Science fantasy worldbuilding in Phoenix 2: Current events

Current Events


This checkpoint piece can appear in Peer Review and Wrotevote, and be graded by a moderator.

Let’s pull all these fragments back together and see what we have. Here’s the original snippet:

The vidscreens filled with an image of President Thorntree, leader of the Human government: a kindly but stern-looking woman with steely blonde hair.

‘I’m sorry to confirm that the Aliens have struck again,’ said the President. ‘Aries One was a peaceful world, but nowhere is safe while they are at large. My government is suspending all space traffic in the Aries system as a security measure, effective immediately. If you see anything suspicious, report it at once to the Shadow Guards. With your help, we will defeat our enemies.’

The vidscreens flashed up an enormous image: the Alien King, the most wanted being in the galaxy. Lucky recoiled instinctively, and so did everyone around him. No matter how many times he saw Alien features, he couldn’t get used to them: the curving horns, the cloven hooves, the burning eyes of flame.

PhoenixS.F. SaidSource

Here are the examples we've been building:

The hologram receiver in the corner crackled to life, recreating the translucent blue form of Admiral Kane, the galaxy’s greatest pilot. Beneath his dusty face and thick, bristly beard was a beaming smile.

‘It is my pleasure to announce the commencement of this year’s expedition to the Dedalus sector,’ said the Admiral. ‘Dedalus is currently one of our galaxy’s greatest mysteries, and no expeditions have ever flown so far. The Galactic Transit Authority have permitted travel outside the safe zone for the first time since the War, beginning with this voyage. Any captains or pilots that wish to apply for a position aboard the Ulysses IV, please contact the Travellers. This is a great day for opportunity, and a great day for humanity!’

The hologram flickered and shifted, reforming in the image of an enormous spaceship: the Ulysses IV, pride of the Human fleet. Biff’s eyes lit up at the sight of it, and he heard excited murmurs from the rest of the kitchen staff around him. It was the most spectacular ship he’d ever seen: the sleek hull, the immense engines, the brilliant red paint. 

Vijay’s HUD flickered, went dead, and then suddenly sprang back to life. Executor Lubalin, head of the Convention, a man who looked like an outer wilds adventurer who had spent too long dealing with office politics.

“My apologies for the data hijack, but I need everyone’s attention. Ingel Snep has escaped,” said the Executor. “Snep is only one man, but he is the leader of a trans-galactic terror movement. While imprisoned, awaiting trial, we deprived his organisation of his singular genius. Now that he is at large, we must declare an emergency. You will find yourself receiving individual instructions, determined by the Machine. Follow them without delay. Your speed will save lives.”

Lubalin disappeared and was replaced with a deep lens of the galaxy, Vijay’s position marked, and a new destination. No way. That couldn’t be right. Bleets appeared in her peripheral vision. Other Agents—excited, but not confused like she was. The instructions made no sense. The Convention was sending her into the galactic graveyard: nothing there but haunted ruins and lonely probes, certainly nobody to help a rebel leader stage an interplanetary revolution.

The nodule at Jola’s medical pod projected Grand Imperial Riju’s visage. A battle-scarred, tough old amphib with caring, fatherly eyes. 

‘There have been a great many deaths today,’ said their leader, head bowed. ‘All living things in the Neapolis Commune… no... the entire Tunisian Sea are at risk from these invaders. Today’s destruction... it saddens me to say... is beyond our capability to defend. To ensure our safety, I decree that we move immediately to the safety of our strong houses in the Terranean Basin. Seek your loved ones, travel light, and move fast. Our noble race is worth more than mere dwellings. We will endure.’

The projection pulled back to show Grand Imperial Riju was not alone. His family, sixteen in all, swam beside him, clearly emotional, but steadfast and proud. Jola thought of her own family and shared the emotion, though it hurt her ribs to do so. Looking around, so did the rest in her ward. The humans were unbeatable: too big, too powerful, not worth the genocide of the amphib race.

Let’s create a checkpoint piece. You can either revise and polish your work from this lesson (we’ve pasted it below) or you can write something completely new. (Your teacher may have a preference).

We’ve highlighted a high-level structure in the snippet, but within that you should try to include:

  • How your characters are receiving the broadcast
  • The breaking news
  • The status quo of your universe
  • How the authorities respond to the event
  • A spectacle to conclude the broadcast
Your turn

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