Learn All About The Traveller’s World And The Stories Set There
Although I write stories with a wide range of settings, most of my novels and around a quarter of my shorter pieces are set in a world I call the Traveller’s World, after the immortal figure who goes through much of its history.
The Traveller’s World began taking shape when I was fifteen and has grown from a few countries that formed the setting for a specific story to a full-sized world, consisting of seven continents and around ten thousand years of history.
It’s formed haphazardly. Sometimes I need a new location for a story, and a bit gets added to the map. Sometimes I see an empty space on the map and think of a setting and a story that could fill it. Sometimes a chance remark in a story opens something out. On one occasion, such a chance remark added three continents and two thousand years to the world.
So why just “the Traveller’s World”? Why hasn’t it got a fancy name?
Why should it? We only give places names when we need to distinguish them from somewhere else. The name we use for our world is just the word for the ground under our feet — and it’s different for each of the thousands of languages in our world.
The Traveller’s World is no different. It too has thousands of languages, and none is the language of all (or even most) of the point-of-view characters in the stories. It’s a world which, as Ursula Le Guin once described it, has no name because its people simply call it The World.
The Shape of The Traveller’s World
The Traveller’s World is essentially our world with different land-masses. That is, it’s a rocky planet with a circumferance of about 25,000 miles, a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, more than two-thirds oceans, orbiting about 93 million miles from a star similar to our Sun with a relatively large moon as its only companion. It’s day is about 24 hours, its month is about 28 days and its year is about 365 days. Its biosphere is broadly similar to ours.
It’s everything else that’s different.
In the same way that our world has two main groups of continents — the “Old World” and the “New World” — the Travellers World has three. To the west (only relatively — this is a spherical world, of course) are two moderate-sized continents separated by a stretch of ocean, while to the south-east lies an oceanic “continent” known as the Thousand Isles.
Eastward from here are two large continents (the Northland and the Southland) joined by an isthmus. This bloc ranges from arctic in the north, via tropical regions to a warm maritime climate in the far south. Further east are, again, two separate continents, separated by ocean full of islands. The more southerly continent extends down into the antarctic, where it and a string of islands circle the pole.
The History of the Traveller’s World
On the whole, the stories I’ve written range from an iron age in the westerly continents that has some things in common with the classical world to an age, about 4,500 years later, where a global civilisation has planes and computers — though not exactly like ours. In addition, there have been glimpses to primitive neolithic cultures thousands of years earlier and a futuristic society several centuries later.
In between, each country, city-state and culture has been through a wide range of historical events and trends. Two sequences of events, though, have affected the world as a whole.
The first is the Great War, fought for a thousand years between the Alliance led by the Traveller and the Demon Queen’s empire. Although strictly only affecting the Southland, the War tends to be viewed as a global event, and the standard dating system is based around it.
The second is the religion of the Lady, which arose around a thousand years after the end of the War. A religion advocating kindness, tolerance and responsibility, it gradually grew to be the predominant faith of the Traveller’s World, replacing hundreds of local religions, although without any force or compulsion.