Friday, January 6, 2012

Various shades of nasty

It's been a while since I posted a snippet about Shayla's world, the setting for Ghosts of Innocence.

I started off with some of the deep history, then wide physical surroundings, and space travel. This time, I'll touch lightly on some more of the human aspects of the worldbuilding. I say "lightly" because this aspect is less well fleshed-out than some other areas.

When I talked about the inhabited star systems, I mentioned a number of distinct types of worlds and political arrangements: those under the rule of one of the six Grand Families, the independent Freeworlds, and the outworlds.

One thing these all have in common is that they are all oligarchies of one form or another. Some more benevolent than others, they are all still built on well-entrenched minority ruling groups. The concept of democracy, of rule by the people, died with Earth millennia ago.

The Grand Families are effectively hereditary monarchies, supported by some form of ruling class.

The vast empire of the Family Skamensis, for example, is controlled centrally by a sprawling bureaucracy backed up by a powerful military. The hierarchy of public servants and appointed officials govern all aspects of public affairs, with senior members of the hierarchy enjoying great prestige and privilege.

The other major Family in the story is the Family Firenzi. Their ruling structure consists of a looser arrangement of planetary governments which superficially have more local autonomy. Despotism is more subtle and benign in Firenzi space, but present nonetheless.

The Freeworlds enjoy independence from the Familys' rule, but that independence rarely extends to the general populace. Shayla's brother, Brandt, lived on the University Freeworld of Chevinta, which is ruled by an intellectual meritocracy. Brandt lived as a recluse, taking no part in the backstabbing world of University politics, and he would have rejected any suggestion of being a member of a ruling elite, but he hardly noticed the subservient underclass that kept him and his intellectual peers fed and clothed.

Then, there are the outworlds. Mostly ruled by brigands or feudal overlords.

The only ones truly free are too poor and remote to count.


  1. Wow, very intriguing...sounds like I will need to do a little back reading to get up to speed.
    Feel free to fire me off a direct reply to this comment with the link(s) to some of your earlier bits on Ghosts of Innocence.

    Cheers, Jenny @ PEARSON REPORT

  2. Sir, your blog is too self-indulgent.

  3. Jenny, earlier posts in this series are linked in the second paragraph of this post, and they can all be found by clicking on the "Shayla's world" label in the sidebar.

    Anonymous, you sound suspiciously like Sir Tom Eagerly, mysterious blog stalker and self-indulgent commenter extraordinaire.

  4. Greetings Ian,
    I'm liking your imagination here. Fascinating concept and those snippets certainly arouse my curiosity and I must check on your links within the posting.
    Indeed, it looks like the 'legend in his own mind' Sir Tom Eagerly, may well be making the blogging rounds. Gosh, lucky us! :)
    Take good care,

  5. I know I've said this before, but I do envy your ability to worldbuild!

    Anon's comment made me laugh. What blogger isn't self-indulgent? It's the one place we CAN be self-indulgent. Was he/she trying to be funny?

  6. Impressing details, you are convincing and inviting :). I am amused how you managed to include politics in your story, it makes everything even more credible, bitter but credible :).

    Also txs for the wedding advice, it's highly appreciated and by the way you are invited :).

  7. Gary, thanks. And lucky us, indeed :)

    Jennifer, worldbuilding is my favourite part. The danger for me is to spend all my time worldbuilding and none of it actually writing.

    Unikorna, politics and religion too, which is a subject for another post. And thanks for the kind invite :)

  8. Hi Botanist! This is going to be one well-researched book! Sounds great already!


  9. I just got a surprise when I saw you have the L'Aussie Fair Dinkum Award which I made and started sending around the world. Awesome!

  10. That was your award? Well done! It must be gratifying to see how far it's spread.


I love comments. Please feel free to join in the discussion.

I also try to respond to comments. I usually do so during the early evening (Pacific time) which may be many hours away from now!

So if you leave a comment and return some time later and I haven't responded yet, please don't think I'm ignoring you. I'm not. Honest.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...