I have come into the possession of a most extraordinary object, which I procured rather fortuitously before the auction of goods from an insolvent boutique on the East Boulevard. I do not know how long it lay, disused and uncared-for, in a dusty drawer at that establishment, or when the boutique acquired it. The artifact in question is a curious map of the southern continent. I have scrutinized the place names and cross-referenced the markers corresponding to cities and towns with the atlases and charts in the City Library, and I have determined that this map dates from approximately 530 A.E. It covers the area from the North Barovin Mountains in its upper-left extremity, to historic Vorsvenbal in the south and all of South Brenin, Kalatchal, and part of Olahira to the east.
The famous dòm Gurand Map of our southern continent does not only provide interesting historical and societal context, but contains some surprisingly accurate geographic information. One can examine the map for geological purposes, for evidence of historical wind patterns, and for characteristics of the climate of the year 530. Drainage areas of rivers are readily apparent, for instance, and the cartographer has captured some of the different qualities in the mountain ranges. Continue reading The Map→
It was many, many years ago when I first read The Lord of the Rings and the Redwall books, and I was always fascinated by the maps in the first few pages of each novel. Ever since then, I have been captivated by the idea of fantasy and science fiction world-building. It started with maps of my own – maps of places that didn’t exist, maps of places near my Massachusetts home as I wished they could have been, permutations of Tolkein’s maps. Eventually, I started to add to the maps notes about the cultures living in those worlds, inventing religions, societies, languages, and technologies. I began to invent prominent characters to populate my worlds, and eventually started to think about the adventures those characters would have.
The desert of Oghura and the Cathedral Galaxy are my latest such world-building exercises. Both of these have gone well beyond the “doodle stage,” as they now have characters and stories to their names. But Oghura stands out as the world that is probably the furthest along, and it is the only one of my invented worlds to have a fully-fleshed-out and fully functional language. And this is no cop-out set of invented fantasy words full of apostrophes, g’s, r’s, and q’s. Oghuran is an “a priori” constructed language that I pieced together carefully, using my knowledge of linguistics, statistics, and programming, with a liberal dose of imagination. Here is how I built Oghuran. Continue reading Constructing Oghuran→