Tuesday, November 29, 2011

¡Viva los Estados Unidos!

Much of the English language fantasy genre is very loosely based on a northern European medieval European vibe.  This isn't surprising; the English language genre is largely derived from the mythology, folklore and medieval romances that predated fantasy per se.  I've obviously gone in some different directions--on purpose, in an attempt to create a different feel.  While the Crown of Aragon and a kind of Latin Mediterranean vibe is a huge part  of the DARK•HERITAGE setting, at least culturally, and I've got a nation that is clearly modelled somewhat transparently on some aspects of the Moorish caliphate combined with Ottoman Barbary pirates.  I also see certain aspects of my setting as specifically trying to model other historical scenarios, perhaps transparently, and perhaps not.  I've got an Old West of sorts.  I've got a Caribbean from the Golden Age of Piracy.  I've got Cajuns.  I've got South Pacific natives here and there.

I've also got stuff borrowed from fiction.  I've got plenty of Lovecraftiana.  I've got my take on Bael Turath, from the Dungeons & Dragons 4e points of light setting.

Mostly, though, the terrain, much of the setting detail, the assumed animals, the weather, and no small amount of the culture of all of the countries in the region, is most heavily influenced by my own homeland, the western half of the United States of America (notwithstanding that I actually live in the northern Midwest right now--sadly, well east of the Mississippi.)  Huge tracts of land mirror the Red Rock country of the Grand Circle and if a DARK•HERITAGE movie were ever made, it'd probably be filmed in Monument Valley or something like that.  Large parts are heavily influenced by the Comancheria.  There's even a cognate (if I can use that word in this context) to the Goodnight-Loving trail, and the Oregon trail.  I've got parts influenced by the Llano Estacado.  I've got parts influenced by Cajun country, and the scrubby forests of East Texas and Louisiana.  I've got areas heavily influenced by the various scenic parts of the Rocky Mountains--like the Tetons, Yellowstone, or Glacier National Park.  I've got parts influenced by Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada.  I've got coastline like Big Sur or the chaparral.  The animals you might see in DARK•HERITAGE are less influenced by medieval Europe and more influenced by the La Brea Tar Pits and the American west.  And on the fringe, I've even got areas that are not unlike the Ozarks, the Cumberland Gap, the Great Smoky Mountains, and other earlier western frontiers.

Why?  Because I love my homeland, that's why.  I have a kind of chauvinistic preference for the stuff that I saw or at least stuff that happened in my backyard, and which is part of my heritage.

Not that the northern European stuff isn't part of my heritage too--I just think that aspect of my heritage is already adequately covered in the modern fantasty genre, and it's past time to explore more.  I'm also part Mediterranean, via a Portuguese great-great grandfather, and of course, after many generations, I'm really much more American than I am European anyway.  America is my home.  I love it.  I want that to be reflected in my fantasy.

1 comment:

Trey said...

Sounds good to me. :) Fantasy has mostly drawn from such a narrow range for a while.