Creating Realistic Geofiction
If you are reading this, then you probably already know what geofiction is, and may even be a geofictioner yourself. You may also want to know how you can create geofiction that is based more on realism than fantasy or science fiction. This is not uncommon; in fact, realistic geofiction is where many people in the hobby get their start. So, if you want to get your start in the hobby, or want to find something new, then realistic geofiction is a good beginning.
The Characteristics of Realistic Geofiction
Geofiction is a fairly broad hobby, believe it or not. There are many genres that can be utilized with geofiction, with realism being one of them. Most tend to associate geofiction with either fantasy, adventure, or science fiction, with their projects having supernatural or extraterrestrial characteristics outside of the norm (aliens, floating islands, enchanted lands, etc.)
Realistic fiction is different in that it is more closely related to what we know here on Earth in the present. Futuristic elements or elements from the past may be incorporated into it, but as a whole, realistic geofiction follows these three general guidelines:
1. Plausible realism - An environment that can reasonably be related to general laws of physics and nature;
2. Conformal terrain - Geography that largely conforms to what would be expected here on Earth (i.e. deserts, forests, plains, mountains, and other regions that are similar to what you would find in the real world);
3. Humanoid creatures - They do not have to be humans as we know them, but for the most part, most realistic geofiction involves humans.
Dune, by Frank Herbert, fits some of these characteristics; it has plausible realism in parts of the story, along with some Earth-like geography and humans. But, it is mostly comprised of science fiction and fantasy, which in the end prevents it from being a true realistic geofiction project.
Creating One of Your Own
The best way to adapt a project - even if it turns out to be less realistic in the end - is to take a region of the Earth and modify it. This is precisely what J.R.R. Tolkien did with Middle-Earth. It is no coincidence that Middle-Earth resembles Europe and the Middle East, with the Shire representing England, Mordor representing the rugged eastern parts of the continent, and Harad and the lands to the south bordering Gondor representing the Middle East and Africa.
This is not to say that the comparison is absolute, but it is arguable that Tolkien, in the beginning, patterned his world in part off of what he knew. He later took this foundation and turned it into his own creation that was the basis for an epic fantasy, but you do not have to go that far. In fact, Dies the Fire, the first novel in a series written by S.M. Stirling, is a post-apocalyptic work set in an alternative version of Oregon in the United States.
That is the best way to start - and will give you a good foundation for your own realistic geofiction.