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Always Chaotic Evil - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Always Chaotic Evil
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 22nd, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> I chose to take what I called a "shades of white" approach, where none of the different races could be called evil in any objective sense, but they still clashed all the time because of personal clashes between leaders, fights over scarce resources, grudges between individuals that escalated, and the fact that some of them had "raiding cultures", as one of the comments over there put it. <<

That sounds similar to what I have in The Ocracies: a bunch of very different cultures, each with its own political system. Sometimes they get along but other times they just totally drive each other nuts.

>>I usually go with non-willful Undead or Constructs. It only takes one person with the right kind of power going off the deep end and turning evil to get a full on horde going there, and since all those Skeletons and Zombies are really just puppets animated by his or her will and magic, it sidesteps the entire issue of culture.<<

Ah, that's a good solution, particularly the undead. Constructs, well, you know my penchant for sentient androids.

>>Also, one of the tipoffs that almost no one in Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War series is white is when they run across a bunch of white supremacists, and refer to them as "fishbellies" because they're so pale.<<

Now you've got me imagining other subtle tipoffs for that. Like you go into a store and the bandaids are all brown. The makeup is chocolate-colored. There are lists, somewhere, of things that are geared towards white people ... it would be nifty to find one of those and reverse it all. And never say one explicit word about anyone's skin color in the story.
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 23rd, 2012 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

>>"Constructs" is a pretty broad term. Plenty of room in there for both controlled and sentient versions.<<

Yes, that's true.

>>I'm clearly seeing some kind of hierarchy of sentience for Constructs, analogous to some of those for the Undead. So there could be very simple forms that are only animated directly by their creator's will, like the Zombies and Skeletons in my first example, some that can be self-directed, but are non-sentient, sort of on the "beast of burden" level, equivalent to Ghouls in some systems and some Ghosts, and then the fully sentient forms, on par with the Vampires and Liches.<<

I like this idea. It goes along with some things I've hinted in the Steamsmith series. The automatons there come in different types, some essentially just factory robots and others that can do more complex tasks. But they all have an animating 'spirit' that can take a template of what they are supposed to do. That leaves an opening for further development that people might not be expecting. Also it ties into takwin, the goal of Arabic alchemists to create life in the laboratory.

>>And I really like the idea of never explicitly giving anyone's skin colour, but dropping in all kinds of supporting evidence that makes it undeniable to a thorough reader that this is a non-white culture.<<

Yeah, I can't resist the temptation to poke people's assumed gaze in the eye with dinner forks.
siege From: siege Date: June 23rd, 2012 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

If you read "American Gods", there is only once sentence that gives a direct hint as to the protagonist's race, and otherwise no explicit mentions. But somehow, knowing only that much, and especially as a riddle instead of a fact, gives the whole book a slightly different color.
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siege From: siege Date: June 23rd, 2012 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

His name is Shadow. And whether or not he's Baldr, remember the description of that "spot the hidden things" puzzle, toward the end of the book?
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