Artifexian Podcast: #0 Worldbuilding: A Defintion

To mark the one year anniversary of Artifexian, I decided to launch a podcast.

The Artifexian Podcast.

In this, our first episode, myself and long time friend Bill McGrath, attempt to define the term worldbuilding, which isn’t as easy as it may sound. We discuss many works of fiction from Lord of the Rings to the Discworld series, from Bangsian Fantasy to Ruritanian Romance novels. Along the way we even manage to establish that knitting is, in fact, witchcraft…

Interested!? Click this link: WORLDBUILDING: A DEFINITION

You can subscribe to the show through iTunes and if you have the time please leave a review. It will really help us along. Also, if you want to discuss this episode, head on over to my new subreddit and get chatting. Both myself and Bill are doing our best to be as active as we possibly can be over there.

Until next time everyone.

…Edgar out.

  • michael pulleine

    ILOVEDISCWORLDILOVEDISCWORLDILOVEDISCWORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • It is quite the setting. Pity we lost its creator not so long ago. 🙁

      • michael pulleine

        every day i check his facebook page, hoping for a little sign that says I ATENT DEAD

  • John Hawkins

    To be honest I found this a little dull. I was hoping it would be more like your videos, but in a greater depth. :c

  • michael pulleine

    i know that this is completely unrelated to the podcast but i have the first few pages of a story i’m writing and i want some advice on it, be brutal with your criticism people, i want no mercy, okay, a tiny bit of mercy

    The star ship Rochtenchild glided silently
    through the vacuum of space, its sleek hull illuminated by the light of stars
    distant and nearby. Its crew consisted mainly of Terrans
    and kaladians, the two most scientifically advanced races in the western
    galactic quadrants. The ship was an Einstein class tunnelling vessel, the
    flagship of the Imperial Terran Science fleet, equipped with antimatter
    annihilation missiles, interstellar torpedoes, a solid light defence matrix, a
    space-time tunnel bore and a hangar full of Quasar class corvettes. Dr Johannes
    DeWitt, a tall, handsome bespectacled Dutchman with brown hair and a rather
    long pointed goatee was the head of space-time tunnelling operations. He was enjoying
    a tall flute of kaladian ice champagne while going over maintenance reports for
    the last standard Galactic week. It was a boring job, but somebody had to do
    it. As DeWitt neared the end of his inspection, a smooth, cold, yet serene
    melodic voice was projected throughout the ship.

    “All senior Personnel report to the
    bridge for briefing, repeat, all senior personnel report to the bridge for
    briefing, end transmission.”

    Johannes rose, placed his ice champagne in the
    personal fridge he had installed in his quarters and stepped out into the
    polished chrome corridors of the third deck. Outside he was greeted by an old
    friend, Kaladian Ambassador Fracta Fentorian. Like most Kaladians Fracta was the
    spitting image of a Terran, right down to the hairs on her head, in fact the
    only real difference between her and a human is the fact that she is made of crystalized
    carbon.

    “So” she began “What did you think of
    the champagne? I believe that you would refer to it as an 1898 vintage.”
    Johannes was so shocked he could barely speak; by the time he was calm enough
    to form an intelligent sentence they were halfway to the bridge. “Fracta, you
    are the only person I know who would neglect to mention tiny details such as…
    this bottle of champagne is four hundred years old…”
    “Johannes you really are
    an interesting specimen, why would the age of the liquid matter? What matters is
    the taste; I gave you the champagne to drink it, not to stare at the label, the
    philosophy of the Kaladian culture is that nothing should be classified as good
    simply because of who made it, or how old it is in this case, Kaladians are a
    race of people who enjoy the aesthetic value of things and speaking of
    aesthetic value, what did you think of the champagne?” Johannes was silent for
    a few minutes, taking in the information. “It was exquisite, the most wonderful
    drink I ever tasted.” Johannes and Fracta then reached the blast doors
    separating the bridge from the rest of the ship, only members of the senior
    staff were allowed here. As they approached the doors to the bridge a red light
    fixed above the door began to glow. “State
    your identity.” DeWitt bent down in front of a small black rectangle fixed
    to the wall next to the blast doors “Lieutenant Johannes DeWitt of the I.T.S Rochtenchild,
    security access level lambda nine.” the doors opened, closing the moment he
    passed through them. The bridge of the I.T.S Rochtenchild was a giant,
    rectangular room. At the back was an enormous, raised chair, in front of which
    was a curved holographic viewing screen. The front of the room was lined either
    side with enclosed work stations, each of which housed a chair and a black desk
    covered with flashing buttons. The wall of the far end of the bridge was
    dominated by a colossal screen which projected the front of the ship. Directly
    in front of those screens were the weapons firing consoles, long, curved black
    desks covered with hundreds of switches. On either side of the captains’
    station were two, slightly smaller chairs. Once all of the senior staff was
    gathered on the bridge, Captain Taussan Madreler, a tall, white haired Malkralesian
    with purple eyes and pale skin, clad in maroon Malkralesian duelling armour, a
    long, thin, traditional duelling sword hung from his belt, began the briefing
    procedure “good morning everyone.” There was a brief murmuring of good mornings
    and yes sirs followed by silence “Today we’re working on some basic
    infrastructure, as always look out for burrowers and I don’t want any
    shortcuts, if we screw up millions could die, that means that the stabilisation
    procedures have to be done perfectly, now, everyone report to your
    workstations.” And with that everyone headed to their workstations. Their
    mission today was to extend the Intergalactic Rochtenchild Trans Spatial
    Highway. The busiest spatial tunnel in the known universe. It was supposed to
    be a simple procedure, but, unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned.

