Or, as I like to call it, "the Future that Our Parents Never Gave Us."
I was promised robots. And flying cars. Dammit.
Monkeys with fun.
Midkemia is a virtual world created by a bunch of UC San Diego grad school buddies 28 years ago. We did it for fun, as a pastime. This was around the time that Dungeons & Dragons was all the rage. But D & D was underdeveloped for our tastes; we decided to draw on our knowledge of medieval history and our love of fantasy to build a fully realized gameworld: Midkemia. We made up characters, countries, political alliances and disputes, a system of magic, a pantheon of gods -- a wonderful, magical place that didn't exist anywhere except in our heads. We brought it to life when we got together on a regular basis (every Thursday night for a while, then Friday nights), mastering games or playing characters. Game players understand this sort of world-building, but for a lot of people it may seem like a weird thing to do. And maybe it is -- but in my opinion it's no more weird than driving buckets of golfballs in the rain, collecting every pressing of every LP the Beatles ever made, or buying every stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Later, my friend Steve Abrams suggested that I tell the story of how Greater Path Magic (Don't know what that is? Read the books!) came to Midkemia; from that came my first novel Magician, published in 1982. In order not to conflict with the gameworld we'd created, I set Magician, the first of my Riftwar novels, 500 years before our game. I write the history to the Midkemia the Friday Nighters created.My friends who have been subjected to the fruits of my imagination in the form of my D&D setting, Ereth, have, if I may be so bold as to be completely honest, been used in much the same fashion. I originally set out with an idea for a setting for some fantasy stories, but I couldn't come up with any plot ideas. So, I started a D&D game. Since then, we've finished one campaign in the Ereth setting, and have just started another. I'm writing tons of backstory stuff, which is kind of different than writing a coherent work of fiction, I know, but eventually I want to get around to writing some stories actually set in this world. It might have to wait until the second campaign is over, though.