There were two things driving me in the creation of this series at the start.
First, there was the title “Speaker for the Dead.” (And yes I know all about the science fiction series by Orson Scott Card, a series I once loved but would rather not get into reasons for not loving it now. This series has nothing to do with that. And the title has nothing in common with anything from that series.)
And the second, which is what we’re going to talk about a little today, is the comic series Finder by Carla Speed McNeil. This is a science fiction story that is so good I don’t even know how to describe how good it is. She creates a world that is so believable for this series that you have no trouble believing in it. For most of its history, McNeil self published the series herself in black and white. Lately, I’ve been seeing it coming from Dark Horse and one volume even appeared in color. Personally, I prefer the black and white, but I know color is going to help it sell better.
I’m not going to talk about the characters she creates for this series. How true to life they feel, but I want to talk about the world she has created. She has created a world that is believable that you feel like it’s real. A lot of science fiction stories have one point to make and most of their world revolves around that point, so while the story might be enjoyable and the characters real, the entirety of their world never quite feels real. You never completely believe in the world. You can accept it, you have to if you want to enjoy the story, but there’s always something in the back of your mind questioning the whys and hows of this world. You don’t have that in the world of Finder. I get so completely lost in her world. It is evident that she has thought this world out very carefully and built it slowly and carefully from the ground up.
I’ve been wanting to create a world like this for awhile. My world is nothing like hers and I don’t want it to be. I want a world that you can believe in. That’s what I want to take away from her. Now I’m nowhere the talent Ms. McNeil is, so I’m hoping that my world building is at least half as good as hers. Heck, I’d settle for a quarter of good.
Another series, one that is a lot newer and one that I’ve come to after my thoughts on Finder is Lazarus by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and Eric Trautmann. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Rucka since his first days chronicling the adventures of Atticus Kodiak and truth be told always more a fan of his prose work than his comic book work. But I’ve come around to loving his comic creations just as much as the ones he does without pictures. In this series, the creators create a world a lot closer to our timeline than the one McNeil does in Finder. But again it is a world you can believe in. He creates a history for his future world and you can understand how it got where it is at that point in time. He’s created characters that live in this world and not just inhabit it. Sometimes a character will read as if they belong to our time and culture but they are set in a future time and place that has nothing to do with our now. Like the characters in Finder the characters in Lazarus belong to their now and then.
What I hope I’ve taken from both of these fine publications is a little truth of their world building. I’m hoping that the world I create for Ayla and her friends will be believable for them and not look like I’ve just plucked characters from now into a setting that is a little different from ours. If my world rings even a tenth of true as theirs I think I will be satisfied.