Worldbuilding for Masochists

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February 16, 2022  

Episode 70: Magical Ethics and Ethical Magics ft. KATE HEARTFIELD

February 16, 2022

When you've introduced elemental, supernatural, ethereal, or diabolical powers into your world, what does that do to your society? Guest Kate Heartfield joins us to discuss the rules, regulations, and roguery of magical worldbuilding!

In this episode, we explore the two levels that magical ethics can operate on: within your world, and within our world. What are you saying when you decide who has access to magic, how they control it, or how they use it to control others? Magic literalizes many issues of consent, manipulation, and power-brokering that we deal with in our daily lives -- so how can you build it into your world thoughtfully and hang interesting plot hooks on those choices?

Transcript for Episode 70 (with thanks to our scribes!)

Our Guest: Kate Heartfield is the author of The Embroidered Book, a historical fantasy novel out in February 2022, and the Alice Payne time travel novellas (2018/2019). Her debut novel Armed in Her Fashion (2018) won Canada’s Aurora Award. She also writes interactive fiction, including The Road to Canterbury, and The Magician's Workshop, published by Choice of Games. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Nebula, Locus, Aurora, Sunburst and Crawford awards, and her journalism for a National Newspaper Award. Her short stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Lackington's, Podcastle and elsewhere. A former newspaper journalist, Kate lives near Ottawa, Canada.