However, in most genres world building starts with research into a real world setting, time, or myth that has inspired the fictional location and characters.
In these genres, the key is to stick close to that common store of knowledge and to define any variations in a way that the reader will accept.
In Science Fiction, there are additional complications.
First: Alien Worlds
Whether it is a far distant future earth or a true alien planet, an alien world is a pure product of the imagination. The geography, plant life, animal life, even the very atmosphere must reflect the fact that it is NOT present day Earth.
The heat of a vast sun beat down from above; the rocks, plants, even the sky had taken on a reddish tone as the expanding star scorched the planet’s surface. The super-giant monster covered a third of the sky, its surface heaving and spitting radiation and plasma into space. (Excerpt from Slivers of Silver )
Second: Alien Creatures
For more detail here see my earlier post for SFR Brigade "Writing Alien Species ".
Third: Alien Technology
Whether, based in an alien or future human society the technology that fills the fictional science fiction universe is all but a character in and of its self.
Current science theorizes a universe where faster than light travel cannot exist, and long distance travel in space is all but impossible.
So, science fiction writers have long chosen to overlook or even break the rules of modern physics in order to create a universe where these things would be possible.
The key to doing so is to create a satisfying technological construct that while it might break the laws of physics does it consistently and in a believable way.
"Number three reactor status critical. Catastrophic failure imminent."
...A reactor explosion would destroy engineering and several decks worth of equipment and personnel, while shutting the reactor and connected engine down for maintenance would weaken the already strained energy shielding and flood the ship with deadly radiation. (Excerpt from Dark Silver , Coming December 2014)
Fourth: The Known Universe
While some scientific facts are regularly ignored or altered by science fiction authors, there is one area where I and many other authors try to stay as close to reality as possible. This is the action structure, nature, and appearance of the universe.
Some stretches of current theory are necessary to craft interesting worlds, but such things should be used in moderation and only when necessary.
The vista visible from the ballroom extended across the horizon, streaks of burning matter flashed past where I stood to join a golden whirlpool decorated by random flashes of light. Trailing streams of superheated gases spiraled in from the nearby star and into a far distant pinhead of black nothingness. (Excerpt from Dark Silver , Coming December 2014)
Building a science fiction universe has unique challenges, but a well-crafted story is its own reward!
An expanded discussion on this subject is available at: http://jakenney.com/2014/07/universe-buildingexpanded-sfr-brigade-post/
Silver Strife is Available Now!
Life . . . Death . . . Rebirth
Quicksilver is an ancient immortal warrior. One of a group of alien beings that were once pure energy, living in the void between galaxies, and who have taken mortal form to influence history.
The Purists, compelled by a zealot prophet, are immortal extremists who will use any means at their disposal to wipe out all mortal life. Qui and her Conservationist brethren have spent millions of years fighting for their survival.
In Silver Strife, Quicksilver has been reincarnated on an Earth devastated by centuries of planet-wide civil war. She awakens in the body of a human Elite named Lini: one of a race of superhumans, bred and trained by a Purist-led government to massacre the remnants of humanity. Quicksilver joins the rebel forces, despite their reluctance to trust a hated Elite, determined to take down the brutal dictatorship that has decimated the human race.
From their first meeting, she is drawn to Captain David Mitchell, the rebel officer who aided her escape from the Elite's gilded cage. Even after swearing to never love again when her last mortal lover was killed saving her life, she finds herself falling for the honorable and driven soldier.
When Quicksilver crosses the path of an immortal ally on a top-secret mission behind enemy lines, a decision is forced upon her. She must choose between the fate of the human rebels, her mortal lover, and fulfilling her Conservationist oath to protect all mortal life.
Purchase Link: http://www.bottomdrawerpublications.net/#!silver-strife/cg34
J.A. Kenney lives in Aurora, Colorado, with a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains. In the winter, when the sky is clear, and if she stands on her tiptoes in exactly the right spot.
Three cats, a Chihuahua mix who thinks she is a Mastiff, and her beloved husband share her humble abode.
She has been writing since she found out that playing alien witches was more fun than tag. Her stories are a blend of science fiction, fantasy, and romance with strong female protagonists.
When she is not writing she reads voraciously, sings, skis, rides her Harley, and grudgingly assists with home improvement projects.