Some fantasy works (e.g., the Shannara series) are clearly set in the far future of a world essentially indistinguishable from ours. There are a few hints that the Craft Sequence is one of these: in Three Parts Dead there's passing mention of the ancient world having used "black oil" (or something to that effect) rather than gods or craft to achieve its marvels, and in Two Serpents Rise the protagonist quotes from Casablanca.

However, that doesn't seem consistent with other features of the world, for example the gods and spirits native to Seven Leaf Lake. Were they supposed to be created somehow after technological civilization fell? Or perhaps they were always around and we just don't know it - but if so, why don't we find that irrigation projects and the like are always being mysteriously sabotaged, as RKC feared the lake spirits would do?

Or perhaps the world of the Craft Sequence was just never all that similar to ours, apart from a few details like Casablanca and the use of oil?

Is the Craft Sequence set in a world that was once much like ours, or not?

[Word of God preferred, but I'll also accept any reasonable argument based on the text. Please note that I'm only halfway through Two Serpents Rise so please try to avoid spoilers, or at least hide them and I'll check them out after I've finished the book(s) in question. Thanks.]

  • As far as I can tell from a 30 second google and a quick glance at his Reddit AMAs (disclaimer, I know nothing about this series) the setting is a post-apocalyptic alternate Earth. On his website, the author describes the setting as "a postindustrial (and post-war) fantasyland, where black magic is big business, wizards wear pinstriped suits and conduct necromantic procedures on dead gods, and day-to-day commerce rests on people trading pieces of their souls for goods and services."
    – Valorum
    May 15, 2016 at 0:22
  • @Richard: the setting is some decades after a world-devastating war, but it is obvious that magic had replaced technology a long time (perhaps thousands of years?) before that. It isn't clear whether the technological era ended in an apocalypse or whether modern technology just gradually became obsolete, so the setting might or might not be post-apocalyptic in the usual sense. The main part of my question could perhaps be rephrased as something like "during the technological era of the world of the Craft Sequence, were there perceptible supernatural influences?" May 15, 2016 at 21:46
  • I'll happily admit to never having read the books but it seems pretty clear to me that they're based in an alternate world where magic is a thing. There are apparently similarities, but it's not our world.
    – Valorum
    May 15, 2016 at 21:47
  • @Richard: sorry, I'm still not sure I understand what you're saying. To clarify: some stories, like the Shannara novels or the Dresden Files, are based on the premise that magic is a thing in our world and we just don't know it, and I'm asking whether the Craft Sequence is one of these. Do you mean that it seems obvious that the Craft Sequence is not one of these, or do you disagree with my assertion that Shannara and Dresden are both set in our world? May 15, 2016 at 22:16
  • It's certainly an earth-like world and their history seems to mirror ours in some respects. You'd have to ask the author if there's any in-universe connection though.
    – Valorum
    May 15, 2016 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


The phrase from Three Parts Dead is "Alt Coulumb's generators derived that heat not from felled trees or the black magic oils of the ancient dead, but from the grace of a god...."

Gladstone's not saying that the black oils were used by the ancient dead, but that they're made of the ancient dead - dinosaurs and other prehistoric biomass. It's a clever way of saying that Alt Coulomb isn't heated by burning wood or oil (or coal).

I'm pretty sure that the Craft Sequence takes place in a parallel world, not a future version of ours. In the first chapter of Three Parts Dead, when Tara Abernathy wakes up near the Crack in the World, she sees visions "other worlds where the God Wars never happened, where iron ruled and men flew without magic." That's our world, the world of steel girders and airplanes.

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