Three Galactic Empires, too much?

Emissarius

Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
20
Hello,

Right now, my novel's galaxy has three major powers/ empires, each with its own planetary systems. One of them, where the MC lives, is not as keen as the other two empires on conquest and exploring new worlds. I'm thinking, would it be better if I turned that particular empire into a kingdom? It'll make things easier when mentioning the monarchs: we'd have one Emperor, one Empress, and one Queen, as opposed to two Empresses and one Emperor. At the same time, though, I'm looking at my galaxy's map and can't help but feel that three empires look a lot more sleek than two empires and a kingdom. By mere virtue of its title, the kingdom feels too obtrusive. Should I stick with three empires and hope the readers are always able to establish which of the two empresses I'm referring to? Can anyone recall a particular work that has more than two empires, and where all three or more monarchs have the same title and are almost equally important?
 

TheEndIsNigh

...Prepare Thyself
Supporter
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
3,196
Simple answer is No.

Think Game of thrones - Plenty of rival empires all perfectly understandable.

Even in on a planet such as Earth there have been multiple time periods where separate empires existed along side each other. sometimes without having any knowledg of each other.

As for Emperors, Queens and Kings these are purely grandiose attachments. For years the British empire had just a king or queen at it's head. I hope you're not going to attach these titles to their names every time they're referred to as that would just be painful in the extreme. Once the reader has it that Sludgebucket is the Emperor of the left circular arm of the galaxy as opposed to King Blagdunk who rules the central cluster then that's it, done established.

It could be argued three "regions" of influence isn't enough. What about the Switzerlands of the galaxy. Plus if these are even just hinted at you leave yourself the option for books 5,6 7 and 8

As for examples - Star Trek
 
Last edited:

Emissarius

Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
20
Simple answer is No.

Think Game of thrones - Plenty of rival empires all perfectly understandable.

Even in on a planet such as Earth there have been multiple time periods where separate empires existed along side each other. sometimes without having any knowledg of each other.

As for Emperors, Queens and Kings these are purely grandiose attachments. For years the British empire had just a king or queen at it's head. I hope you're not going to attach these titles to their names every time they're referred to as that would just be painful in the extreme. Once the reader has it that Sludgebucket is the Emperor of the left circular arm of the galaxy as opposed to King Blagdunk who rules the central cluster then that's it, done established.

It could be argued three "regions" of influence isn't enough. What about the Switzerlands of the galaxy. Plus if these are even just hinted at you leave yourself the option for books 5,6 7 and 8

As for examples - Star Trek

Apart from these three empires, I actually do have an "Outer Rim" and a "Free States" section, the latter is kind of like the United Federations in Star Trek, only they're not united. They're kingdoms and states that do not owe allegiance to any of the empires. And You're right, I'm guessing as long as I refer to each emperor or empress by their names (ex: Shadam IV), I needn't worry that readers would confuse the two empresses. I guess I was too caught with the Emperor theme like the Emperor of Mankind in Warhammer 40k or Palpatine. Regarding Star Trek, it's got the Romulen and the Klingon Empires, but rarely are the monarchs of either empire mentioned together. My story demands that the three monarchs are spoken of constantly due to trade agreements, treaties, and potential invasions.
 

TheEndIsNigh

...Prepare Thyself
Supporter
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
3,196
Plus Borg;

Then there's theones that Voyager's lot found out in the sticks.

Although your story might have three monarchs, it doen't follow these are the ones involved in day to day transactions. Think of all the side kicks in Shakespear's offerings that get into the nitty gritty while old king whatshisname is out chasing dear, boar and women. A trade alliance/committe could easily be substituted for a figure head. As with the EU when dealings with Trumpington's mayor.

Unless your thinking of throwing king's daughters/sons into the mix (Can't beat a bit of arranged marriage to stir up the pot :) ). In which case they too would have a role in the story too.
 

thaddeus6th

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Messages
6,831
Location
UK, Yorkshire
You can always go for alternative titles.

Thanes, Sebastocrators, a Basileus, Khan, Khagan, Prince-Bishop just from history. [The latter was from Montenegro before it got swallowed by Serbia after the First World War, having been abandoned by its allies. Interesting system as the heir was the prince-bishop's nephew].
 

Joshua Jones

When all is said and done, all's quiet and boring.
Joined
Apr 6, 2017
Messages
1,437
Location
Maryland
Well, I have 11 major factions in my SF WiP, so I hope 3 isn't too many!

For the titles, I honestly don't see much confusion arising from this. Many medieval fantasy stories have half a dozen or so "Sir so and so" characters, so having three people with similar titles, especially if their voices are distinct or their honorifics are different, shouldn't be an issue.
 

MikeAnderson

A.K.A. TRICKY DICK NIXON!
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
265
Location
Skarro. Or Cleveland. They both suck.
What kind of empires are you presenting. Theocracies? Military Juntas? Corporate hegemony?

I ask because depending on the style of governance could impact titles. I always wanted to break out "Vice President of Hostile Imperial Acquisitions."
 

