kilroy: (Default)
[personal profile] kilroy
 I'm building a list for analysis. I need twenty or so good universes of any fictional variety that have a bunch of persistent, politically relevant factions with different cultures and/or goals. Help me out?

Things that are good examples:
Avatar: the Last Airbender
Babylon 5
City of Heroes
Defiance
Discworld
Dune
Most well-constructed Dungeons and Dragons universes
Erfworld
Feng Shui
Game of Thrones
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Any White Wolf universe (including Trinityverse)
The Wire

Things that probably aren't good examples:
Star Wars-- it basically boils down to Rebels, Imperials, and Criminals. There are a bunch of alien races, but they all more or less fall into one of those categories. See also Firefly.
Doctor Who-- you get to see a lot of different cultures and factions, but the ones that show up multiple times are usually just villains or backdrops. Designed as an exploration/showcase rather than an integrated universe. See also TOS and to an extent TNG. 
Harry Potter-- the universe has some breadth and depth, but the story as told essentially boils down to everyone-versus-the-bad-guys. The different strengths of the good guy alliance are largely irrelevant. See also Lord of the Rings. 
Fables-- this actually goes too far into motivational territory, where every individual character has an agenda and even people nominally in the same group have only surface-level common ground. See also most superhero universes, Justified, Once Upon a Time, and Amber. 

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-27 09:23 pm (UTC)
grammarwoman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] grammarwoman
Farscape is a maybe, because they certainly come across a variety of cultures and politics. I would offer as a stronger example (because they actually dive deeply into the notion of politics and culture) Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books. (SO GOOD! If you haven't read them, you totally should.)

Or (and I feel sheepish mentioning this) the Stargate collection of TV series.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-28 12:56 am (UTC)
korafox: Dahlia holds up a book, a rainbow shooting out of it.  Text: READ ALL THE BOOKS (reading rainbow)
From: [personal profile] korafox
I will second the recommendation on Stargate, at least SG-1 (I haven't seen SGA).

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-28 11:20 pm (UTC)
grammarwoman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] grammarwoman
If it was forever ago, you may very well want to give them another chance. Or just skim the Wiki entry to get an idea for your examples.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-28 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kayote
Darkover by MZ Bradley.

Usagi Yojimbo

Girl Genius (maybe--not sure there are enough with enough definition and differentiation, though I think there are in the world. There are at least 4 big ones.)

(Also, while trying to come up with the name of one more, I suddenly realized I was thinking of Saga.)
Edited Date: 2014-07-28 01:29 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-28 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kayote
It has been a long time since I've read Darkover (so ugh if I mess this up), but I believe each tower operates its own way, and the Free Amazons operate outside most rules (but live within the same physical area). There are other natives, but they may not show up in more than a few books each, other than in the background. Not sure if that's good enough for you or not.

UY: Man, I need to not suggest things I haven't read in a while. There is at least one clan of Ninja's that gets a lot of play, there is a couple different families that show up frequently (one of which I suspect plays heavily in the couple books beyond where I've read given the groundwork being laid), there is the big bad guy group. The Shogun himself is barely there, it's more people working around his court. I think there are a couple other clans of ninja's that are recurring. There are also the bounty hunters, but those are probably too loose & every man for himself for you. I don't know if they are different enough cultures--they are all in the samurai culture, but they approach it differently. I should reread those and I might have a better answer.

GC I could have done better on if you'd asked. England (at least in frequent passing), Hetrodynes (and even moreso the Jaegers and Mechanicsburg citizens since the Hetrodynes themselves are down to one person raised outside), Storm King, and Wulfenbach are the big ones who get play.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-28 03:18 am (UTC)
james: a shot of the desert mostly sand (Default)
From: [personal profile] james
Maybe Walter Hunt's the Dark Wing series, though I don't know that it's all that widely read? It has two species, human and alien, but both sides are treated with both positive and negative, insider and outsider views.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-28 03:55 am (UTC)
korafox: Dahlia holds up a book, a rainbow shooting out of it.  Text: READ ALL THE BOOKS (reading rainbow)
From: [personal profile] korafox
How about The Wire? Not technically a fictional universe, I know, but I suspect your reason for asking is less "what are some fictional cultures that interweave in balance" and more "how do I construct a narrative that balances these different groups". It's certainly a show that manages to keep from giving outright moral superiority to any one group.

I may come up with more later, because brain is failing me.

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