Worldbuilding and Nonstandard Gardening

One of the things I’ve been picking up over the past year or so is issues of a particular magazine. Gamekeeper: Farming for Wildlife.

I grant, it’s riddled with lots of ads, and plenty of heavy machinery and chemical use. But it does address an aspect of the world I think a lot of post-apocalyptic fic misses. Namely: you plan on hunting and fishing for part of your food? What are you going to do to improve your odds? What can you do, when everyone else who’s survived also wants to hunt what you’re eating? What can you do over the short term and the long term – since once you make it past the first month of End of the World, you’d better start thinking long-term!

If you want to poke that aspect of worldbuilding, there’s an awful lot of information in these magazines.

And don’t rule this out for fantasy world-building, either. Hunting was a major noble occupation in a lot of the world for a very long time, for good reasons. Among other things, it let the nobles get together with weaponry involved and learn to work together when they weren’t in the middle of a war.

…And seriously, Robin Hood. As a yeoman and forester he’d know a lot of this stuff. πŸ˜‰

Also, the stuff on planting food plots, positioning minerals, maintaining lakes, and using fences all dovetails neatly with other books on survival and gardening. Especially if you’re taking a leaf from some articles on unconventional gardening and/or permaculture. Got an overgrowth of water hyacinth in the lake you need fish in? There are ways to make that into a floating garden, so you yank out the pesky problem and get some grub out of it. Fallen trees, and for some reason you can’t get it somewhere to dry and cut for later? You can mound earth and plants over them, and garden fed by the decaying wood. And if you’re in a setting where you can add magic to each of those, they’d probably give interesting results compared to a standard garden….

After all, in the standard medieval-based society, over 90% of people are directly involved in food production. Why not let them get some magic, and see what happens? πŸ˜‰


21 thoughts on “Worldbuilding and Nonstandard Gardening

  1. Magic in fantasy is often times both overused and underused.

    It can be overused in the combat arena. People are so focused on giving their mage character flashy or powerful or just plain cool spells, that they nelegect to let their mage think stragetically or tactically. Or occasionally ignore their list of spells for punching the bad guy in the nose because he was expecting magic, not punches, from a squishy wizard.

    Or the powerful magic is supposed to make us the readers forget that plot-holes, or wasted opportunites, or just-plain-makes-no-sense-even-within-the-context-of-this-universe, or the fact that the Villain is a Sue who has been locked into God Mode since day one and always knows things that they have no way of knowing and can always counter anything save for the Dues Ex Machina the author pulls out at the last minute . . .

    Cool magic doesn’t replace good storytelling. And there is a lot of bad storytelling out there. Which is a shame because a lot of those bad storytelling things have or had a lot of potentinal . . . which is probably why one’s fic bunnies spend much time chewing on those series.

    It’s underused in that they forget Mundane Utility. How many stories can you think of where the heroes use their powers for normal, everyday, not saving the world stuff in addition to saving the world, daring do stuff? And if they do, how often it is shown outside of a gag moment? Do you ever want to shout at the characters “What do you meant you can’t start a fire without matches! You have fire powers! Or fire spells! And plenty of kindling!”

    Liked by 3 people

      1. wait, that got them in so much trouble….

        “Trouble is no reason to drink cold tea. Especially when it is meant to be served piping hot. How can you experience the wonderful play of taste and scent it’s supposed to have when it’s ice cold?”


        Liked by 3 people

      2. He would. I can just see him saying that, face stuck somewhere between “Imparting wisdom” and “Pouting in Disappointment (How did I ever have a nephew with no head for the finer things?)”

        Liked by 3 people

  2. So I’ve tried to like the post, but it’s not letting me for whatever reason.

    Anyway. World Building. Big, messy process that takes just this side of forever, and easily one of the more interesting bits of story telling. My favorite part of writing, though my ability to do so is… woefully underdeveloped. Bits and pieces are easy to come up with, but tying everything together into a cohesive whole is another thing entirely.

    Partially because I can never seem to keep all of the information in order. Need flow charts to untangle everything.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Why not let them get some magic, and see what happens?

    This is about the only reason I could stand to read fantasy books when I was a kid– I could hand-wave that they were able to have maybe one in ten folks in food production because there was magic SOMEWHERE along the line, even if you never saw it in the mandatory “farmboy” parts.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My own interests in that lie in some of the really fascinating Native American/South American techniques. While 1491 has a fair amount(look up Terra Preta sometime, for instance. Terraforming right here on earth, using just pottery and hand power!), I’m also descended from one of the only cultures that had city level civilization with no agriculture! Or at least not farming based agriculture. The use of fire in keeping forests healthy and productive is fascinating too. (this also means that you know all those elven forests with big trees and low underbrush? Fire managed. Elves should be your best fire mages out there.)

    Or even Mayan/Aztec farming techniques, which could feed a family of four in the area on an acre with no supplemental proteins/fat needed and a bit extra. Though Milpas required constant maintenance, and they can’t be worked with machinery. Then again, in the post apocalypse, you probably don’t have that machinery.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Terra preta is pretty cool. So’s biochar. And the milpas are an amazing idea that we should all carry off and try to rework for various climates and crops, because being able to feed people in bad times is always good to have as a fallback plan.

      Also, elven fire mages who know controlled burns makes the plotbunnies grin savagely. Nice….

      Liked by 2 people

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