Friday, May 30, 2014

Different Dark Suns

Dark Sun is an evocative setting as is, but there's nothing wrong with a little variety. Maybe there are two great tastes that taste great together? Try these:

Art by Kevin O'Neill
Dark Sun, Red Sands
Killraven (and the War of the Worlds tv shows, and perhaps The Tripods series of novels by John Christopher) posits a world where the Martians from Wells's novel return and succeed in their conquest. The Masters would no doubt turn their vast, cool, and unsympathetic intellects toward areoforming Earth in the image of their homeworld. Desertification and cooling, accomplished by casting dust into the sky (making the sun appear darker and redder).  Over time, the Masters became decadent and lost the ability to produce much of their technology. They amused themselves with bloodsports and petty intrigues. The mutants and monsters they had bred for various purposes escaped into the wilds. Earth becomes almost Mars, and almost Mars becomes Athas, or something pretty close.

Art by Frank Frazetta
Dark Red Sun
Two ideologies fought a centuries long war, unleashing weapons they destroyed their world's environment, mutated its creatures, and cast both civilizations back to a more primitive state.Perhaps these competing tribes were called the Kohms and Yangs, but certainly the victors in their struggle flew a red flag (as ERB had it, in the original version of the book that became The Moon Maid). In any case, their former differences don't matter as much anymore in a harsh world where human and inhuman is a bigger distinction. Sometimes, though, the desert tribes still give the ancient war cry: "Wolverines!" though none remember what it might mean.

Art by Ken Kelly
Dark Western Sun
This riff is to BraveStarr what McKinney's Carcosa might be to Masters of the Universe. When galactic civilization tore itself apart in civil war, many frontier worlds, left on their on, backslide into primitivism. The strange, psionic races of Darksun left their reservations and remote hiding places and turned human habitation into settlements isolated by wilderness, where the only law comes from the barrel of a gun.

7 comments:

Jay Dugger said...

In the vein of the Dark Sun, Red Sands crossover, I recommend Anders Sandberg's "Land of the Ten Suns," a hard SF planetary romance set on a far-future terraformed Mars after multiple cycles of civilizational collapse.

Jack said...

Oh man, I love that Bravestarr idea.

Scott Anderson said...

The first one gets my imagination running. Sounds like Blackmoor meets Dark Sun in a way.

Trey said...

@Scott - I'm really only familiar with Blackmoor as a part of the Known World. What do you see as the similarities?

Dariel Quiogue said...

Recognizing some old favorites from the 70s in that art. :-) And the 'Wolverines' reference made me chuckle - caught that old movie on cable last time I stayed in Cotabato. Rock on!

garrisonjames said...

These all sound pretty interesting. I really like the Killraven/Tripods one the best, personally. Nice illo from The Rook there towards the end.

John Till said...

I really dig the first idea. I just started re-reading the Tripods series in the last week or so - for the first time since 8th grade. The novels are coming out in new editions, with "The White Mountains" and "The City of Gold and Lead" out already. The latter was one of the first SF novels I read, although I missed the implied alien sex scene back in the day.