Tuesday, 23 February 2016
the city of Archopolis in Dominic Flandry's period;
the environments of planets like Diomedes, Avalon, Aeneas, Imhotep and Daedalus;
the city of Inga on the planet Asborg in For Love And Glory.
By taking notes on what we are told, I usually find that the characters move through a fully realized and consistent environment. In fact, the author has usually imagined more than we are shown in the action of a single novel. In prose fiction, the author must do all of this creative work himself, although he might acknowledge advisers.
Visual media are more collaborative. In a film adaptation, how many people would design the costumes worn in Archopolis? Dave Gibbons, who drew Alan Moore's Watchmen, writes:
"Whilst Alan was coming up with new character names and backgrounds, I thought about the ways Watchmen's alternate world differs from ours and presented him with notes about fashions, social and scientific changes, and so on. I mentioned the idea of pirate comics, reasoning that a world with real super heroes would have no need of them in comics."
-Dave Gibbons, Watching The Watchmen (London, 2008), unnumbered page.
This comparison of Anderson's prose novels with Moore's and Gibbons' graphic novel is not as fanciful as it may appear because Gibbons had written a few pages previously:
"I had an epiphany one day when I realized that Watchmen was not a super-hero book as such, but rather a work of science fiction, an alternate history."
Watchmen shows its readers an alternative New York just as an AI "emulation" in Anderson's Genesis immerses two of the characters in an alternative York.