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Worldbuilding in Descent: Death

Worldbuilding's a critical part of every Science Fiction novel, and worldbuilding in Descent: Death's no different. What I'd like to do in this short post is briefly show you two aspects that feature heavily in the novel.



A huge part of worldbuilding goes unnoticed by readers; and that's how it should be. It forms the foundation of the story, and should only spring up into full view when there's a clear and critical purpose for it. If it's a long, convoluted info dump speared into the reader all it will do is make sure they never pick up another novel by you, and that's not something any author wants.


So, in Descent: Death, the events centre around the few decades leading up to 2149. There's always a risk with any prognostication, but readers are generally forgiving if one is not too outlandish (or, on the other hand, makes a damned good job of being totally outlandish, with style). The first element of my worldbuilding is geopolitics.



I nailed this down late in 2021 as I started plotting. The basic premise is that the trend to blocs of countries forming alliances, however loose, continues, and that the then current trends simply accelerate. Nothing too outlandish or brain-taxing, but in the end resulted in this:

Worldbuilding in Descent: Death
Worldbuilding in Descent: Death

Looks sort of familiar? Should be, in some respects, but in others there's some large assumptions being made. What you can't see is the walls between/across blocs, and how that drives a couple of my main characters' actions; and yes, you'll have to read the book!


Second piece is sea level rise. Again, not too radical but critical in setting out one or more key scenes. With only a little more than 120 years to project, I took a rather hawkish view on it all (basically that our efforts to limit it will be useless or ineffectual for most of the time) to get what I needed.


Sea level projections for Melbourne
Sea level projections for Melbourne

As the crucial setting is Melbourne, Australia, I projected the worst case scenario to come up with the above; and, for the nuanced view of the Docklands area where the denouement (in one sense) for the novel occurs, the following micro view.


Water level projections for Melbourne Docklands
Water level projections for Melbourne Docklands

None of which you'll see. There's a brief mention in two lines (out of 200,000 words), but underneath it all, if you look, it's clear.


As it should be.



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