DLCroix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
221
Hi! Personally, I think that you should thoroughly mature this concept, because there is an obvious danger that in the future, when you have a much more developed story, let's say with a couple of novels written, you will have problems of coherence in the plot.
These are all questions you should ask yourself before you start writing anything:
1. What makes an empire? How is an empire born?
2. Since in your galaxy you have "three main powers / empires, each with its own planetary systems", apart from the "Outer Rim" section and a "Free States" section, the latter being like the United Federations in Star Trek , only they are not united ", and that" They are kingdoms and states that owe allegiance to none of the empires ", as you say, especially because you story" demands that the three monarchs be talked about constantly due to trade agreements, treaties, and possible invasions ", the question is: what relationships do these empires and different worlds and states have with each other?
It gets tangled up, right? For this reason it is necessary that you think of each element as a whole separately. Because sometimes less is more, and the advantage of concentrating on fewer elements is that it allows you to describe sometimes a single world, only one, but with much greater richness than if you started talking about so many worlds as if they were just mushrooms .
Because that throws you other questions:
3. What are those worlds like? What is the historical context?
4. What is your level of technology, religion, culture and traditions?
5. What are the people and races of each of these worlds like?
6. What about the different languages spoken in those worlds?
Take the Foundation of Asimov, for example. The greatest influence that he had was the Roman Empire with its periods of boom and splendor but especially its fall.
I hope you are already realizing that this is much more complex than making your readers understand only the names of two of the empresses in this story.
I mean, in my opinion it's not about that "three empires look much more stylish than two empires and one kingdom", as you say, but how you develop each one.

Because we come to the issue of wars.
A war does break out for a lot of reasons. But each war it obeys a very specific but sometimes underhanded objective. There are wars of religion, wars for racial reasons or simple hatred between peoples (which are often only local conflicts), wars of conquest or expansion, wars of independence or revolutions, civil wars or coups, wars for territorial disputes or bordering. There are even wars to get some resource that the world or country or empire that starts that war needs. And then there are all the excuses where governments hide the real motive behind every war.

For now, my first recommendation is that you build a list of names. At least five pages. Names that will serve you to baptize characters, peoples, countries and kingdoms.
But I can see that you have a huge amount of work ahead of you, so good luck and patience. :giggle:
 

Emissarius

Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
20
What kind of empires are you presenting. Theocracies? Military Juntas? Corporate hegemony?

I ask because depending on the style of governance could impact titles. I always wanted to break out "Vice President of Hostile Imperial Acquisitions."

The MC's empire has a feudal system of Dukes, Counts, and Barons, and the sovereign must defer to them as a council (sort of like pre-Paul Atreides Dune, where the Duchies and Baronies were an important voice that the emperor could not ignore). The other two each have a dictator for a ruler that must be obeyed and has the freedom to execute anyone.
 

MikeAnderson

A.K.A. TRICKY DICK NIXON!
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
265
Location
Skarro. Or Cleveland. They both suck.
So, two straight up despotism's. Okay, makes things very easy for readers.

One thing about autocratic systems is often, they are NOT very efficient. Either the sole sovereign is either an all powerful type, like The Mule or Leto Atreides that can rule with absolute authority because they basically are a deity, or...

It's a clustermuck rife with corruption, failing infrastructure, and people constantly doing things behind the throne's back.

Maybe one of the absolutists regimes could be a hive mind collective. No titles; just drones and king/queen. Just a suggestion.
 

BT Jones

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
492
Location
Australia
I think whatever you do, it's got to be organic and plausible. I can't speak for books as I don't really read much but there's been a few movies I've seen where a faction's motives for being or space or even their very existence is flawed. It depends on how realistic you want your sci-fi to be. Do they have the natural resources to sustain a space programme? Is their quest / reason for supremacy worth the fuel / technology and immense risk of life of their people just being there? Yes, we can probably assume that the need to conquer / dominate is not exclusively human (see the animal kingdom), but I think having power-hungry military forces that just echo the Romans / Nazis / communist regimes, etc. risks being cliched unless the worlds, civilisations and characters are vivid and sympathetic.

I think they key thing in writing ANY character (good guy / bad guy / indifferent) is being able to stand in their shoes and fully justify what they are doing, even if its genocide. You need to be able to convince the reader that THEY believe completely in what they are doing and that their reasons for doing it have either a religious, scientific of plausible ideological motivation.

They've also got to have the industry and technologies capable of sustaining a major interstellar force. It's no good having a race of insects on a Mars-like planet making warp-capable ships if you can't explain - to a reasonable extent at least - how they make their ships, where they get their fuel from, and what part of the hive / insect mentality would support their decision to become a space-going race.

That's my tuppence worth anyway.

Good luck with it.

PS - Maybe reference some older civilisations or lesser known Earth nations for titles and hierarchical structures. King this, Price that, Lord X, Queen Y, etc. Maybe go for some alternative titles; Gracehand, Crownholder, Primemind, Red Regent (rank by colour), First one, etc.
 

tinkerdan

∞<Q-Satis
Joined
Dec 10, 2012
Messages
5,103
Location
x² + y² = r²:when x~∞
If they are not actively expanding; are they really an empire.
For that matter if an empire stops expanding are they still an empire.
And when they start declining when do they stop being an empire.
Is it when they die completely?

If I call my holding an empire--who is to say it's not?
 

Similar threads


Top