World-building Influences

(I recently got a question about the influences that led me to build the world of Echowake.  I thought’d post it here on the blog for anyone interested.  Thanks for reading!)

The world of Echowake has a lot of influences. I didn’t really plan it that way but it evolved over time.

The setting started out as “a barren wasteland with air whales flying overhead.” I’ve always liked post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction so that idea excited me. The air whales overhead gave it a nice fantasy element too.

I also knew I wanted to have magic. I borrowed a page from things like Dragon Ball and Naruto and decided to make the magic chi-based. Something based on the life-force of a person, but it wasn’t something everyone could do.

One of the characters early on belonged to a guild of inventors, so I wanted to have some technology, but not too futuristic. I settled with a gear + steam engine level of technology. It fit well with this recovering dystopian (or even post-dystopian) world as they entered a second industrial revolution. The character, incidentally, was definitely influenced by Lucca (from Chrono Trigger) and Bulma (again, from Dragon Ball.) I never really setout to do “Steampunk”, and as such it’s not the typical Victorian and parasol style of Steampunk. It’s a bit dirtier than all that.

Speaking of dirty. Being a dystopian world, there wasn’t much in the way of government and certainly no militaries or police force. So how do people go about protecting their towns and cities? Probably by forming some kind of militia. Let’s call them Marshals. And they should be armed… We have plenty of metal craft in this world (thanks to the steampunk inventors) so guns seem plausible. Hmm. A group of do-gooders running around in the Scorch (a desert-like environment) with guns fighting wild raiders… is this a Western? Just a little bit! 😉 But let’s mix it up. One of the characters has a large 6-chamber revolving rifle. Now that’s dystopia!

Because this dystopian world was created by some great cataclysm hundreds of years prior, that meant the world as it was before was gone. But what was it like? What vestiages might be left from those old civilizations? There might be ancient technologies left behind that are more advanced than anything steam power could offer. Enter: Science Fiction. This is a popular trope in many stories and it fits just perfectly in my world.

Maybe it’s true what they say, there are no more original ideas, only original combinations of ideas. If that’s true, then I’m in a good place!

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