    Johannes sat in his workstation,
    directly to the left hand side of Captain Taussan, preparing to begin the
    delicate procedure of space-time puncturing, however, just as DeWitt was about
    to finish the procedure, he noticed that the numbers being projected into his
    retina and the interactive hologram he was using as a visual display did not
    match up, according to the hologram the tunnel would open up directly in front
    of the I.T.S Rochtenchild, however according to the numerical data displayed,
    the Rochtenchild Trans Spatial Highway would be extended into the singularity
    of a black hole. However, before Johannes could inform the captain, five
    burrowers, (creatures that lived in the Trans space tunnels.) Erupted out of
    the already existing tunnel exit, emitting a strange, blue glow, each time one
    of these glowing lights hit the hull of the I.T.S Rochtenchild, the ship would
    begin to shake violently, after about four of these attacks captain Taussan
    began moving his hands and fingers in swift, decisive movements, murmuring
    orders into the microphone attached to his Cybernetix™ star ship command visor,
    after about five seconds the ships entire array of weapons began to fire on the
    five burrowers with support from the entire fleet of Quasar Class fighters. The
    surreal, phantasmic creatures reacted to this onslaught by unleashing a huge,
    spherical pulse, destroying the entire fleet of fighters and negating all
    weapons fire instantly. The Burrowers then continued their relentless assault
    on the Rochtenchild. The ship was defenceless, the weapons systems were
    depleted, the only choice the Rochtenchild had left was to retreat, but as the
    ship was powering up the personal space-time tunnelling system, DeWitt came to
    a sudden realization, “Sir, we can still win this fight!” captain Taussan waved
    his fingers in front of his face and appeared of the optical display of
    Johannes’s Cybernetix™ support visor. “Okay Lieutenant, I’m listening” “There’s no time to explain! Just give me
    control of the spatial manipulation systems and I’ll take it from there!” the
    captain hesitated for a moment, deciding whether or not he should take the
    risk, he then reluctantly tapped a few buttons on the side of his chair. What
    happened next would be remembered throughout history as the DeWitt Manoeuvre.

