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Gathering my thoughts about my fantasy world...

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Mythopoet, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I have the hardest time describing or talking about my fantasy world because the premise is kind of complex. So I'm creating this thread to gather my thoughts and try to get them down in coherent writing. Please feel welcome to ask questions or give feedback.

    Currently, I am calling my world Khthon, from the Greek word for "earth" with an emphasis on "under the ground". Deities of the underworld are referred to as "chthonic deities". Why did I choose this name? Because I think it sounds cool and also because my setting is technically under the ground. Yes, it's a Hollow Earth setting. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Because you see, no one reading stories or indeed most people within the stories themselves, is meant to know at first that this is a Hollow Earth. And the name Khthon is mostly for my personal use at this point. Within the world there is no universal name for it.

    Now, one of the main themes my early stories in this setting will explore is the nature of the world itself, which is not known by the majority of its inhabitants. So a lot of what I talk about here is meant to be a mystery to both characters and readers until it is slowly uncovered during the story. Keep that in mind as I describe it.

    The world of Khthon exists millions upon millions of years in the future. It is the distant future of our own Earth. Much has happened to the Earth and its inhabitants since our current age. The Sun has gone dead and the surface has become uninhabitable and humanity has fled to the inner earth. Only around 2000 years have passed since the remnant of humanity on the surface faced extinction and sought refuge within the earth. Nothing could they bring with them and nothing did they record, choosing instead to face the future and forget the horrors of the past. Humanity had, essentially, to begin civilization over again. Now the human population has utterly forgotten that there was ever another land where they lived.

    Meta: the foundation of my development of this future is that it follows after the events of The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson (which is in the public domain). Being one of my favorite SFF books of all time, I've always been curious about what happens afterward. The Night Land is about a distant future in which the sun is dead and the benighted earth has become infested with all manner of monsters and supernatural entities who prey on humanity. Thus humanity has spent the last several million years within a gigantic metal pyramid and protected by a force called "the earth current". But there are indications that someday the earth current, which provides energy for their defenses, agriculture and operation of the pyramid's systems, will be depleted. So what then? I thought to myself, if they can't live on the earth, can they live under it? I had already had ideas for a Hollow Earth setting and it was easy to connect it to The Night Land, thereby giving it a much deeper history than I had previously planned.

    (I'm going to stop here for now, but add more later.)
     
    Michael K. Eidson likes this.
  2. This all sounds fascinating. :D
     
  3. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Here is the shape of the lands that the humans from the surface discover when they enter the Hollow of the Earth:

    [​IMG]
    It is inspired by Ptolemy's map of the world created in around 150 AD. But I have made significant changes and additions. I've been working on this a lot lately and I think this is the final form (of the outline of the lands).
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    TheMirrorMage, pmmg and Insolent Lad like this.
  4. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    Are we talking a fully hollow world, or merely a series of gargantuan caverns?

    And since we are talking many millions of years in the future, some real science issues to consider.

    Future of Earth - Wikipedia

    Things get real grim in about 600 million years, long before the sun goes out (atmosphere turns toxic). Worth noting that earths current atmosphere is a mere 600-700 million years, and multicellular life pretty much didn't exist before then.
     
  5. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    If I were writing science fiction I would certainly be concerned about such issues. But despite my setting existing in an imaginary far future, it's pure fantasy. I suppose I should have made that clear at the outset. I like the imaginative timeline Hodsgon developed for The Night Land. He wrote in 1912 so it's not even remotely in accordance with modern science, but it also is very suggestive that Earth's future has been drastically altered by alien influences that seek the destruction of mankind and have unimaginable power. That's the idea that I am trying to develop further, since The Night Land only had hints at best.

    Oh, and Khthon is a fully hollow world and I'll go into the reasons for that at some point. I'm working on my next post now. There's a lot of information I'm trying to get down in a coherent fashion and it isn't proving easy. I've spent too long just musing on all these ideas and not properly recording them.
     
  6. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Neat idea, and I love the map.
     
  7. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Bridging the gap between The Night Land and Khthon

    In William Hope Hodgson's book, The Night Land, the Last Redoubt where the remnant of humanity lives has been under siege by various monsters and alien forces for millions of years. Some of these are called the Watchers and they have the appearance of immense hunched figures of stone. They move with a glacial slowness that can't directly be observed, but it is certain that over the millions of years they have gotten closer to the Redoubt than when they first appeared in the land. Five Watchers surround the pyramid and all are felt to emanate a distinct malice toward humanity. In the book The Night Land, the protagonist (referred to as X by readers since he never gives a name as he tells his story) must travel very close to the North-west Watcher to avoid other dangers. He comes under the influence of an oppressive spiritual attack from the monster which he only barely manages to escape.

    In my version of this future, the direct encounter with a human who possesses enough courage, determination and love to cross the Night Land with its unspeakable dangers to rescue the woman he loved in a former life has a profound affect on the Watcher. Its prodigious alien mind feels the stirrings of uncertainty and curiosity about the humans. It Watches more closely for another million years, taking a special interest in the descendants of X and his lover, who have a particular talent for the telepathic ability called Nighthearing. When the Earth Current fails and humanity comes under direct attack from the many monsters of the Night Land, the Watcher is still uncertain of what it thinks of the humans and what outcome it desires. Going against its nature, and the nature of the other Watchers, it calls out to the humans. Most of the Redoubt's citizen cannot even hear it. A fraction can hear, but its voice destroys their minds. An even smaller fraction can hear and live. The smallest fraction of all can hear and communicate back.

    To these strong ones the Watcher makes an offer. It knows of a way of escape. A new land where the humans can start again. Desperate, a few leaders gather what survivors they can and put their faith in the voice, though they do not know from whence it comes. The Watcher is able to shield their presence from the other malicious powers as it prepares to lead them within the Earth itself.

    The New World

    Once the remnants of the Redoubt followed the voice into the hollow earth, they found a land so shockingly different from the Night Land that they had to devote all their energies to learning how to survive in their new environment. They had been dependent on the Earth Current for millions of years, which made farming underground easy and reliable and made it impossible for predators to attack. In many ways, the Pyramid was a utopia. And the people living there had never known of anything else. Only the serious scholars there had ever even read rumors of the impossibly distant times when there was light in the sky and life on the earth. This new world is wild and free and full of danger and they are ill-equipped to face it.

    The human refugees emerged into the Hollow Earth somewhere in the continent of Africa. The original location is lost to time since the refugees were almost immediately scattered about the land by predators and the struggle for resources. Natural resources are plentiful in Khthon, but the humans are not good at identifying them or using them efficiently in the beginning. Humanity thinks the new land is their salvation, but soon finds that it is merely a different kind of struggle.

    Because of the need to turn all their energy to survival in this new world, it was easy for knowledge of their past lives to slip away. And even when the original generation of refugees told tales of the old world, to the generations born in Khthon it sounded like sheer fantasy, so utterly alien to each other were the two worlds. It is not long before the Night Land has been almost completely forgotten.

    (to be continued...)
     
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