‘Creative counterfactuality’ is the creation (or ‘construction’) of fictional (imaginary, counterfactual) variants of parts or aspects of the world as we know it, and includes geofiction, constructed worlds and languages, and alternate/counterfactual history. The aim and purpose of Geopoeia (this website) is the exchange of information about creative counterfactuality.
Although creative counterfactuality can take many forms and can have many purposes, within Geopoeia the term explicitly refers to forms of geographical, social, cultural, historical, and linguistic counterfactuality with no other primary purpose than the joy of creation; such as:
- geofiction: the creation of fictional geographical entities (countries, cities, planets, etc.);
- constructed worlds or ‘conworlds’;
- counterfactual or alternate histories; ‘what-if?’ histories; ‘uchronia’;
- constructed languages or ‘conlangs’.
The first two, ‘geofiction’ and ‘world-construction’ overlap, but neither is a subset of the other. Geofiction is generally defined as having no other primary purpose than the joy of creation, while many constructed worlds are created for game purposes or as the setting of a novel. The latter, having another primary purpose than the joy of creation, are not included in the ‘creative counterfactuality’ that this website intends to cover. The same is the case with counterfactual creations that are or are intended to become more than counterfactual, i.e. that are realized or intended to be realized. Examples include artificial languages that are intended to be used such as Esperanto, and Utopias that are intended to be realized (and thus, are political more than literary or descriptive). Many Micronations are excluded for the same reason, but even non-serious micronations are role-playing games more than ‘creative counterfactuality’.
Creative Counterfactuality can be regarded an art form. That does, of course, not imply that all creative counterfactuality is art. Not all drawing is art; not all painting is art; only drawing and painting that qualifies according to certain (rather controversial) standards is art. The same is the case with creative counterfactuality: some of it is art, some of it is not. (Whether a certain example of creative counterfactuality is art does not matter for Geopoeia, however. It is the art form that matters here, not just the cases that actually qualify as art.) (See also: Aesthetics of Counterfactuality.)