    For Johannes DeWitt time seemed to
    slow down, the only thing that mattered was his work, his plan was to fold
    space-time around the burrowers and flatten it over the top of them, crushing
    them with the fabric of the universe itself. The space manipulation systems
    weren’t designed for this, so it required much working out, he had to make sure
    that he didn’t destroy the Rochtenchild as well as the burrowers, while making
    the new calculations Johannes noticed that the miscalculations that he had
    stumbled upon were no longer there, interesting, but now was not the time for
    worrying about such trivial matters. After about a minute he was done with the
    calculations and activated the spatial distortion array and with, at least in
    DeWitt’s opinion, an anticlimactic end to a dramatic situation, the creatures
    folded in on themselves, as if they had simply been deleted from existence.
    Captain Taussan breathed a sigh of relief and smiled at Johannes, he then
    pressed a button on the side of his visor, “The threat has been eliminated,
    begin ship repair protocol priority Omega Ten. Small spider like droids then
    ejected out of the roof and began scuttling systematically from one side of the
    bridge to the other, scanning each workstation one by one with a this, sweeping
    blue light, if repairs or medical attention was needed in the scanned area, a
    light mounted on top of the drone would glow red and the necessary tasks would
    be carried out, if not they would simply move on to the next section. This
    procedure was carried out by drones throughout the entire ship. After about ten
    minutes the droids scuttled up the walls and onto the roof, returning to their
    storage facilities. Captain Taussan turned to Johannes, “If you’re done
    fiddling with your beard Dr, I would appreciate it if you got to work.” Free
    from the pressure of working in an emergency, DeWitt was able to be much more precise;
    he noticed that, once again, the calculations were off, something wasn’t right.
    “Sir, something’s not quite right with the spatial manipulation systems, the
    calculations don’t match the interactive hologram” the captain turned and gave DeWitt
    a bemused look, “Surely, Mr DeWitt.” He said dryly, “If the holographic
    calculations are off then could you not simply compensate? I believe that
    thinking happens to be your job, so I would appreciate it if you started doing
    your job.” The captain was well aware of safety precautions but he always enjoyed
    making sarcastic comments. After being humiliated by a man of supposed inferior
    intellect, Johannes began his work; first he began bending the hologram while
    observing the calculations determining the exit point of the tunnel, in the end
    the numerical data displayed the exact co-ordinates agreed upon by the
    Cybernetix Corporation and the council of galactic infrastructure. DeWitt then
    entered the confirmation sequence and sat back to watch the magnificent
    display, after a few seconds of silence, the enormous viewing screen at the
    front of the bridge began to show four blue beams of light shooting out from
    the front of the ship, the beams stopped abruptly. As if they had hit an
    invisible barrier, the beams then began to rotate at an increasing speed; the
    ends converging onto a single point in front of the ship, the beams were
    drilling through space, when the beams eventually reached a single point, this
    caused an enormous, colourful, blinding explosion, there was no doubt about it,
    the wormhole had indeed opened.

    Wraith
    stared at the spectacle that lay before him, he couldn’t help but marvel at the
    beauty of this miracle of engineering and science, he wondered about what might
    have happened if he hadn’t tampered with the numerical data, if he had done the
    obvious thing and gone for the hologram, he would have failed at his mission,
    the wormhole wouldn’t have opened inside of the event horizon, he would not
    survive long enough to ask his superiors for a second chance, thank god he
    altered the numerical data the second time round, he sighed inaudibly, The Organization
    had stationed him here, month on end of off roading
    just so he could move the exit of a wormhole! Why? Because some guy had a
    theory! “I had better be paid handsomely” Wraith whispered to himself angrily.
    A message notification flashed on Wraiths’ Cybernetix Holowatch™ it was from Phantom,
    head of The Organizations’ G.H.O.S.T division, Wraith swiped the holographic
    screen projected above his Holowatch, instead of showing the face of Phantom,
    the screen projected the G.H.O.S.T logo. “Hello Wraith” said phantom, his voice
    was highly distorted to protect his identity, “Have you succeeded in your
    objective?” Phantom had a tendency to be blunt; he never bothered about
    pleasantries or small talk. “Yes sir, operation interstellar Intuition was a
    success.”

    “very good Wraith, what you have done today is
    a huge step towards the unification of the empire, as always, your payment has
    been transferred to a bank account in Scorantias, as this is your fifth
    successful mission, We believe that you are ready to be elevated to the next
    level of employment in the G.H.O.S.T division, agent Shade will contact you in
    three days, he will tell you the location of our base of operations, End
    Transmission.” The Holowatch communications device immediately shut down,
    leaving agent Wraith in his workstation, alone.

    • John Hawkins

      I liked the story, although it was a little simplistic, but the techno babble annoyed me.
      “antimatter annihilation missiles”, the annihilation part is superfluous here, although it’s technically correct, it’s just making the name less catchy. “interstellar torpedoes” I thought this was a science ship… Why would such a ship have a weapon like this, it’s not going to be used defensively.

      I did like the idea of space time being tunneled through, I feel it would be more appropriate if used as hyperspace. Since the concept of hyperspace is that our physical laws don’t apply, the drill could be reconceptualised as a pocket of our reality projected infront of the ship, without it the changes in physical laws will cause things to go very wrong (I’m now trying to summon the great wielder of the grumpy pants to say what would happen), perhaps they could leave devices behind to maintain these pockets of our reality. Would this have negative impacts on the native life? Would our reality seep into theirs?

      • michael pulleine

        thanks for the input, ive already begun making changes, but could you give me some advice on building the characters?