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Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old June 29 2012, 07:41 PM   #1
Klaus
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Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

...to use Tolkien's phrase for invented worlds. I'm going to ask for you top three in fantasy and sf...

I bet you can guess my top fantasy choice...

1. Middle-Earth, and the rest of Tolkien's world. Still the standard of realism as far as background goes. Only GRRM has come close lately.

2. The Land, Stephen Donaldson's world from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Whether you love or hate Covenant, The Land lives and breathes like no other. The reason why The Wounded Land was so wrenching was because you cared about it more than most of the characters!

3. Amber, Roger Zelazny. Still among the most mind-blowing ideas in the genre IMHO, and also some cool characters. Hellrides are such a cool concept, and I'd put it among the best multiverse ideas this side of Moorcock.

SF:

1. Star Trek... nothing comes close in sheer depth [c. 500 hrs of canon content], and like many I admire it for the strain of optimism that runs throughout the mythos. A future I'd sign up for in a heartbeat.

2. The Galactic Milieu of Julian May. I almost put it first, which really says it all. And this time the characters match the quality of their setting.

3. Asimov, from Robots to the Foundation. When Ike came back from his 25 years of not writing sf novels in the 80s, few of us dared hope we'd get what we did, the fusing of the near- and far-futures he'd given us over the years.

What are yours?
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Old June 29 2012, 10:18 PM   #2
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

I don't read fantasy.

Sci-fi:

The Far-Away Galaxy: Yes, the galaxy in Star Wars seems to be in a perpetual state of civil war, but that just means it's not boring.

The Twelve Colonies: Come on! It would be cool to live in a world of humans advanced enough to build fleets of miles-long dragon-looking space carriers...y'know, before the Cylons went ape-s*** on them, cause I'm pretty sure it would suck after that...

The Terran Federation: In my opinion, Gene Roddenberry's Federation should have borrowed more heavily from Heinlein's.
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Old June 30 2012, 04:47 AM   #3
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

I also don't read fantasy.

SF:

Star Trek's universe, easy. The best.

Farscape's universe. Very close second.
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Old June 30 2012, 05:03 AM   #4
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

Fantasy:

1. Middle-Earth
2. Randland (Wheel of Time) Interesting that it never has been called anything before
3. Westeros and other places in the Song of Fire and Ice
4. Westland and D'Hara (The Sword of Truth Series)

Science Fiction

1. The United Federation of Planets
2. The Galactic Alliance
3. Dune Universe or Corrino/Atredies Empire
4. The Earth Alliance/Interstellar Alliance (Babylon 5)
5. The Twelve Colonies

Comics:

1. Marvel 616 Earth
2. DC "New Earth" or whatever they're calling it now
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Old June 30 2012, 06:19 AM   #5
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

Fantasy
1. The Wizarding World (J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series): J.K. Rowling created one of the most vivid and uniquely imaginative worlds in the entire Fantasy genre, and one of the things that makes it so great is that it is a fully realized world that isn't that far removed from our own.

2. Fionavar (Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry): I love Fionavar. This place was directly inspired by Middle-earth, but also feels distinctly 'real-world' as well in ways that Middle-earth doesn't. It also doesn't hurt that Kay drew on a number of real myths and legends as well as historical places from our world.

3. Shannara (Terry Brooks' Shannara series): Like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Fionavar, the world of Shannara feels very much like it is not that far removed from our own world, although, in the case of Shannara, that is because it actually IS our world, transformed following a nuclear apocalypse (as recounted in Brooks' The World and the Void and Genesis of Shannara trilogies), and Brooks is able to build a bridge between our world and the Tolkien-esque world and concepts he introduced in The Sword of Shannara in a way that feels totally organic and 100% plausible.

4. The Worlds of the Death Gate Cycle (Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis' The Death Gate Cycle): The seven-volume Death Gate Cycle is one of Hickman and Weis' signature works and incorporates Earth (which is only present in the backhistory of the books' story) and six other distinct and unique locales: Chelestra (the world of water), Arianus (the world of air), Pyran (the world of fire), Abbarach (the world of stone), and The Labyrinth, with each of those six places featuring its own unique geology, civilizations, and cultures that feel completely real and that are very recognizable.

5. Abeir-Toril (The Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting): The world of Abeir-Toril (often called simply 'Toril') is as fully realized a world as you're goign to find anywhere in Fantasy, and is one of the most expansive and oft-visited worlds in the pantheon of the Dungeons and Dragons campaign settings. Although it has a total of five continents, one of them - Faerun - has been visited more often than any of the others, being the setting of nearly 100 novels and several computer games.

Science Fiction
1. The Worlds of Dune: I chose to begin my experience with the universe of Dune by reading Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's prequel novels, which ruined my experience when I was unable to get past the differences in style between said novels and the novels written by Brian's father Frank. Even though I never finished the entire series, though, the world created by Frank Herbert and revisited by his son and Mr. Anderson remains something that I very much want to revisit (and fully intend to do so).

