I was talking to the good doctor the other day about fantasy worlds, because I have this one novel I’ve been working on for about five or six years now that I’m writing just for him, because he wants me to. He loves the idea, the concept, the universe, everything I’ve shared with him about it, including the first seven chapters, which I have completed. This is a fantasy novel. It’s not my genre. I don’t read fantasy usually. I have never written fantasy. For the most part, I don’t watch fantasy. I do, however, dream and fantasize fantasy frequently and have all my life. He says that is what stands to make this the best sci-fi/fantasy novel ever: because I won’t be rewriting the same old storyline that has been told in different ways hundreds or thousands of times. I won’t be using the stereotypes just because someone else did it well, or won’t be derivative of someone else’s universe, etc.
But we all know there’s nothing new under the sun, no matter which universe, solar system or galaxy we are in. Even the fiction ones. But how we tell a story, how we bring the characters alive, that makes all the difference.
But at the same time, we have to be believable. No, not humanly, earthly believable, but believable within the realm of the world or universe we are creating. We have to be consistent with our physics, and the universal laws of that universe. We can’t take easy ways out when easy ways aren’t part of the laws of nature for that world. We can’t make it up as we go along. We have to make the reader at the very least step outside of their reality and suspend their disbelief in magic and fantasy and creatures and planets and stars and technology and people and places and things that don’t exist in our world, timelines or lives.
And if we can do that successfully, with characters people can love, hate or love to hate, then we can sell people on a story, even if the plot is similar to another story, or the magic system is familiar to us from another tale.
But one of the things I wanted to play with in my universe is to get away from a monetary based society. I want a world in which money means nothing. But more than that, nothing monetary exists. That means no barter or trade system. A world where magic and/or technology could be self-sustaining, self-replicating, self-repairing, and where the inhabitants of that world exist and subsist on the abundant resources available to them, with no need for monetary gain, where everything is abundantly available to everyone, without need for greed, power, control… enough, for everyone and everything.
But I am told by the good doctor that there is no way I could make that believable to my readers.
Are we humans so completely jaded that we cannot see the possibility of a race of beings that did not see a need or desire for ‘money’ or any type of a monetary based system? Are you? Can you imagine it? Could I make you believe it?
Now, I’ll be honest: one of the plot points I would love to consider in a sci-fi/fantasy novel is taking a resource-based economy of a world that has existed with magic/technology that provides for all those needs, self-sustaining, and rip it away from that world and watch how the world evolves and changes to adapt to that shift. Would barter and trade and some sort of power groups and ‘value-based’ monetary system be established in that time of need? It would be interesting to throw some well-developed characters into that scenario and see where it leads them.
But I stand by my initial question: Do you think I, or really any writer, could write a believable story–believable enough you would be willing to suspend your disbelief for the sake of entertainment value–in order to enjoy a story about a society that had no monetary system whatsoever?
Can you even fathom the possibility?
Oh, how I can…
Love and stuff,