Geofiction And History
Using History as a Source in Geofiction
Creating geofiction can be as labor-intensive as you want it to be. You don't have to have an epic, far-flung galaxy complete with elaborate backstories on every civilization and race in the universe, but if you want, you are more than welcome to do so. Regardless of your scale, though, creating histories in a project can be one of the most engaging and entertaining activities in the entire hobby.
History is what gives us a great deal of our collective identity, and bestows a frame of reference upon the world. Therefore, if you want a truly in-depth geofiction project, creating a solid and intriguing history is a must.
Fortunately, there is a readily available source for this history - the history of the human race itself.
Using the Past as a Template
The first step in creating a history is to determine how it ties into the real world. Is it an alternate history? If so, then your job is simple: use real history up until the point of divergence (the point at which your alternate history begins) and start using your imagination from there on.
What if your history is completely alien and not related to earth history at all? (Or is only related to real history tangentially, like with most science fiction novels about space colonization?) Then you can create a fictional history from a template.
The Ancient Romans Revisited: An Example
Let's say that we want to use the Roman civilization as a template for our created civilization, the Namor. We could do the following:
- Namor was founded over two thousand years ago by a legendary warrior.
- Namor began as a small tribal village, but through a stoic warrior ethic, grew and began conquering surrounding cities.
- The fierce rivals of the Namor, the Carthatruscans, fought the upstart empire for centuries before finally succumbing.
- At the peak of its power, a volcanic eruption devastated the local area and caused an eventual split in the empire - one part in the north, one part in the south.
And so on. Can you see where I borrowed from actual Roman history, and still created enough original content to make the history unique? You can go even further and use real history as a very loose template, far less associated with real history than the scenario above.
Using Specific Time Periods
You can also focus on a specific period of time in our past and use that as a pattern for your own history (especially if your created history doesn't go that far back). Let's say that you are fascinated by the colonial wars during the 17th and 18th centuries between England, Spain, France, and the Dutch, and wanted to adapt that period for your project set in space. You could create three warring planets, each with a vast fleet of starships intent on colonizing a solar system. The war for supremacy could mirror the actual events of the past - even resulting in a colony breaking off and starting its own nation. Sound familiar to some of you?
In essence, creating a fictional world history is as simple or elaborate as you wish to make it. Using our real past is a great way to get started.