2. The Universe of RDM's Battlestar Galactica: Although Glen A. Larsen originally created the worlds, concepts, and characters of Battlestar Galactica, I chose to select Ronald D. Moore's brilliant re-imagining of said worlds, concepts, and characters here rather than going with Mr. Larsen's original creations. Through the four seasons of Battlestar Galactica and the 19 episodes of Caprica, RDM and his collaborators (David Eick, Remi Aubuchon, etc.) created an incredibly richly detailed world that far exceeds Larsen's in its scope, and which also ties very nicely into another SciFi world: that of Blade Runner.

3. The Galaxy Far, Far Away (The Star Wars Saga): I absolutely love the Star Wars films, and firmly believe that George Lucas is a creative genius because of the way he took a plethora of mythological motifs and ideas and distilled them into something that is unique, fresh, and enduring. The breadth and expanse of the world(s) that Lucas created way back in the 1970s is staggering, as is the number of stories that have been told - by both Lucas and others - which are set there.

4. The Universe of the Matrix: I'm one of the few individuals I know who actually liked all 3 films in the Matrix trilogy (although I've only seen the first one in its entirety). The world that the Wachowski brothers created is as richly detailed, believably plausible, and incredibly creepy and moody as anything I think I've ever experienced, and consequently makes for an incredible canvas for the stories set in it.

5. The Universe of Joss Whedon's Firelfy and The Unvierse of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse: I had to pick both of these settings because they both represent the scope and breadth of Joss Whedon's creative genius. Although both are based on rather tried and true Sci-Fi concepts, Whedon imbues said concepts with a life and perspective that makes them feel brand-new, bringing the two universes to life in ways that make them feel like they're characters in their own right just as much as the characters who inhabit them.
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Old June 30 2012, 07:30 AM   #6
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

how has no one said the Discword yet?

1. Discworld.
2. the Trekverse
3. Harry Potterverse
4. Ultimate Marvelverse
5. the GI Joe comicverse from ARAH.
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Old June 30 2012, 02:57 PM   #7
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

The only ones in fantasy I ever found very satsifying in themselves were Middle-Earth (because actually knowing langauages and mythology were so important,) and Gormenghast (because it was really original.)

In SF, Banks' the Culture, LeGuin's the Ekumen and Jack Vance's multitude of SF worlds, which could all be in the same galaxy, inasmuch as there are approximately 200 000 000 000 stars. Perhaps my single favorite VanceWorld (copywrite pending) is The Blue World.
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Old June 30 2012, 03:26 PM   #8
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

You know it's hard to judge the secondary worlds of fiction, in part because one's enjoyment is bound up in how interesting the title it's being presented in is - the surprisingly meticulous world building that Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda was so engaged in from the first episode did not excuse the show's many crippling flaws, for example.

So anyway, it's not about how original or how well concieved a premise is, and more... did I enjoy my time spent there?

captcalhoun wrote: View Post
how has no one said the Discword yet?
Discworld was the first thing that came to mind. No other book 'series' dominated my childhood in any way remotely close to Discworld, there was a time I finished a book a day and immediately grabbed another one from the store. I'm pretty sure I read fantasy books before picking up Feet of Clay (not Tolkien, but maybe Narnia) but definitely nothing before that engaged me as much as Pratchett did. I'm a bit rusty in things Pratchett, but if I didn't mention Discworld here I'd simply be lying.

It's useful here to distingish Discworld from the British science fiction comedy novel series that it shares much of its sensibilities with, that is, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. As much as I enjoyed the first novel of that series, and then the second one, Hitchhikers seems to lose interest in itself and its own idea very rapidly - like after a few punchlines, there really isn't a whole lot left in this universe. Discworld has a commitment to its crazy joke-strewn fantasy pastiche that has gone on for decades.

DigificWriter wrote: View Post
1. The Worlds of Dune: I chose to begin my experience with the universe of Dune by reading Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's prequel novels, which ruined my experience when I was unable to get past the differences in style between said novels and the novels written by Brian's father Frank. Even though I never finished the entire series, though,
Well if you read Frank's six books I'd say you have. Dune has to be one of my favourite 'secondary worlds'. Frank Herbert's books are vivid and intricate and for the first four of them, ridiciulously fun. I can find it hard often to visualize whatever the heck a writer is talking about, but I knew what a sandworm was and what it looked like long before I ever saw David Lynch's crack at it.

