Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

Time to get to know the Escape Velocity Collection’s curators! How? By asking them the questions that really matter! Let’s see what our curators have to say… 

This week’s question is:

What is the coolest bit of wolrdbuilding that you've encountered recently?

I was inspired to ask the curators this question because I was reading She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker Chan recently (review coming up somewhere in the near future!), and I was struck by just how much of an impact small bits of worldbuilding can have on how a book feels. I really really liked how in She Who Became the Sun, a book set in an alternate medieval China, the Mandate of Heaven was not just a cultural concept representing the favour of the gods and the right to rule, but a heavenly fire that individuals destined to rule could manifest physically. It is an awesome way to tie history and fantasy together, it made for some scenes that were great to imagine visually, and it even plays an important part in the book’s plot. Worldbuilding at its best!



I believe the coolest bit of worldbuilding I recently encountered was in Netflix’s The Sandman, with the credits probably belonging to Neil Gaiman. I thought that the way in which abstract concepts were personified – such as dreams, death and inspiration – resulted in some extremely cool stories and new ways to interpret our world and the themes we have to deal with daily. What if dreams were something we could literally force to come true? What if Death was locked up? And I’m not even speaking of the stunning visuals!

If I think of the latest pieces of media I consumed, most of them did not stand out because of their worldbuilding, but more because of their storytelling (or they did not stand out at all). There is one exception: The Great Chameleon War, a psychedelic story in a dreamscape of absurd imagery and ancient lizards that dominate the world like giant dinosaurs. This audio drama was (at first) pure discovery of the world, so actually pure worldbuilding.



I would have to say the Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin. A lot of fantasy media has similar worldbuilding, and I don’t think that’s a problem. After all, it can be really nice to step into a world and understand (most of) it immediately. However, this also means that when I encounter a fantasy world that doesn’t feel instantly familiar, it gives me a bit of a thrill. N. K. Jemisin gives us a universe that’s not eurocentric, has (for me at least) original ideas about magic, and left me fully confused as to where I was and what was going on. The beauty of her worldbuilding is that it absolutely makes sense; it just takes you a long time to really find your bearing. Once you do, it’s both indescribable and unforgettable.

That’s it: another soul-searching question answered!

Still curious? Visit each curator’s page to see what they’ve recently been up to!

Check out our reviews of the media discussed in this post here:

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