The Influence of Government
Some stories center around the politics of government. Dune comes to mind (as it has in previous examples). The political landscape is at the heart of Herbert’s stories. But, most characters in our fiction are not part of the ruling body. They are subjects of it. Even without the character’s direct involvement, the governments that control and lead the masses can profoundly impact the way a character views his world. A lowly thief feels the pinch of hardened constables. South-seas pirates seek the environs of an anarchist hideaway far from the prying eyes of the East India Trading Company. The protagonist wants for something more in life but is held back by his caste/station. The list goes on and on.
Government has two sides, those who support its current form and those who oppose it. Most citizens fall in-between these extremes to varying degrees. It’s up to us as we create our characters and our worlds to consider the political landscape and how this affects our characters motivations.
Each society within the story has a form of government, whether the ruling party or a secret cult. Someone must be in charge, and someone will oppose them. It’s the nature of the beast that government creates conflict – and a perfect opportunity to bring that conflict into your story. Most governments, and those who control or benefit from them, oppose change. Many people who feel trod on by their government reject the ideals and fight back (subtly or openly).
Here I’ve given a list of governmental forms. When creating a society for your story, this may give you a starting point for the complexities that are possible. As an example, for my current WIP, I chose at random, since the main character would not be directly part of the government. I let fate decide the forms of government for each major society in my fantasy story. For one, I even randomly selected two (Matriartical and Magocracy) to create a country controlled by female mages. There are endless possibilities… this is just a starting point and a place to gather ideas.
This list is not all inclusive and the specific forms of government are not mutually exclusive. There are, of course, many subtleties and sub-sects of governmental forms. Often there is cross-over of power where more than one “pure” government is merged with another to create something entirely unique.
I highly encourage you to look further into any of these that interest you. The Internet is full of information! For now:
Click here to explore the list of government possibilities.