Wednesday, April 24, 2013

'U' is for 'The Uncanny Valley.' You probably saw this coming.



‘U’ is for ‘Uncanny Valley,’ something you’ve doubtless heard of by now. The Uncanny Valley is a titanic canyon dividing the continent, running from the north-edge of the ocean and splitting into three smaller valleys at the most southernly border. It is so vast that it is the only thing that has prevented The Empire of Gold and Jade from colonizing The Frontier in the west.

The Uncanny Valley sports several unique features. Its basins are notoriously warm, supporting multiple broad jungles that themselves are home to most of the world’s deluxe-class sauropods like brachisaurs and tyrannosaurs. The northern region is the exclusive home of gryphons, and the world’s only manticores live in its southern region. These large biological creatures have also attracted most of the world’s remaining automatons, holdovers from the Gremlin Age, who hunt sauropods and manticores alike. In addition to its vastness, these dangerous inhabitants make it still harder to cross. There are families of triclopes who advertise their ability to help you cross, though it is some of the most hazardous work in the world.

A unique geological feature, The Uncanny Valley is believed the result of an apocalyptic quake that split the continent, but it predates any written history. It has famed depths, creases and cracks in its basin allegedly running deep into the core of the planet, or to the origin of the World-Ocean. He first succubae were discovered slumbering deep within its crevices, along with structures like underground temples that also predate any doradic or impish culture. Optimists believe answers to the world’s apocalyptic cycle could be down there. Pessimists think succubae are the beginning of the awful things you’d be better off leaving alone down there.

Though a wonder of the world, most cultures stay away from The Uncanny Valley. Its wildlife is too dangerous to approach unless you’re deliberately rustling sauropods or farming gryphon feathers for all-chemistry. The Empire of Gold and Jade have plans to build a bridge across its gap, yet no structure of such a size has been erected for the entirety of the Human Age. Humanists consider that a good reason to build one.

UPDATE: This addition is for Larry Kollar, who in a previous post asked why the Uncanny Valley doesn't flood. After all, if it's a canyon stretching from ocean to ocean, it ought to be wetter than it is. I meant to be ambiguous about this, but not so ambiguous as to not answer it at all. The Empire of Gold and Jade has charted the southern end on the Uncanny Valley, which terminates in a half-frozen ocean, and found it mildly above sea level, and usually quite waterlogged, if not lake- or river-logged. Their attempts for expansion in the south have mostly been ocean-based with their fledgling fleet. However the northern edge has never been charted, in part due to the extremely hot climate, and in part due to the high population of gryphons. Human eyes may never have laid upon the northern opening of the Uncanny Valley - something my fiction is going to go into, and which makes a little mum about.

30 comments:

  1. There is dangerous wildlife around certain nature preserves, and yet, people still camp out there.

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    1. So you would camp out down there?

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    2. I'm not referring to myself- I'm referring to other people.

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  2. I warm to the Uncanny Valley, not only because of the fascinating wildlife it supports but also because it (at least for now) thwarts the Empire of Gold and Jade - who I have developed a distaste for.

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    1. I've really roughed the empire up in all of this, and in at least one of my novels. It's becoming apparent I'll have to give them a sympathetic portrayal down the line.

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  3. Sounds like many creatures of previous apocalypses hang out there! A bridge over it would certainly be a huge feat.

    Rinelle Grey

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  4. That bridge sounds like quite the supernatural engineering project. Glad we finally made it to U as I've been curious about the Uncanny Valley.

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  5. I would like to see a drawing. How this all looks. I wonder how many different looks on this you would get. Sounds interesting.
    Become a Member at: Life's Ride As I See It

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    1. Clearly need to improve my cartography skills...

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  6. I'd love to see a map! As for the bridge, that would be an interesting journey for future books. :)

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    1. The more I write explicit world-building for this stuff, the more poorly I feel about being unable to draw. Proper cartography seems so warranted. If only I could create a period appropriate map...

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  7. It sure doesn't sound like a great camping spot! :)

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  8. No bridges for now please, leave the creatures there.

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  9. Hmm. This sounds almost believable, but it's not quite right for some reason.

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  10. Kind of sounds like the lost Jurassic park. But a bridge of some kind over it would be quite a feat. And then the humans could charge exorbitant rates to use it (like they do for that silly half bridge over the Grand Canyon--and that doesn't even go very far)

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    1. Sight-seeing hasn't started up yet, but there are allegedly triclopes who will smuggle you across from a high price.

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  11. I was hoping to hear how the oceans don't flood the Valley. Seems to me, if there's a rim at the ocean, then that could be the crossing point. Who needs a bridge?

    This is a fantasy world, so "magic" is a perfectly acceptable answer. As long as it fits into the rest of the cool features you've shared so far.

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    1. It's a very fair complaint, Larry, and I'm sorry I didn't cover it. Part of me held it back because it's a plot point in one of my later stories and I don't want to uncover it now, and another part just utterly forgot to address it. I could have at least been cryptic. How can I make this up to you?

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  12. Nice... sounds like the sort of place I'd want to go check out... if I lived there... (though I'm kinda glad I don't, your world seems quite dangerous), but if I did live there, I'd be the sort of person who'd go investigate places everybody else was scared of. :)

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  13. Hopping over from A to Z. I often comment on impressionevergreen.com's site (since I kind of egged him into joining the A to Z challenge), and kept seeing your comments over and over, so thought I'd say hi. Looks like a huge fictional world here. The more detailed it is, the more real it becomes for the reader.

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  14. I think someone needs to go down there and explore. (Not me of course.)

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  15. I bridge sounds like a terrible idea, and just the type of thing humans would come up with to prove their mastery over the environment. I foresee many deaths and tragic accidents during the building of the bridge.

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  16. Wow. Sounds like an amazing place. I can imagine explorers trying to go through there and never seen again.

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  17. And I think to myself... what a wonderful world...

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  18. Before the Empire embarks on a massive bridge building project, the mysterious northern edge needs to be thoroughly explored and charted. There could be a reasonable passage through the valley that supports a completely different set of fauna. I would just hate to see the clutches of Gold and Jade stretch all the way to the western frontier.

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  19. I echo others when I say a) your world-building continues to astound me, b) I'm dying for a map- maybe you could commission Max? and c)I'd kill to see a nature show filmed down there with some crazy outspoken host ruffling the feathers of a gryphon to show you its undercoat.

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