Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 79: Building Out a SciFi World

Main Topic

After the fantastic interview with Jeffery W. Ingram from The Worldbuilders Anvil last week, Zen and GuardaManger dive into how to do some worldbuilding for science fiction! 

  • Science Fiction versus Science Fantasy versus Space Opera

This is about the tone and feel of it the world and relates to the level of heroics expected from the characters.  As you progress further to the right on that list, you see more and more exceptional or unrealistic actions and design.  Space Opera in a lot of ways looks like a proper Pulp setting but with pitch black space instead of the inky streets. This is not unlike The Expanse as Science Fiction, Star Wars as Science Fantasy, and Buck Rogers as Space Opera. 

  • Tech Levels

Related to the tone of your science fiction setting, your tech level came make a difference! While these can be related, with more and more powerful tech appearing in Space Opera, it isn’t required to match up.  Tech is a lot like magic and so you can use that sliding scale to see how fantastical you want the setting. A terribly high tech level Science Fiction example is The Foundation from Isaac Asimov while a low tech Space Opera is easily found in Firefly & Serenity.  

  • Allegorical Utility

Science Fiction has almost always served to highlight existing problems and conflicts using the futuristic setting to discuss charged political events and conundrums.  How heavily will you lean into that part of science fiction? Is a fascist and dictatorial regime the opponents to your heroes, or do you start as part of this regime? Are you worried about what is or is not a life in first contact scenarios and playing up the questions through the setting?  This is the hardest slider to set because it involves some of the most charged and most powerful ideological conflicts in meat space. 


Janissary  noun

jan·​is·​sary | \ ˈja-nə-ˌser-ē  , -ˌzer-\

variants: or less commonly janizary

plural janissaries also janizaries

Definition of janissary

1 often capitalized : a soldier of an elite corps of Turkish troops organized in the 14th century and abolished in 1826

2 : a member of a group of loyal or subservient troops, officials, or supporters

History and Etymology for janissary

also janisary, “elite Turkish infantry,” 1520s, from Middle French janissaire (15c.), from Italian giannizzero, from Turkish yenicheri, literally “new troops,” from yeni “new.” The second element means “soldiery, but is said to have been conformed to the Italian form from an original Turkish asker (plural asakir) “army, soldier,” from Arabic ‘askar “army, troop.”

First Known Use of janissary

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Look-up Popularity

Bottom 30% of words

Closing remarks 

Zendead- God Complex Vol 1

Guard-a-Manger- Farscape – When the Henson Company was called upon to help make the first marquee show for the SciFi channel (now called SyFy), Farscape was a great example of worldbuilding in a new and intriguing way with practical effects.  

Music is courtesy of The Enigma TNG you can find his music on YouTube or on Bandcamp

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And Thanks to Merriam-Webster for our Lexicon segment

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