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Tag Archives: Star Wars

Now that switched from Fantasy to Science Fiction, I need an idea that breaches the divide. Well, I don’t have to have a smooth transition between topics, but it’s best if I try.

Luckily one thing that many a Science Fiction story shares with Fantasy is the Feudal System.

Our descendants in the far future will recognize what a pain in the ass democracy is and will choose to live under the benevolent hand of interplanetary royalty.

Of course everything is better with a princess, or two (thank you Disney!)

It allows to transfer all the Ye Olde Tropes from Yore to the far future. Much easier for a writer to deal with one Evil Chancellor as opposed to thousand of scummy, faceless politicians arguing in whatever governing body lies at a center of a galactic democracy.

It also explains why you have a Galactic Empire, although more often than not said Empire rises from the ashes of an earlier Republic. Then again, depending on the author the current system might be better, worse or about the same as its predecessor.

Then again interplanetary kingdom of sorts, whether controlling a single planet, system, sector or galaxy is a recognition that space is really, really, oh so really fucking big! In order to control a galaxy wide Empire you would need to be able to travel/communicate at multiples of the speed of light. Therefore breaking down the known universe into more manageable chunks under the control of military officials (spoils system) or members of your family (system of the spoiled) makes more sense than spending years on the space telephone while traveling around the galaxy checking up on millions (if not billions) of your subjects.

Finally, royalty tropes, whether a long time ago and/or in a place far, far away (in Star Wars you get both with loads of of Princesses and Lords to boot) appeal to a time in our lives when our parents where the absolute (benevolent ?) rulers over us and knew better. It also stimulates the authoritarian/totalitarian node in our brain. After all, a successful king/emperor is just a dictator/conqueror who managed to transfer not only acquire political power but also transmit said power to his descendants and that is not that far away from our own experience.

And now to show you a bit of the Feudal Future:


I like prophecies (at least in fiction). They make for great story telling frames. They are an easy way to establish The Call to Adventure. Nothings beats a prophecy when it comes to raising the stakes. It’s not just a master less mercenary saving the snooty daughter of the local lord from the monster of the week.

Oh no!

Now it’s the whole kingdom that’s at stake.

Tempt Fate if you dare.

Become a plaything of the Gods.

Having a tough time believing that the local yokel is destined to save the Galaxy from the Overlord of all that is Eveil? Just check the prophecy, second stanza, third line. Aren’t you the man Man not born out of a Woman (whatever the hell that means)? Great! Now grab the shiny sword your father buried in that big honking rock in the backyard and off you go!

Sounds perfect, got prophecy will have fantasy blockbuster.

Or not.



Like I said, prophecies are great but there are so many ways to screw them up.

Let me counts ways:

The Forgotten Prophecy. The one you see early on in the story and completely disappears until the second to last paragraph of the book. If it’s that important you would think it would exert some pull on the characters who know about it. Otherwise why mention it.

The Retconned Prophecy, or the I happen to have prophecy that explains what otherwise defies the internal logic of the book. You know the type that crops up on page 315. Mr. Exposition every illogical twist and turn based on the prophecy and the reader is supposed to accept his explanation without question.  It’s the speculative fiction version of in-story CYA (coughBSGcoughbushitcoughsomemore), especially when he knows how baldy he screwed up the internal consistency of the narrative.

The Detail Free Prophecy. Everybody keeps talking about THE PROPHECY but NOBODY bothers to tell the hero or for that matter the reader what does it say let alone how it fits the story.

The Nonsense Prophecy.  Look it, we got a prophecy! And after reading it backwards and forwards it means absolutely nothing.  Bring Balance to the Force my left nut! Now, prophecies, by definition, are nebulous things, but c’mon!

The Pulled it out of my Rear Prophecy. The writer started with a few verses of the prophecy and it was good. Then he wanted to do something else, so he needed more prophetic words to justify that. And then some  more because he just sign a 6-book deal and now he needs to write more prophetic sounding crap because the reason the hero is doing the whole save the Universe bit is because Fate told him so. Now everything he does has been foretold and it will ALWAYS fit with whatever he does or fails to do.

The Ripped from the Ancient Headlines Prophecy.  I need a prophetic verse, stat! Oh, here is one:

O ye men who dwell in the streets of broad Lacedaemon!
Either your glorious town shall be sacked by the children of Perseus,
Or, in exchange, must all through the whole Laconian country
Mourn for the loss of a king, descendant of great Heracles

Nobody with access to a computer and Google will figure that one out. Yeah, right. Now if your novel is an alternate history work, or some such, this would make a great shout out to the King of Sparta. Otherwise it’s pretty flimsy.

As cool as prophecies might be, they are not a cure all for what ails your story. So be careful how you use them, if you use them at all.

And now for another Nostromo AMV. Enjoy!