World Building in Adelphus: Building a Bar Scene and Grit of a Western World into a Space Faring Novel

Anyone seriously interested in science fiction remembers the bar scene in Star Wars. The desert pub filled with miscreants of all shapes and sizes captivated young and old alike. Even having been born over a decade after the initial release, I still remember the first time I gazed upon the fine establishment.

What was it that made the atmosphere so enthralling? Surely, Harrison Ford cannot just transform a scene. Perhaps it was the miscreants around the bar? Bizarre aliens melding with poor humans in a post-modern Western scene. Perhaps it was the music? The strangest band making a novel scene even more novel. Perhaps it was what we assumed? The bar was full of potential criminals in a small enclave probably not unlike Arizona in the days of the West. Perhaps every piece of the diorama made it a masterpiece of film.

A backwoods desert bar in the mining section of the Adelphus’ only human inhabited island is more like the old west compared to the capital resembling Bangui more than Tombstone, Arizona. This setting is not far from that of the backwater bar in the Star Wars saga. Here, though, the story melds a more realistic science fiction with the same true grit as any western. Adobe walls contain a group of weathered miners, farmers, cowboys, old timers, and rabble rousers. Mead and whiskey flow freely, dust plumes fill the air; blues or perhaps dark country pours from a back room. The bar itself is caked in the sticky syrup of bad memories and hard days.

What, though, makes a Western? Corrupt officials, freedom, rebellion, dust, crime and all manner of things beyond cows. Sorry, Corb Lund.

It is here that, not unlike the titulating story from the Nixon and Carter years, a key plot element takes place.

Aiming for that feeling of entering the bar in Star Wars feels like a bit much but maybe, with enough spit and elbow grease, I can come close.


World Building for Adelphus by John Pen (my pseudonym)

Adelphus, meaning brother or of the same womb in Greek, is an exciting tale exploring concepts from human behavior and the politics of discovery on a distant planet to revenge and romance. Explore a mystical new island settled by the offspring of voyagers from earth who have a much different view of colonization then their predecessors. After all, are we that different from our predecessors?

Follow me as I continue on a journey to self-publication.

The World

Welcome to the world. Adelphus is a luscious land with breathable air only slightly altered from our own atmosphere. Humans settled on the largest of many islands dotting the planet with an eye to expanding. Coastal beaches of sand and rock give way to farmland and rain forests with a desert interior not unlike the Australian outback mixed with the Sahara. The characters in this story explore every inch of the terrain. After all, what lurks beneath the waves of the surrounding sea?

At one end of the world is the garden city capital. On the other, a mining colony serves the industrious needs of the new civilization.


The animals of Adelphus range from sentient to downright feral, reptilian to tadpole like. They are anything but human in physique with unique traits and capabilities.


Humans traveled over a century to reach the planet, some perishing along the way. Humanity has not developed faster than light travel or fast space travel. Instead a multitude of pressures on the species led to a more scientifically plausible voyage with more people following over time and the promise of faster travel. The failure of faster than light or convenient travel to materialize is key to the plot.


A massive war erupted after human’s landed on Adelphus. Two factions remain from the many that fought. The original governing structure no longer persists. Instead, two factions led by the Eaton’s and monarchical Everwood clans struggle to maintain power with the Everwood’s in control.


At this point, the characters are developing into full fledged beings. Several chapters of development yielded only several members of this vast ecosystem.

Meet Dane

Dane is a mercenary who survived the civil war following settlement. He is a greedy, motivated, weathered soldier powering through Adelphus. His entire world falls apart within the first chapter. A man of average intellect, he must build from the ground up while avoiding the perils of

Jill the Scientist

Jill took advantage of the moment to open a new frontier beneath the sea. She is smart and ambitious. Her scientific prowess outweighs her political savvy. She and Dane open critical parts of the plot and are introduced in the first few chapters.

The Brute

The brute has no name at the moment. This may not change. He is critical to the plot and works for the Eaton’s. The brute is a loyal enforcer and bastard child of one of the Eaton patriarchy.

The Everwoods

The Everwood matriarchy controls nearly everything with the brutality of Queen Elizabeth but is in a guerilla battle with the Eaton’s. They maintain complete control over the capital but are fighting for the mining colony. Sexism is overrated.

The Eaton’s

The Eaton’s are fighting to retain ground given up from the civil war and take control of at least half of the island from a lair at the top of a dormant volcano.