04 January 2011

Issues with Worldbuilding Ferodoxis

There is an issue concerning the people of Ferodoxis, and I've been struggling with it for several years. I have more than one project set in this world, and since about 2003 I've been "accidentally" writing the characters as though they're not quite human. I've actually experimented and gone far afield with this, and I've withdrawn to a great extent. All my Ferodoxans have left are really tails and certain reproductive issues, notably with the females of the race.

I've been fighting this because there is really no way for me to do a human-to-Ferodoxan comparison. Though they are very similar to us, and I've determined that they'd be able to eat our foods and contract our illnesses, and us theirs, I've been uncomfortable with this.

I feel that accepting that my Ferodoxans aren't human will take me into the realm of science fiction. It would of necessity be very soft, more along the lines of science fantasy, as Lucas claims his Star Wars saga to be. I, however, am not Lucas, and I have difficulty believing readers would suspend disbelief enough to read my stories, yet the aspects which make the Ferodoxans markedly different from us continue to rear their heads.

And not all Ferodoxans have tails. Only the people of one society really have tails consistently. In other societies they appear intermittently and mark the bearer of the tail as a "throwback." Part of my explanation is that the presence of a tail indicates the person with it is especially chosen of deity for some reason, but that doesn't fit across the board, so I've decided to leave that explanation out.

The other primary issue is that the females have an estrous period that is markedly different from human females' estrous. I haven't decided when during the year this is, or if it occurs more than once. It does explain why I gave the world a 651-day year, however, and I have determined that pregnancy for a Ferodoxan takes about 320 days, give or take a few, from conception to birth. I do know that estrous occurs over a period of ten days, and is frequently quite uncomfortable experiencing it, and that Ferodoxans as a race aren't very fertile to begin with.

I do also know that they used to be much more fecund than they are in the era Peikigi lives in, and I know what caused the infertility. I think it might be tied into the female estrous period--the reason why its very uncomfortable for them. I think it may even have altered the estrous period to some extent, but I don't know in what ways yet. I have a feeling that if I fully accept that Ferodoxans aren't human I'll figure this information out; thus far that has proven true in that the more comfortable I've come to be with the idea that they aren't human the more I've learned about them.

I need to figure this out in part because Peikigi will have issues with it once her estrous periods begin. Even in Secondary School, she'll be receiving training as a Sabi'Oji from Sabi'Oji, and it's not an easy process. Unlike other females who will permitted to skip certain classes--notably the self-defense class because of the physical requirements--Peikigi will not be permitted to do this.

Most of my progress on accepting the fact of this issue has occurred in the past few months with my rereadings of Peikigi's story that I already have written and with the commencement of the rewrite from that partial manuscript. I've discovered that I can't ignore these issues now with the way Peikigi's life is going to change.

Complete acceptance of this fact will enable me to more fully work out growth periods and at what ages their youth and adulthood are considered to begin. I'll also be able to start counting their ages solely by their year and determine their lifespan, another thing I've ignored because of the issue of their precise race.

The longer I struggle with this issue, the more frustrated I get with myself for balking at this. I'm close to reaching the point where I'll give up on what I expect the reader to go along with and just go the way the worldbuilding is pointing me.

I am not looking forward to this.