Science fantasy worldbuilding in Phoenix 1: Establishing norms

Establishing the Norms


Science-fantasy is known for its high adventure across cosmically sprawling settings, using  scientific and magical concepts to tell action- and drama-packed stories. 

But! With so many ideas of fantasy and science fiction often jammed into one setting, writers need to do a lot of groundwork to help the reader understand what kind of setting we’re in, and what is considered ‘normal’ for the story and its characters. That way, when we depart from these norms, the reader can fully appreciate the circumstances the characters find themselves in.

Let’s have a look from one of the early sections in Phoenix by S.F. Said, where the protagonist, Lucky, has just woken up from a prophetic dream.

He powered down the security matrix and opened his window, gulping in fresh air, trying to cool himself. It was still dark outside. But high above the suburban apartment blocks, the stars were shining. The sight calmed him just a little. He’d lived on this moon at the edge of the Aries system all his life, yet he never tired of gazing at the stars. They seemed so free, up there in the sky. Nothing could ever harm them.

He could hear the distant roar of starships, taking off from the spaceport. Soon it would be morning, and his mother would wake up.

PhoenixS.F. SaidSource

In order to construct a baseline for what is normal in this setting, futuristic concepts are moved through as casually as we might describe our own, more mundane lives.

What do we know from this setup?
What you’ll need

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