I have not posted in a hot WHILE but I’ll just put that in a nice little box on the shelf and then get going again.
I am currently back in my hometown, working on the first draft of the Gearbreakers sequel. I have so much time to read now which is kind of glorious, so I’ll be posting book reviews, too, because wHy NoT. Reading makes me feel like I’m not suffocating too much in the house, and it feels like I’m growing myself by doing it. It’s summer, and I’m planting flower seeds in the backyard, and reading feels like the same kind of principle, except the seeds and the soil and the sun didn’t feel a Sinkhole of Complete Desolation appear in their chest at the end of The Dragon Republic.
Diverting, now—a short while ago was Edgar Allan Poe week in my Gothic literature class. Poe had a slight obsession with premature burials, which led the lecture to the historical source of this fear. The nineteenth century saw the first instances of death being medicalized, that is, when people began to die in hospitals rather than in the home, surrounded by the family. Doctors determined when people were deceased; undertakers prepared the dead—roles that were once held by the family, who, in these new circumstances, experienced a lack of control over this already terrifying aspect of the human experience. They in turn feared that medical professionals wouldn’t take as much care and attention of the patient as they, as family members, would themselves, and thus emerged the fear of live burial.
The newness of this fear is what startled me. Today, this fear is widely-recognized (if not possessed), and it stems directly from a period of technological advancement in our society. (Learning about worldbuilding from the real world?) So here’s the bare takeaway (/formula?):
[advancement] = [resultant removal of some kind of intimate agency] = [wider fear stemming from this removal]
Then it does come into question if the fear of [something] stems from the loss of control of [something]. I’m not sure about the psychological backings of this (do I want to do that to myself), but the bottom line, I think, is that the fear you put into your works should have a world-specific cultural backing. This may seem like an obvious factor, but it’s the difference between having the world you’re building exist simply in the story you’re telling, versus having the world be exist in your story and before it, and following it.