The official first day of spring is next week.  That doesn’t mean that it’s really spring everywhere.  It’s probably been spring for weeks in Texas, and it still feels like winter here in South Dakota, but March 20 is what divides the calendar.

There are many commercials that are playing into the concept of upcoming spring, and they got me thinking.  In fantasy, you generally see worlds that are variations on our own planet.  Science fiction is different, of course, as it often features different planets.  But fantasy is still speculative fiction, and who’s to say that an Earth with magic, or a magical realm different from Earth, needs to function the same as our planet?

It’s an interesting and very unfamiliar thing to think about mixing up the seasons.  Would it even really be possible?  If there is a hot season and a cold season, there would by necessity be a cooling-down season and a warming-up season to transition between the two.  Perhaps that’s why no one has really played with seasons, because there isn’t a lot of room for play.

There are places on our planet where seasons are different, and often fantasy stories will take place in rainforests, deserts, or mountains, taking advantage of the change in climate to work in a variation on weather.  The necessary logic of seasons might preclude toying with them in a fantasy novel, but it might be interesting to consider incorporating some the other variables that can change when you free yourself from the world we live in.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. R. Hans Miller
    Mar 16, 2013 @ 21:14:29

    I think my favorite fantasy stories, or at least chapters in fantasy stories, are the ones where things take place underground. No seasons. No weather. The writer simply focuses on plot and direct environmental objects.

    And Spring has been overzealous in TX this year. I’m in Austin, and it’s been unusually warm, even for TX.


  2. The Varied God
    Mar 17, 2013 @ 07:29:58

    Interesting speculation here. My major preoccupation is with the seasons. You’re correct that there is a ‘necessary logic’ to the seasons. As a matter of fact, many researchers see them as really a continuum; humans only divide them into several named categories as our usual way of dealing with reality. So if one were to ‘toy’ with the reality of seasons in fiction, one would be better to create a logical continuum than to just reorganize the four seasons we know. Though I can’t imagine an order that would make sense, aside from growth, death, rebirth, repeat . . .


    • Leigh Townsend
      Mar 17, 2013 @ 21:50:38

      Or perhaps take advantage of the continuum concept and create a society with more seasons that we have. If the whole concept is to divide it into categories, why do we need four? Why not five, or seven?


      • The Varied God
        Mar 18, 2013 @ 05:08:34

        Actually there are many variations on earth. Tropical climates where they recognize only a wet and a dry season; Australian aboriginal people so attuned to nature that they see seven seasons, where Europeans in the same area only see two. It’s a fascinating field, one which might contain some interesting fictional possibilities.

      • Leigh Townsend
        Mar 19, 2013 @ 20:34:49

        Nice insight! It’s definitely something interesting to contemplate.

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