Ruins Q&A with Dan Wells discussion

88 views
Inspirations behind the Partials Sequence

Comments Showing 1-20 of 20 (20 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Dan (new)

Dan Wells | 42 comments Mod
We've had enough questions about this that I decided to break it off into its own thread. First, a reprint of my first answer from the Hi! thread:

I'm inspired by a lot of things--books, movies, science, friends, the entire world around me. The inspiration for the Partials series came from three key places:
1) I wanted to tell a story about the end of the world, and specifically a plague. I loved the images that come from a plague--all the people are gone, but all of our stuff is still there, just abandoned and forgotten. Telling the story about the tiny group of survivors trying to live in the ruins of our civilization was just very exciting to me for some reason.
2) I love Battlestar Galactica, and wanted to play around with the concept of the Cylons: people who look like humans, but are fundamentally different and alien. This is a curse all writers have: we can't watch or read somebody else's story without thinking of all the ways we would have done it differently. My Partials, in the end, turned out completely different from Cylons (plus my villains actually had a plan...), but that's where the idea started.
3) I love Hermione Granger, and it always bugged me that she answered all the riddles and solved all the problems and then Harry got all the credit. So I wrote a story about a super smart, super capable girl who got to be the hero of her own story :)


message 2: by Dan (new)

Dan Wells | 42 comments Mod
Karen asked a more specific question about how I designed the world of the series. This really comes down to two things: the Break, and the Partials themselves.

As mentioned above, I really wanted to tell a story about people living in the ruins of our civilization. Post apocalyptic stories have always fascinated me, from movies like Mad Max to books like A Canticle for Leibowitz to games like Fallout and After the Bomb. Even our own history is full of apocalyptic scenarios and the desperate scavenging that followed. The Roman Empire conquered the British Isles and built giant stone buildings all over it, only to disappear a short while later, and the saxon tribes who moved in afterward lived in primitive thatch huts--they couldn't even comprehend how anyone could build entire houses out of stone, usually complete with running heated water. It was like magic. You can see hints of this in Partials, with things like the medical equipment in the hospital: Kira knows the principles of medical science like a pro, but she has no idea how her equipment works or where it comes from or how to repair it if it breaks. She lives in the shadow of a far greater civilization, and while she wants to understand it she's usually far too preoccupied with the day-to-day survival. Just like the saxons moved into the empty shells of old Roman buildings, rethatching their roofs and making the best of what they had, Kira and her compatriots move into our ruins and repurpose them, living in our abandoned junk like hermit crabs making homes in tin cans.


message 3: by Dan (new)

Dan Wells | 42 comments Mod
The second part of the world-building are the Partials themselves. I wanted to play with some of the same ideas as the Cylons, like I mentioned above, but I wanted to do it my way, and that menat thinking very hard about where my artificial people came from, and why they were built, and how they would be different from humans. I made them soldiers, which helped define a lot of things about them: they came in specific "models," like soldier and general and pilot; they were age-fixed and sterile; they were optimized for combat, which meant they were faster and stronger and posessed a form of silent communication.

This was all kind of cool, but it didn't really click as a cool story or world-building until I took a step back and really thought about what these differences would mean. What kind of society would people create if they were fundamentally split into five or six specific models with specific specialties? How would their lack of aging change who they were and how they thought about life? More than anything, it was the link that came to define the Partials. It guided their social interactions with each other, and hampered all interactions with humans. It changed the way they thought and communicated and followed orders and even the way they dressed. And it literally came largely as an accident, because I took the time to look at the Partials and the handful of little differences between them and humans, and really try to extrapolate the full ramifications of how those differences would change them. My editor, Jordan Brown, was fundamental in helping to sort through this and help me make sense of it. In the end, the Partials were a wonderful blend of human and alien, and I'm very proud of them.


message 4: by Dan (new)

Dan Wells | 42 comments Mod
There's one other major world-building feature in Partials that I have never addressed directly, though the clues are all right there. A tiny handful of people have pointed it out to me, but I don't know if most of the readers have noticed. Have you? What's the big secret of Kira's world?


message 5: by Dan (new)

Dan Wells | 42 comments Mod
The secret world-building detail behind the Partials Sequence has been revealed! I did a guest post on Pippa Jay's blog (here: http://pippajay.blogspot.com/2014/02/...), where I talked about the fact that the first two books cover almost a year and a half of time, during which it never snows or really gets cold. The characters never mention this because it's totally normal to them, but that minor detail is about to get very important.

