EMy world-building A to Z brings me to E for Earth, and also to my #IWSG post for April.

Earth is just there, isn’t it?  Surely it doesn’t belong in a world-building theme.  Well, even contemporary writers have to build the world they set their stories in – making them more or less true to life, or what we know as reality.  John Le Carré had to build the world of the Cold War just as effectively as we have to build planets in other star systems.  Maybe he had more data on which to base it.

All those alternate universe Earths are ‘built’ just as diligently as planets in Star Wars or Star Trek; the latter has Earth as well, of course.  The trick is to imagine paths that our world has taken, some years in the future, after a major or insignificant change, depending on your choice.  I think one of the first scifi books I read, at school, was the one where someone goes back on a time-travel tourist trip, steps off the path, and they arrive back to find their future is different.  Everything is harsh and cruel, and when the unfortunate oaf looks at his boot he finds he stepped on a butterfly.  This story is so famous now, most of you are telling me what it was and who wrote it!

Someone who went back to the origins of the human race with her world-building of Earth was Sue Ann Bowling.

I ‘met’ Sue through the A to Z Challenge, and enjoyed her tales, quotes, gardening and Alaska weather checks.  Once a week she would also post Jarn’s Journal, the record of a R’Il’nian who had crashed on Earth before humans as we know them had developed. The Journal as she set it out followed Jarn’s thoughts as he realised he wasn’t going to be able to repair his ship, decided how he could survive, his observations on the native fauna and flora, and eventually his thoughts on the tribal culture he saw about him…

HomecomingSue had already published Homecoming and Tourist Trap, with a little taster of her worlds in Horse Power (which I read first – links are to my reviews).  Sue’s scientific background gave her a superb insight into genetic modification, and the possibilities of inter-alien offspring. This underpins her amazing world of R’Ilnoids and all the other species they moderate (with a light touch) as the galactic society does its thing; high-tech, multiple cultures, mind-melding and space accidents.  I believe putting Jarn’s Journal out in the way she did was a piece of insurance on her part.

Sue is no longer with us.  She announced her illness in September 2014, and died in late November, just after putting out her last update (although her pre-scheduled quotes and Journal posts lasted to the year’s end).  I am sad that she left us too soon.  I am glad I read most of Jarn’s Journal but I found it became depressing… to know that it would not be finished, but also because Jarn himself was frustratingly depressed with the restrictions life placed on him on that alien world called Earth.

I am also glad that Sue’s blog is still there for us to access – homecomingbook.wordpress.com.

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeAnd that is the technical tip of my #IWSG post – Sue’s free WordPress account continues as a monument to her work, nearly eighteen months after she left us.  I realise that having transferred to an independently hosted blog, that when I go, my blog and websites will go as soon as my hosting platform’s bill is unpaid.  So if you writers have aspirations of being remembered like all those other dead writers who have gone before us, you’d better train your family up to keep your blogs going – or transfer them to a free hosting site!

Not heard of the Insecure Writers Support Group?  Post every first Wednesday of the month, and join up here.


E is for Earth | #IWSG post remembering Sue Ann Bowling
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20 thoughts on “E is for Earth | #IWSG post remembering Sue Ann Bowling

  • 6 April, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Hi Jemima – good point about the leaving notes re access etc should it be required .. or who one bequeaths the blog to …

    Sorry about Sue’s loss to the world – she sounds like she had loads of imagination about a different life … and interesting her blog is still there for us to see … she has some wonderful quotes set out for us …

    With thoughts she is obviously very much missed – Hilary

    • 6 April, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      I was a latecomer to her world, but I hold her in my heart even so. Thanks for stopping by, Hilary. Hope things are okay with you.

  • 6 April, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    My sympathies about Sue. Her book sounds wonderful, and I always love hearing from the imagination of scientific minds.

    • 6 April, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      I recommend them, Christine. The last one, Tourist Trap (unless her executors get the real final one together) is finally into my next five books on my TBR list.

  • 7 April, 2016 at 12:37 am

    Thanks for bringing Sue to my attention. I will have to explore of writing world!

  • 7 April, 2016 at 1:45 am

    I agree, either way we have a world to build no matter where it is. Checking out that group right now! //fellow challenger

  • 7 April, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Your observation that world building is also necessary for stories set on Earth took me by surprise. It is not something I had consciously considered, though you are completely accurate. You made a good selling point for using blogspot.

    Gail’s 2016 April A to Z Challenge
    Theme: The Fun in Writing
    E is for Eastern European Ancestors

    • 8 April, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      It took me by surprise, too, Gail. And WordPress.com is also a free site that will continue…

  • 7 April, 2016 at 5:17 am

    You made me think. I knew I did a little world-building for Halitor, but of course my more Earthly stories have invented worlds, too–just on a smaller scale. I didn’t have to decide about magic and monsters, but still, I got to create an island ex nihilo! Not to mention Skunk Corners 🙂

    • 8 April, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      Yes, it wasn’t until I started this that I appreciated how much world-buidling we all do!

  • 7 April, 2016 at 6:37 am

    The Internet is surprising, soemtimes, don’t you think? It allows a person to keep living though what he/she did. So sorry to hear about Sue.

    I write fantasy story that are mostly historical, set in the 1920s, and I agree with you: building the historic world is no different than building the fantasy world. If you want that world to be real for the reader, you have to make it real, in every aspect.

    The Old Shelter – Jazz Age Jazz

  • 7 April, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Sorry to hear about Sue, she sounds like a brilliant world builder.

    Your post somehow reminded me of Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children sereis, no taking the Earth for granted there.


    • 8 April, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      Jean Auel is another author I always meant to read. I think it and Helliconia came at the same time in my life – see letter H on Saturday!

  • 8 April, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    J here, stopping by from the #atozchallenge – where I am part of Arlee Bird’s A to Z Ambassador Team.
    How has the first week of the challenge been for you so far? Are you meeting your goals of posting and hopping to other blogs?
    My blog still has a giveaway with bonus a to z challenges to encourage people to visit more stops. Thanks for your visit.
    It’s always difficult to world build on Earth and get the reader to accept it. But the challenge makes it all the more fun.

  • 10 April, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Hi just stopping by on the A to Z Challenge. I do a lot of world building since I write Fantasy but never really thought about it being true about writing on Earth yet of course it is World Building in some cases. Also my sympathies about Sue. Her book sounds wonderful.

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