Cultures and Questions
So, first off, my new review is up on Geek Nifty for the PC game Safe House. You can check it out here. I plan on doing a more in depth review tomorrow or the day after if you're interested in knowing more of the nuances about the game and my feelings on it.
But, onto today's topic. Today I'm spitting wisdom about cultures in fiction. Okay, maybe not wisdom, but I'm certainly sharing my point of view on the creation of cultures.
I see a lot of civilizations or ancient cultures in fiction that don't really make sense to me. There are logical paths to follow (something I talked about in my deductive reasoning blog post) when creating people, lands, and especially cultures. Now, I'm not saying one should necessarily pull a Star Trek and base everything on a pre-existing culture, but if you study them and their history, you can find the logical reasons for why they act and believe the way they do.
Too often I see writers, both novice and well-known, create a culture around an idea first. That's fine, I suppose, but if you're too centered on that idea, you run the risk of bending logic to fit your narrative (literally). Say you have a culture of people that believe talking aloud is primitive and so have slowly adapted a form of telepathy and body language. That's cool and all, but when you expand out and fill in their religion and politics, you have to make sure they're following lines that make sense for a culture that doesn't talk. Would music even be a thing? How would it affect art? If they've been like this for generations and one of them leaves the village and tries to integrate with others, they better have a hell of a time making audible sounds.
Too often in stuff (I'm looking at you, Star Trek) we see people making decisions and cultures bending logic just to fit the story of the week. It's become something of a joke lately, but I've started re-watching Star Trek Deep Space Nine (yes, I know!) and man... they bend logic constantly. The latest episode had the only doctor on the station and the chief engineer go to Bajor (the planet that's closest to them) to heal a village elder. Why? Why would that village want Starfleet's help when they've established Bajor is on rocky terms with them? Why aren't there any doctors on the freakin' PLANET that can do this? Why send the ONLY doctor on your station to do this? Why send your chief engineer, who maintains a station that is constantly malfunctioning, as a chauffeur for that only doctor? And when the inevitable monster shows up that makes the science humans question science and believe in faith, why has no other village on this entire planet tried to help? Why are Bashir and O'Brien literally the only people outside the village to know about this plight?
Okay, I think I might have gotten off track, but you can see where I'm coming from, right? It's a place of love, really. I think. Point is... think logically. Ask why. Ask why all the time.
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.