Musing on Worldbuilding

One goal of the Voidstrider books is creating a universe I can play in for decades to come. The central story of the Saga, as it currently stands and as it is planned out, chronicles humanity’s turbulent expansion into that larger stage.

It’s an origin story, I guess.

When I first started, the idea was to write a series of pulpy adventure stories. There was an overarching story (the broad strokes of which I had completely planned out) that would be divided up into segments, each one easily devoured in a day or two. Beach reads. Pulp.

The broad strokes haven’t changed in the years since. I’m still going to the same place, but the story segments have grown more complex. I got drawn in, and this is a good thing.

I’ve realized I’ll probably be writing stories in this universe for the rest of my life.

The upcoming, standalone tale of Serotonin Overload is just the first story set in this universe but set apart from the primary Saga novels. It’ll take place about 50 years before Revolt on Vesta, and there will be some pretty obvious connections to the “later” stories. It’s standalone, but certain elements of the world are ubiquitous and persistent.

Revolt on Vesta does establish, for example, that Valentin Miranov is over 160 years old and has operated his asteroid mining concern for decades. Villain Mick Cross inherited Cross Industries, the solar system’s leading manufacturer of weapons and military technology (as well as neural implants!), from her father … it’s entirely probable that Serotonin Overload, walking the cyberpunky streets of Cap City, might encounter a glittering holographic ad for Cross Industries tech.

These two stories stand entirely separate, but the world is interconnected. I think – hope? – this will serve to make both stronger, at least in terms of world-building. I think a lot about the worldbuilding to be found in Frank Herbert’s Dune novels and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Particularly with the latter, should a devoted reader find themselves magically transported to some random corner of that fantasy world, they would in all likelihood be able to name the city they found themselves in immediately. And those who have immersed themselves in the universe of Dune understand how ten thousand years of history have shaped the factions and situation of the original.

I may not cover 10,000 years … or I may. The original plan leads to a final situation that, while the story is concluded, a sandbox has been built in which to tell endless further stories. Unlike Dune, I’m not winding in on a narrow conclusion. I’m spiraling out into an endless universe.

One in which the story of The Voidstrider Saga – though complex, lengthy, and epic – is merely an origin story.

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