Oct 9, 2012: In the beginning, there was a magical world, populated by the fae who did not understand the nature of its magic. So they used it all up, and then started fading away themselves. In desperation, they fled from their old home and created new worlds to gather magic and keep it available for their use. They also made new species of animals and races of people to live on those worlds. This worked better in some places than in others.
The end result was an intricate web of worlds, with magic flowing through the lines between them—pathways that some people could travel, one way or another. The "world walkers" are the sanctioned travelers, given careful training and connected to their destination worlds by magical tattoos. The most adept of them can reach all of the worlds that the fae created. The "demons" are the unsanctioned travelers, born with a talent rather than learning it. They can reach some worlds that were not built but naturally spawned from the worlds that the fae created—and which are out of reach to anyone else. These two groups of travelers often come into conflict.
Like a web, this series has many different plot threads that cross over each other. You can read the stories chronologically (as they’re listed on the main site), or focus on smaller story arcs featuring a given world or character. "Athare—Mab’s Story" introduces the dilemma that the fae faced in trying to ensure the availability of magic. Taithmarin is one of the worlds that tends to draw in people from other worlds. So for instance, "Taithmarin: Astrid: Arriving in Little Hill" tells how Astrid unknowingly walked through a doorway into a much safer place than her birthworld, where her people the Nox Gadael (who are magical doglike creatures) had been hunted. "Taithmarin: Zoe’s Story" follows a human who also arrived accidentally, then had to deal with starting a whole new life. For a character thread, Lucille first appears in "Athare: Introducing Lucille" when a letter arrived about her exam scores for world walking. Then she returns in "Quiar: Lucille: Hot to Moderate," studying its peculiar seasons to write a report, which will help gauge her compatibility with that world.
Some of the stories stand alone well. Most belong to story arcs, where short installments (usually around 500-1000 words) string together and lay out a longer connected tale. This comes from the project’s underlying structure, which allows readers to request or sponsor continuation of stories through various methods. If you want to see more of a specific character, place, magical effect, etc. then you can ask for it and usually get it. There is a reader reward series for folks who like a high level of interaction. So if you do things like commenting or spotting typos, then you can gain credits that let you get extra fiction or create new characters and other exciting options.
In addition to the fiction, World Walkers also offers bonus material describing the individual worlds, important races of people and animals, insights about how the magic works and other behind-the-scenes details, and so forth. If you enjoy worldbuilding, you’ll probably love this. Because these worlds were created entirely from magic, their structure can be very different from ordinary planets, with oddities such as magical volcanoes.
The overall tone of the series carries through fiction and nonfiction alike. It often features a sense of wonder, the possibility of traveling to unknown places and meeting new people. If you’re the kind of person who peeks into wardrobes, you’ll probably enjoy that. The series also touches on power and responsibility, sudden interruptions of life path, the good and bad choices people can make, and how everything is connected.
Series updates are posted on LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, and the author’s personal website so you have multiple choices of venue. The main site also has three buttons—"Favourite," "Like," and "Write More"—that let you summarize your feelings about each installment. All three venues have a comment feature for more detailed feedback. This series is significantly fueled by audience attention, so the more feedback you give, the more goodies you tend to get.
Fair disclosure: I’m a longstanding fan of this series, and I used the audience interaction options to create the world of Quiar. I’ve fueled a lot of the fiction, but I don’t get paid for being connected with this project.
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