Klaus wrote: View Post
1. Middle-Earth, and the rest of Tolkien's world. Still the standard of realism as far as background goes. Only GRRM has come close lately.
I've seen Tolkien accused of many things, but realism is new to me. One of the reasons I love Lord of the Rings is because it feels very much like a myth, like a prose translation of some lost oral epic originally written in English older than Chaucer (or possibly, given his fondness for the Kalevala, Finnish.) Rather than read like a work of modern fiction - like GRRM's historical fiction plus magic approach -Tolkien is looking backwards at a vanished, never existing culture.

And that's part of why I'd definitely consider Lord of the Rings here - this and obviously the detail Tolkien goes into the languages and the places and so on. So much secondary world fiction has names that are simply composite words in English or look like the writer kept bashing his typewriter until he got the right combination of letters - any given word in Tolkien's legendarium feels like it's got centuries of linguistic development behind it.

And besides this - Star Trek, because of course it is.
Farscape, because its demented 'space opera on drugs' setting is just so much fun. The Hainish Cycle (same as the Ekumen stj refers to) in particular for the vivid world building of Left Hand of Darkness because that was truly something else. Others I'm sure I'm not thinking of at this point.
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Old June 30 2012, 03:45 PM   #9
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

Kegg wrote: View Post
DigificWriter wrote: View Post
1. The Worlds of Dune: I chose to begin my experience with the universe of Dune by reading Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's prequel novels, which ruined my experience when I was unable to get past the differences in style between said novels and the novels written by Brian's father Frank. Even though I never finished the entire series, though,
Well if you read Frank's six books I'd say you have. Dune has to be one of my favourite 'secondary worlds'. Frank Herbert's books are vivid and intricate and for the first four of them, ridiciulously fun. I can find it hard often to visualize whatever the heck a writer is talking about, but I knew what a sandworm was and what it looked like long before I ever saw David Lynch's crack at it.
I'm not sure if that's meant to be a dig at Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's books or if you just didn't see where I admitted that I didn't start my journey into the universe of Dune with Frank Herbert's novels but instead started with the Legends of Dune and Dune Prequel ("House_ ") books and was therefore caught off guard and pulled out of the story by the stylistic differences between Brian and KJA's books and the original Dune.
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Old June 30 2012, 04:06 PM   #10
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

Kegg wrote: View Post
Klaus wrote: View Post
1. Middle-Earth, and the rest of Tolkien's world. Still the standard of realism as far as background goes. Only GRRM has come close lately.
I've seen Tolkien accused of many things, but realism is new to me. One of the reasons I love Lord of the Rings is because it feels very much like a myth, like a prose translation of some lost oral epic originally written in English older than Chaucer (or possibly, given his fondness for the Kalevala, Finnish.) Rather than read like a work of modern fiction - like GRRM's historical fiction plus magic approach -Tolkien is looking backwards at a vanished, never existing culture.
I agree about the mythic character of the story... what I meant was that the actual physical world of Middle-Earth and its peoples feels so completely visualized.
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Old June 30 2012, 04:24 PM   #11
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

DigificWriter wrote: View Post
I'm not sure if that's meant to be a dig at Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's books
Chiefly. I did read that you began with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, but I do feel if you've read Frank's books, you're done with Dune.

This said more generally I favour publication order for books as opposed to in-universe orders - especially as many prequels may assume knowledge of the earlier books.
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Old June 30 2012, 05:12 PM   #12
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

Favorites:

1: The United Federation of Planets

2: The Alliance (Firefly)

3: SG-1

Least favorites:

1. The Imperium of Man (Warhammer 40K)

2. Terran Federation (Blake's 7)

3. Browncoats (Firefly)
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Old June 30 2012, 05:38 PM   #13
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

  1. Starfleet Command (Star Trek)
  2. The Time Lords of Gallifrey (Doctor Who)
  3. The Hidden Leaf Village (Naruto)
  4. The Jedi Order (Star Wars)
  5. The Grid (Tron)
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Old June 30 2012, 06:08 PM   #14
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

Kegg wrote: View Post
DigificWriter wrote: View Post
I'm not sure if that's meant to be a dig at Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's books
Chiefly. I did read that you began with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, but I do feel if you've read Frank's books, you're done with Dune.

This said more generally I favour publication order for books as opposed to in-universe orders - especially as many prequels may assume knowledge of the earlier books.
I've never understood all of the vitriol and hatred that gets leveled at the BH/KJA Dune books, and consider the Legends of Dune trilogy to be among some of my favorite all-time works of fiction.
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Old June 30 2012, 07:26 PM   #15
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Re: Your favorite "Secondary Creations"?

JRoss wrote: View Post
I also don't read fantasy.

SF:

Star Trek's universe, easy. The best.

Farscape's universe. Very close second.
I agree with your list, except mine would have Babylon 5 in second place and Farscape in third.

I also don't read fantasy, with the exceptions of the Lord of the Rings series, and Star Wars, which I would argue walks a fine line between science fiction and space fantasy.
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