This is the next part in Kevin J. Anderson’s world building masterclass. The different parts are supposed to be figured out in order. So Geography, or setting, is first, and easily the most important. Next up–
The discussion on climate was pretty interesting. I didn’t have any idea how much climate influenced elements of culture. I grew up in Los Angeles, and the weather was always one season. What I called winter hardly matched what I encountered outside of Los Angeles. I didn’t even see snow until I was 25 (and in another state).
For example, in a hotter climate, people would be more laid back because they’re drained from the heat. Yup, remember that in Los Angeles. Got that when I went to New Orleans last August. Got that when I went to Mexico a few years back–and I went in winter. I can only imagine how hot it would be in the summer!
That influences clothing. Most notably, I’m in Virginia. It was very cold yesterday and I was in shorrt sleeves. I have a lot of trouble wearing long sleeves. I constantly want to roll them up. Because I never wore long sleeves in L.A. In Hawaii, the weather is so nice all year round that the islanders originally wore very little, which horrified the very buttoned up missionaries. Now they have loose-fitting Hawaiian shirts and mu-mus.
Climate also influences houses. The houses in Los Angeles are built with stucco, which is cool in summer (had no idea). Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, this house was built for both the cold winters and the humid summers. The walls are stone and double walled, much like a submarine. There are many fireplaces. We had those in L.A, too, but not as many (more common to see swimming tools in backyards from airplanes landing). The porches are made so they can let snow in during the winter, and not let bugs in during the summer. The interior has one long hallway, with a door at each end for natural air conditioning. George Mason’s house in Virginia has that same feature.
Food is also influenced by climate. Just take Hawaii–they have all the beautiful fruits that grow in that sunshine. They have a thriving coffee industry (because of geography, as in volcanic rock). In Los Angeles, the heat brings hot spices, because that was used to hide the fact the meat might be going bad. I had my character Hope Delgado in Cursed Planet come from Lower California (in the future, the state breaks into two at the North and South line). So she likes spicy food because that’s what she grew up with.
The characters not only interact with their setting, but also with the weather. It’s also a great opportunity for the five senses, which build character.
Next up: Politics, Economics, and Societies.