And I bet you thought you could get away from it all by coming here didn’t you? But on this election day in the U.S. I thought it might be interesting to look at how the political systems we choose to use in our stories can enhance the themes and worlds that we communicate to the readers.
Whether it is the incredibly complex and intricate Imperial feudalism of Dune, the idealistic socialism of the Federation, or the corrupt and bloated democracy of the Republic, every tale that works on an epic scale impacts the governing system at some point or another. And the way that system is represented can say a lot about the spiritual state of a world, and can serve as a strong symbol to comment on our own world, without necessarily being overt.
Think about the monarchies of Middle Earth and how Aragon’s journey from Ranger to High King impacted you. As well as the attitudes of the other monarchs encountered.
Or what about the theocratic empire of Narnia (Emperor beyond the Sea, who’s son is Aslan, King of Narnia). Or the simple theocracy of the inhabitants of Mars, with unassuming social structures of an unfallen, but damaged, peoples in Out of the Silent Planet.
What are some political systems that have stood out to you as being more than just window dressing and have moved farther into becoming defining attributes of a foundational worldview that is directing the course of events within a created world?
What do you think?