Colors of Another Sky: Knit One, World Two

Research is critical in building any good world, and especially in an isekai. In part because you not only have to figure out the odd details of your fantastic world, you also have to make a good guess what the local characters find odd about their sudden transplant. A lot of isekai works around this with either the reincarnation gambit, or by dropping a lone character into an isolated spot so they have a chance to filch some local clothes and otherwise disguise themselves as just more ordinary kinds of strange. Continue reading


Book Review: The Troubled Empire

The Troubled Empire: China in the Ming and Yuan Dynasties, by Timothy Brook. I’m giving this history five out of five, this is exactly the ground-level info I wanted on climate, culture, and the rest of the time period for my points of historical divergence in Colors of Another Sky. And I plan to look up other books and articles by this author. Especially Vermeer’s Hat and everything he wrote on Xu Guangqi. For one thing, this author not only has an extensive bibliography, he sorts it into primary and secondary sources, so you can go straight to the source or read a myriad of interpretations…. Continue reading

Worldbuilding: What Everybody Knows That Isn’t So

Sometimes everyone in a setting “knows” something that turns out to be flat-out wrong. The world is flat, disease is caused only by evil spirits, sacrificing hearts on an obsidian altar keeps the sun in the sky. And sometimes… everyone knows what’s actually true, but upholds a polite fiction in public so no one has to officially notice and do something about it. No one really wants to do all the paperwork to haul in someone going three miles over the speed limit on the highway, and Continue reading