Pangaea! We Build Worlds So You Don’t Have To!

Pangaea Cover V2 (Large)

According to canon, the world was made in six days. In retrospect, the work does come off as kind of rushed, but seeing as it was the first time anyone had tried creating a whole new world from scratch, any defects can be excused. Well, some of them. But that’s neither here nor there.

In the span of the relatively small sliver of time that we’ve been around, many others have gone on to create universes of their own, sub-realities to real reality—Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Milton’s Paradise Lost/Paradise Regained, Burroughs’ jungles and hollow Earth, Howard’s Hyborian Age, Asimov’s Foundation, George R.R.R.R.R.R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones—to name a few. In my own humble way, I’ve patched together a few worlds myself over the years, most extensively in the early to mid-‘80s in the Arion, Lord of Atlantis comic book series for DC Comics (which I’ve extended into a pair of short stories and a novella in the works—with names and incidents suitably altered to protect myself from any corporately copyrighted reprisal—to be published in 2016 by Crazy 8 Press as Three Tales of Atlantis) and Crazy 8’s own ReDeus trilogy, whose deity infested world was built by Bob Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, and myself (long before Crazy 8, in fact, back when we were calling ourselves 3 Mountains or something like that…’cause (Fun Fact®) the “berg” in all our names is German for “mountain.”

I also had a hand in building the world of Pangaea. Well, maybe it was more like a finger…a part of a finger, really. A fingernail. Okay, it was all Mike Friedman’s idea and I kibitzed a bissel (that’s Yiddish for “I put in my 2¢”), reading a few drafts and tossing out a few suggestions, comments, and ideas. This wasn’t my and Mike’s first collaborative effort; I’d been his editor for several years at DC Comics on Darkstars and other titles so we’re comfortable working together.

The strange thing about world building is that even as its creator, you never know everything about it. In my ReDeus stories (available by clicking here…I’ll wait while you go order them), set in a world in which every pantheon that ever existed returns at the same time and forces the world into worshipping them again as they had in the days of old while the Judeo-Christian deity remains silent and removed from the proceedings. There came a point in one of my stories where my protagonist, a Jewish-by-culture but otherwise atheist middle-age FBI agent is investigating a Catholic relic and, as he goes about his business, I realized I didn’t know what had happened to the Catholic Church, the institution if not the religion itself. I had to sit back and, within the parameters of the ReDeus bible and in consultation with my fellow world builders, come up with a plausible back story and resultant church structure. (It’s easier if you just read the stories for yourself, honest, so just click here…)

Kibitzing aside, I was a guest in Mike’s world of Pangaea, so I tried very hard not to spill anything on the rugs or break the furniture, sequestering myself to a single corporate farm somewhere out in the vast plains of Earth’s single mega-continent…with a side trip to the other side of the world. Even there, I found one hundred and one little details of everyday life that I had to invent on the spot, from what to call things, the slang used by the migrant farm workers, the politics of company and workers, as well as the politics of a most literal form of corporate warfare. Since no one else had beat me to the punch on establishing some of these details, Mike awarded me dibs and let them stand; other things, like the slang term used by the Homo sapien majority for Neanderthals were already set so the one I dreamed up was changed. On the other hand, my term for Homo sapiens used by my Neanderthal character was left as I wrote it.

(Oh, and Mike also chopped about fifteen hundred or two thousand words from my draft that really tightened the story up something fierce. Thank you, doctor!)

So, just six days to create a whole world? Not nearly enough time to do the job right. But it does explain the Kardashians.

Pangaea is now available in digital and print editions.

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