Worldbuilding for Masochists

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October 13, 2021  

Episode 61: Worldbuilding: The Search for Intelligent Life ft. MARTHA WELLS

October 13, 2021

From aliens to AI, from dragons to dwarves, from to nebulous clouds to sapient mushrooms, how do we conceive of non-human intelligence in our speculative worlds? Martha Wells joins us to discuss the various considerations in building a culture from a perspective entirely unlike our own, perhaps operating on different levels of consciousness, or through a hive mind, or dealing with entirely different biologies and ecologies.

How do you on-board a reader to something beyond the human brain? Is that culture in conflict with human culture, or in peaceful coexistence, or do humans even exist in their world? How do we apply some of our basics of worldbuilding to this kind of crafting?

Our Guest: Martha Wells has been an SF/F writer since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993, and her work includes The Books of the Raksura series, The Death of the Necromancer, the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, The Murderbot Diaries series, media tie-in fiction for Star WarsStargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering, as well as short fiction, YA novels, and non-fiction. She has won Nebula Awards, Hugo Awards, and Locus Awards, and her work has appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the BSFA Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Her books have been published in twenty-two languages.

Transcript for Episode 61 (Thank you, dear scribes!)