Starsea Cycle Preview 3: The Setting

It’s time for another preview of The Starsea Cycle! This time I’m going to talk about the setting a little bit. Some of this is revealed in the books, some of it is unique information that you consider as background.

Setting/world-building is something I’ve always enjoyed as a writer. In Starsea that will be no different.

And since the series will be set in the future, with other planets and outer space as settings, there will be a lot of opportunity for cool places to explore.

The series begins in the year 2364. As expected, a lot of the technological progress has happened that will be familiar to readers of the genre: spaceships, massive space constructions and habitats, multiple worlds colonized by humanity, and remnants of a long-lost alien race. There is also the threat of a new alien race, called the Swarmers, that plays a background role in the storyline.

Two things make this setting unique when compared to other sci-fi universes. The first is the absence of true faster-than-light communication or travel. Interstellar ships can go a small fraction of the speed of light, and messages can only travel as fast as the speed of light. And each star system is connected only through a system of gateways, lost remnants of a long dead alien race. Those gateways are located billions of miles from the center of solar systems (sometimes less, depending on star system size), and it takes weeks of travel just to reach them. However, it is only through these gates that people can travel to other star systems, meanings a journey from one planet to another takes, on average, about a month, give or take.

Now this is pretty different from what most space operas do. Usually if things are interstellar, there is true faster than light travel, but I wanted to do something unique and make space feel truly vast. And I wanted the focus to be on the setting of the planets themselves. While magic exists in Starsea, that magic can’t be used to make ships go faster than the speed of light, or warp, or whatever means other sci-fi universes use. The only exception are the gates themselves, which are the only thing “magical”. In this time period, humanity doesn’t understand the mechanics of the gates.

The other unique aspect of Starsea is quite obviously the magic system. Magic and space-based fiction have been mixed before, but it’s still far more common for magic to take a backseat in these kinds of settings. Fantasy vs. Science is sort of a continuum in all science fiction stories, and Starsea is probably something that falls in the middle. That said, magic is explained in the series by scientific principles.

At the time the series is set, humanity has colonized well over a hundred worlds. Those worlds are bound in a very, very loose confederation called The League of Worlds, or simply The League. They are also referred to as “The Hundred Worlds,” though at the time that title was made, there were one hundred League-sanctioned world, and it has since grown to include more. That said, each world either governs itself, or is itself split into multiple factions. No one leads the Worlds as a whole, though Earths’ governments are the de facto leader of the League during times of crisis.

Despite the fact there are over a hundred colonized worlds, space has only been open to settlement for around 200 years by the time the story starts. Aside from a few choice worlds that lie close to Earth, most of the planets are quite undeveloped, being far from infrastructure systems that would allow them to grow faster. “First Worlds” are planets that are one gate jump away from Earth, of which there are four. The planets that form the League border at the periphery, often six or more gate jumps away, are called “Border Worlds.” Think Outer Rim such as in Star Wars. These worlds are very rough and are basically the Wild West, having little orbital infrastructure and small economies, while also being a haven for outlaws or pirates. Falling somewhere in between are the Mid-Worlds, which are the most numerous.

All that said, Earth and its moon combined, along with all the space stations and habitats that orbit Earth, have more population, resources, and infrastructure than the rest of the worlds combined.

What does that mean for the series? It basically means that every world that isn’t Earth is significantly less developed, more crime-ridden, and less lawful. And given the sheer distance these worlds are from Earth, Earth has no real way of governing these worlds, even the ones that are close.

Add in the mix that mages have begun being born in the last century and a half or so, for reasons unknown, and their magic causes their bodies and minds to rot to a disease called “the fraying,” then there is just so much potential as a writer to have fun with that.

That said, all of the above can just be taken as background information. Some of it is sprinkled in the books, and some isn’t.

I can’t wait for you guys to start reading this series in January! You can preorder your copy by clicking the link below.

Comment Section

  • Wow! What a complex and complete world building. I’m loving it more and more! Thank you for the preview, Kyle. Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! 🧡

    • Believe me, just the tip of the iceberg! This series will be a lot like Wasteland or Xenoworld, where things start small and increasingly become more grand and epic as time goes on. First beta reader impressions of the first book are good, but it only gets better from there.

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