Using our innate senses of creativity and invention, we can tell stories about all kinds of places that never were and might never be. We can talk about what life is like in a human colony on Mars or chronicle what would happen in an alternative history where World War II never took place. We can give people the ability to turn invisible or invent an Earth whose air has become unbreathable. We can describe a society that has made wealth illegal or create a world where humans don’t even exist. The limits are only as narrow as our imaginations.
World building requires consideration of the many different elements that make up complex systems. Geography, culture, government, technology, and even supernatural abilities are all in conversation with each other, connected like the threads of a spider web. Changing even one small component in an otherwise familiar construct can send ripples throughout these systems and alter the entire world in profound and unexpected ways.
The World Building panel discussion will tackle the issues and process of constructing imaginary worlds and what we can learn from them. This unscripted conversation features literature professor Michael Drout, speculative fiction writer Rebecca Roanhorse, and fantasy authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who collectively write under the pen name James S.A. Corey, and moderated by SFI Professor Cris Moore.