so far--after a while, you'd get bored. I want to know what people are doing. Are there clubs? A lively trade in books? Did the lucky people with things like art supplies or blank books** suddenly find themselves rich, or maybe besieged by desperately bored people? Do people have portable DVD players or iPods or such--and if so, do they start charging for viewing movies? Or for turns on a portable game system? And what do they charge with? They make a few references to rearranging the economy, but I want to see that in action.

And I want to see how they stay alive and supplied. They also make some references to that, and it drives the plot of a few episodes--"We need more beryllium spheres, so we have to stay in scary territory!"--but how do they keep the organic stuff going? Hydroponics? Is there a way to make more important commodities?

And do the different ships get tribal? Does one ship have a different culture from another? And--and--DANGIT, these are interesting things! I want to know more! Military science fiction is all well and good, but give me Anthropological Science Fiction any day.

... I'll be right back. I suddenly seem to have some ideas ...


*Which I have been trying to read for YEARS, but The Liberry has the whole series except for the first two. Finally had to buy the damn thing.

**My sister and I are totally convinced there is a paper mill somewhere aboard the Galactica.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Old Spice Onna Horse)
You all will be happy to hear that I now know the correct pronunciation of Daja's name. All these years I've been using an affricate for the j, and it turns out it's a straight fricative.* ALL THIS TIME I'VE BEEN LIVING A LIE.

---

This revelation comes straight from a seemingly rather jet-lagged Tamora Pierce, who was the guest of honor at CONduit, Salt Lake City's slightly pathetic attempt at a big geek con. Normally I stay the hell away from cons, because I never have been able to grasp the fine art of milling around and am baffled by the format of panels.** But this was Tamora Pierce, so I put up with the milling so's I could ATTACH MYSELF TO HER LEG AND ASK IF SHE'D READ MY MANUSCRIPT urbanely say hello, show off Daja, ask a few writing questions, and listen to some panels. I even managed not to be the most obnoxious person at those panels! Good for me!

---

So for years I've had this big ball of hemp twine sitting in my desk drawer next to a whole bunch of little rubber bouncy balls, for reasons unexplained. Finally I figured I might as well use them and did the only logical thing I could: learned how to braid a shepherd's sling. Now we'll see who's man enough to try stealing my radishes.***

---

Been trying to create some more folktales for OGYAFEland. At the moment I'm working on their version of Santa Claus, because it's never too soon to start Christmas. It's been fun coming up with an origin story for him with folk elements, cultural assumptions, and of course bears. Everything's better with bears.

---

My sister, the incomparable [livejournal.com profile] sunshine_shaman, has been posting a whole bunch of photos of her Euroventures. I must be hungry, because my favorite one at the moment is a photo of a bunch of cupcakes. You can't eat Notre Dame, after all.

---

I have discovered that the most irritating thing about trying to get an agent isn't rejections. Everyone always tries to make me feel better when I get rejected, but I just think, "Oh, well, onto the next one!"

No, the obnoxious thing is just waiting for an answer. Rejections are responses. But no response? That way lies Dorothy Parkerian madness.


*For those of you who care, that means it sounds like the French j, or the s in vision.

**When I'm interested in a panel, I tend to just start conversing with the panelists like I'm one of them. I don't know how to help it. I had the same problem with interesting classes.

***Perhaps I could also do something about those goddamn barking dogs all over the neighborhood. Like, hypothetically, clocking their idiot owners upside the head with a rubber ball whenever the poor mutts start yapping their fool heads off.
bloodyrosemccoy: (I AM MRS! NESBIT!)
In other great news, guess what? Torn World is starting up contests again! Here’s the LJ entry detailing the current one—Fashions and Fads.

… And now I suddenly want to make a Torn World doll. But there are so many options! I could do a Northerner with a fatastic winter coat, a Tifijimi fashionista in tropical print,* a modern-day Mayaloi living in the empire wearing science robes—the list goes on. I am, dare I say it, TORN.

Anyway, even if you’re not a doll nerd like me, check out the contest. You can still design some nifty stuff. Let your imagination run wild!


