For many of the cultures to come out of West Africa, what we know in the western world is often a derivative of one of their abstracts. Of course, the best example of this is Vodou, the culture we’ve long since associated with the darker aspects of their own superstitions, rather than the more mainstream beliefs. But even outside of Vodou you’ll find that the common knowledge of West African cultures is generally limited to things which are the easiest for us to process.
One great example of this is the Ashanti, one of the most commonly known cultures of West Africa. People who are familiar with the word immediately know of the Ashanti folk hero Anansi the spider. But after that point you’d be hard pressed to find someone who knows more about who they are. In fact, most aren’t even aware of the fact that the Ashanti are a subgroup, a single part of a greater whole, and that the majority of their beliefs actually originate from the people who share their language: The Akan.
It makes some sense that the Ashanti take the limelight here, they are the largest subgroup of the Akan and thus most Akan that we’ve encountered over the centuries have been Ashanti. But what’s important about it is that details like that lead to us sometimes not understanding the culture as a whole. And so, today, let’s address the larger group’s beliefs (as well as I can in the space I have). Continue reading Writing Fantasies – Alternative Mythologies Part 6b – The Ashanti/Akan Religion→
When I started the Alternative Mythologies series, I did so with two major reasons in mind. The first was that the fantasy genres, by and large, have stagnated in the recent years. Our novels, games, and movies all fall under similar categories with the differences primarily in presentation and angle rather than source. As a result, some parts of the fantasy genre have been on the decline. The popularity of Urban Fantasy proves that it’s not the genre itself that’s a problem, but rather that people want to see something different from what has been done for so many years. New material can’t hurt.
The second is that we’re living in a more global society than ever before. International markets have become more vibrant and viable for creators to work with. People in the domestic markets are becoming more aware of the outside world. We are slowly becoming an open multi-cultural society. There’s always been a vein of people who follow the teachings of another culture and those people have usually been marked as outcasts and weirdoes in the western world. But today we’re finding those weirdoes are becoming mainstream rapidly.
Some may point at the internet, but the fact of the matter is that silly white people getting Chinese tattoos has been a thing for at least a couple decades. Rather, the reason is more fundamental: as people have become more accepting of each other, so too have we become more accepting of our cultures. Some start to complain that it’s “cultural appropriation”, but someone trying to show respect and love for someone else’s culture is not a bad thing, it’s a sign we’re starting to appreciate people and history other than our own. And, the fact is, we really could afford to know more about places like… Continue reading Writing Fantasies – Alternative Mythologies Part 6a – Introduction to West Africa→
(I hate that I have to say this, but this is a fictional account of the history of a fictional world. I do not believe these things, nor should you, as I am making them up. If I receive any comments that I did not do my research into these events, you will be mocked.)
In the Agent of Argyre series of books, there is an organization called the Alter Control Task Force. Though ostensibly an organization for policing activities of the Alter race, an attempt to prevent an eventual race war, they are actually representatives of a city-state on the ocean: The Republic of Argyre.
The Republic of Argyre, an artificial island anchored to an oceanic ridge in the pacific, is a city-state established by Alters for the sake of harboring their kind and establishing a relationship with the mainstream human population. Despite being an artificial island and attached to no primary landmass, the city’s structure is capable of potentially supporting all 12 to 15 million active Alters on the planet.
How did a race of people who’ve lived in hiding for centuries manage to construct such a city? Why would they build their city in the middle of the ocean? Where did they get the resources for such a task? In the Alterpedia Historia, we will answer these questions and discover the history of the Alters. Today we address…