Science fantasy worldbuilding in Phoenix 3: A whole new world

A Whole New World


It’s likely that a science-fantasy story will have a setting that spans multiple planets. It’s a great way to take a protagonist out of their norm and an opportunity for some, well, worldbuilding. This is a much bigger task than describing a room or building. Planets are huge. Let’s see how the world of Leo Five is introduced for the first time in Phoenix.

They came in to Leo Five out of the midday sun. Around them, starships rose and fell in orderly lines, their wings gleaming in the golden light. On the comm, they could hear subspace stations full of chatter; the crackle and buzz of communications; the non-stop whirl of activity in the world below.

It was a relief to get going. After everything Lucky had been through, it felt good to breathe fresh air again; to feel wind on his skin, and sunlight on his face. He drank in the sights and sounds eagerly, relishing his first new world.

And Leo Five looked dazzling. The streets were drenched in rich golden light, and lined with tall buildings all lit up from within. Between them, the skyline was spiked by countless cranes, building even bigger structures. Words and pictures scrolled across their walls. Advertisements flashed by on enormous vidscreens, faster than Lucky could read. Cycles and aircars whooshed past them as they drove, an electric blur of motion, their lights like one continuous stream of flame.

This was the height of Human wealth, and it made the moon he’d grown up on look like a toy town. It was astonishing to see all that energy burning in those buildings, powering this civilization.

PhoenixS.F. SaidSource

This snapshot of the world provides a lot of detail, and describes not only the appearance and activity, but the sounds and feel of it as well.

Note that the feeling of a world changes depending on whose eyes we're looking through. What one character may see as wonderful and fabulous, another may think of as harsh and overwhelming.

So, think about how you want your readers to feel about each part of your world or universe, and which character(s) should introduce each setting to get those feelings across.

In this lesson, we'll see how different word choices, and the character's perspective, help to shape this new world in the reader's mind. 

Like what you see?

You’re not logged in!

If you want to save your writing, login and either assign this lesson to yourself or access it via your group.