*I would love to do a normal-size Duurludirj, but I have no idea how to find or make an achondroplasic doll.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Geek On)
Trying to find a book on the history of astrology and its influences on the world, which isn’t hard to find. The tricky part is finding an author who doesn’t feel the need to constantly insist that astrology is TRUE DAMMIT. Bit surprising, really—I’d have expected it to be impartial, but the last author waxed strongly poetic about how empty astronomy is without astrology, and how astrology gives lives meaning and connects us to the greater universe in a tangible way, and other such bullshit.

Thing is, as an anthropology nerd, I find astrology fascinating. Not for its objective truth; one can be interested in urban legends, or religions, or fairy tales, without thinking they’re actual truths. No, I like to see what a complex mythology like that says about the people who made it up, and how a human-generated system influences how humans actually behave. It doesn’t matter if the position of Jupiter actually affects a person’s life*; what matters is that the person behaves as if it does.

I kinda wish I could find a book that sees the difference.

And yes, this is more research for writing. I’m trying to add some more mythology into the OGYAFE culture, and they just can’t get enough of their stars. If nothing else, it gives me some good place names to work with.


*It says you should spend the rest of the week face-down in the mud.
bloodyrosemccoy: (I AM MRS! NESBIT!)
Been wanting to write some of Kuen’s books, in the American Girl Central Series format because I AM A GIANT NERD.* Kuen’s my redheaded sprite doll—you can see her here—an original character who goes back years in my head. I figured it’d be fun to showcase her world the way the AG books do with their historical characters.

The problem is, Kuen lives in a shameless utopia.

See, when I get all pushed out of shape about larger societal problems, yeah, I try to fix what I can, but my escape is to retreat into designing my own utopia. Yeah, yeah, I know, nobody likes utopia in stories, but I think that’s largely because an author’s idea of what makes a wonderful society reflects a lot of the author’s opinions and crazy biases. But by god it sure is therapeutic to sit around designing a world where things went right the first time. And I see nothing wrong with aspiring for utopia. First we just have to all agree on what that is.

Anyway, I try to work at it. Sure, I cheated and made Kuen’s people inhuman, so I can gloss over any possible objections of unrealism by pointing out that Sprites’ Brains Are Different From Humans’. But I also try my damndest to give them a working infrastructure—yes, I worked out the plumbing and the power grid and the government and whatnot. And I also made it so that not everyone is deliriously happy all the time—utopia’s more just my attempt to fix all the completely out-of-whack systems our own world has in place. These people are on their own for being happy within their system.**

But it’ll be interesting to see if I can keep that up when I write the stories—it’s like trying to run a simulation. We’ll just have to see if I can pull out a functioning, interesting story in a world of sunshine and bunny rabbits. Wish me luck!


*More nerdiness: I also have picked a color and a symbol for each of my dolls, as per the AG standard. To reiterate: I AM A DOLL NERD.

**Also, sprites’ brains being Different From Humans’ isn’t always an advantage. You get the odd supervillain much more frequently.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Squee)
Hey, guys! Look what came for me in the mail today!

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No, not that. That’s just my analog version of a time-wasting Flash game. YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO SEE THAT.

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This is what I’m talking about. It’s a physical copy of the first Torn World book, Family Ties & Torn Skies! I am all for the Digital Revolution,* but there’s still something about holding a physical bound copy—of a thing you helped get started—that is immensely satisfying. Plus, it’s a great book—it’s got stories, poems, and artwork, including some things not available on the website, and interspersed between that are really nifty bits of information about the world itself.

Also—says the conlanger with pride—the names are really fun to say. Affamarg, Akaalekirth, Duurludirj, Kalitelm, Itadesh.

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It also comes with ACEOs! Oh, man, aren’t trading cards great? Screw your dang Magic: The Gathering, I’ve got the Rejoining Day Toasted Bug Onna Stick!

Next time I’ll have to gain enough confidence or whatever to actually write something for one o’ these, but for now I can be happy that I helped make the world this book details. But the best part is how Ellen Million’s excellent idea has gotten exponentially cooler as more people contribute.

Seriously, dudes, this is so cool! Check it out if you get a chance.


*Except when it comes to math puzzles, apparently.

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