Category Archives: Allochthonia


It might be useful, considering how much I discuss worldbuilding on this blog, to define exactly what I mean by the term. Why am I banging on about it? Why do I think it’s important, particularly for science fiction and … Continue reading

Posted in Allochthonia, De Nieuwe Batavia, Worldbuilding | 18 Comments

Typography and Languages Redux

The city of Amsterdam’s current publicity campaign is “I Amsterdam”, printed in black and red. There is a certain irony in using a pun-derived slogan in English to advertise a Dutch city. There is even more irony in then translating … Continue reading

Posted in Allochthonia | 11 Comments

Allochthonia: Typography

In the same way that a variety of languages gives texture to a world, so too does a variety of ways of writing within a single language. Typography, at least in the West, varies slowly over time. And this long … Continue reading

Posted in Allochthonia | 40 Comments

Allochthonia: Taboos

How do you talk about what you can’t talk about? How do you explain, or even refer to, something you’re not supposed to know? How do you ask someone else not to discuss such a thing? What do you do … Continue reading

Posted in Allochthonia | 47 Comments

Allochthonia: Languages

Lennier: And in my eleventy-fifth year in the temple, I began to study the 97 dialects and subtongues of our homeworld. And I discovered something truly amazing. Londo: Yes? Lennier: Yes. The same word, n!kai, appears in every Minbari dialect … Continue reading

Posted in Allochthonia | 51 Comments

Allochthonia: Numen, Faith, Religion, and Lack Thereof

One of the persistent topics of discussion in the Babylon 5 threads has been annoyance about the depiction of religion in the alien societies of the series. The consensus is that Bab 5 isn’t unique: religion and faith are frequently … Continue reading

Posted in Allochthonia | 148 Comments


Being an expat (as I have been for most of my adult life) is a profound and repeated experience of otherness. It’s a constant rediscovery that people can do things, and structure their societies, in entirely unexpected ways. And they … Continue reading

Posted in Allochthonia, Worldbuilding | 25 Comments