Only a handful of very alert readers have noticed the lack of winter and pointed it out to me. Did any of you see it and wonder about it? What do you think is going to happen?


message 6: by Sara (new)

Sara | 4 comments I didn't notice the lack of winter at all. But I figured that since the middle of the country was a toxic wasteland, something drastic must have happened to make it that way.

Now my curiosity is peaked. I need to re-read the first two to see if there are any more clues.


Karen’s Library I love how the partials were designed with the cylons in mind! And I've always been drawn to the "world after" in which your world building was genius!

I, too, will reread both books before starting Ruins! It'll be a completely different experience after seeing where your head was at while writing!


message 8: by Katt (new)

Katt | 2 comments I didn't think anything about the lack of change in weather because I assumed something had affected the climate. This is a dystopian world after all and after large apocalyptic events happen (whatever they may be) the environment is permanently altered. Can't wait to see how this becomes a crucial issue in Ruins.


message 9: by May (last edited Feb 22, 2014 01:24PM) (new)

May (mayanoah) | 11 comments Dan wrote: The secret world-building detail behind the Partials Sequence has been revealed! I did a guest post on Pippa Jay's blog (here: http://pippajay.blogspot.com/2014/02/...), where I talked about the fact that the first two books cover almost a year and a half of time, during which it never snows or really gets cold. The characters never mention this because it's totally normal to them, but that minor detail is about to get very important.

Only a handful of very alert readers have noticed the lack of winter and pointed it out to me. Did any of you see it and wonder about it? What do you think is going to happen?


Oh, wow, what an interesting blog post! What really happened to Kira's world? I can't wait to carefully read Ruins!


message 10: by Dan (last edited Mar 12, 2014 03:32AM) (new)

Dan Wells | 42 comments Mod
Way back when I started planning the series, I put together a detailed outline of everything that happened to turn our world into Kira's world--a full timeline from 2020 to 2076. As part of my blog tour leading up to the RUINS release, we're releasing that entire timeline in a piece-by-piece scavenger hunt:

Part 1: Magical Urban Fantasy Reads
http://www.magicalurbanfantasyreads.c...

Part 2: Fiktshun
http://www.fiktshun.com/fiktshun/2014...

Part 3: Step Into Fiction
http://www.stepintofiction.com/2014/0...

Part 4: Two Chicks on Books
http://www.twochicksonbooks.com/2014/...

Part 5: Fantasy Book Addict
http://www.fantasybookaddict.com

Part 6: Parajunkee
http://www.parajunkee.com/2014/03/10/...

Part 7: Tales of a Ravenous Reader
http://www.lushbudgetproduction.com/2...


More to come!


message 11: by Dan (new)

Dan Wells | 42 comments Mod
I should point out that this scavenger hunt has a giveaway at the end, including two Partials T-shirts and two signed trilogies :)


message 12: by May (new)

May (mayanoah) | 11 comments Yay!!! I'm totally excited about the scavenger hunt!!! The T-shirts sound so cool. :)


message 13: by Dan (new)

Dan Wells | 42 comments Mod
Regarding the blog tour, I can't connect to Fantasy Book Addict. Is anyone else having trouble with that, or is it just me?


message 14: by Teri (new)

Teri (fotoshark) | 9 comments Not available to Canadians :(


message 15: by Jen (new)

Jen (jenwesner) Holy cow I won! So excited!


message 16: by May (new)

May (mayanoah) | 11 comments Congratulations! :)


Karen’s Library Congrats, my friend!!! So happy for you! :D


message 18: by Jen (new)

Jen (jenwesner) Hey Dan - I've emailed Jaime @Rockstar a couple of times and she's emailed you - so I'm sorry to bug you. But I haven't received the books yet from the blog tour -

Any chance I'll see them in the near or distant future? I was hoping to give one of them away on my BookTube channel.


message 19: by Luis (new)

Luis G. (lgmcas) | 1 comments Will you write more short histories about partials? I love your books


back to top