Jonathon Dean

Writer. Human. Nerd.

Category: Stories Behind Stories (page 2 of 3)


With the UK government thrashing around a hugely unpopular forced privatisation of the country’s entire school system, removing oversight and accountability from parents and local government in favour of opaque academy chains, it’s a good time to look at education. Continue reading

Electing the Elected

Over in the US, the presidential primaries are still making news as millions of ordinary citizens vote on who may become their party’s next presidential candidate. Meanwhile in the UK, the fallout of Prime Minister David Cameron’s involvement in the Panama Papers tax scandal as well as the upcoming EU referendum is prompting some commentators to suggest that he may soon be forced to resign. Should he do so, it will be his party, not the public, who will decide on his replacement.

This highlights two different ways of electing a leader; directly and indirectly – and knowing how a leader is elected can add a new level of political intrigue to your fictional setting. Does your leader need to convince the people, or just his party? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

Trials and Justice

With the United States tying itself into knots following the death of Justice Scalia and the question of whether or not there is a convention against President Barack Obama nominating a replacement to the Supreme Court, we can see how important matters of justice are to real-world civilisations. The same is true of your fictional society; what happens when one of your citizens is arrested for a crime she did not commit?

Let’s take a look at justice and judiciary processes. Continue reading


In a week where controversy and argument continue to be raised regarding the UK’s Hinkley Point nuclear power stations, and the world continues to debate the damaging effects of “fracking” for gas deposits, we can see how important concerns of energy provision are in the real world. The forms and methods of energy generation in your fictional world  can also play a large part in how that society works, and access to energy can make big difference to the politics of your fictional nation.

Continue reading

Prejudice and Discrimination

With Donald Trump continuing to make statements which many consider offensive to various groups, leading him to be branded a bigot by many, the concept of bigotry, racism and oppression is high in the news agenda and an interesting thing for us to examine here. Is everyone in your invented world treated equally, or are some groups more equal than others? Continue reading


With Oscar season once again utterly unavoidable, it’s time to talk about entertainment and the entertainment industry.

All civilisations have their own form of entertainment, whether that be television and movies, to Star Trek‘s holodecks in more technologically advanced societies, to simple campfire stories, mummer’s plays, and that moon in Firefly where they juggle geese. What kinds of entertainment you build into your world is very telling about how that culture works, and is well worth us examining it here. Continue reading

Health and Healthcare

In the last few months, the battle between Jeremy Hunt and the entire medical profession regarding the unworkable contracts he is set to impose unilaterally on NHS junior doctors has continued to rage. Many see the contract as a deliberate plan to cripple the NHS, funnelling ever more services towards the private healthcare providers which the Health Secretary has links to. Meanwhile, across the pond, Senator Bernie Sanders is pushing his single-payer health plan as a replacement for Obamacare, and a major plank in his presidential bid.

With that in mind, it seems a good time to talk about medical care. Continue reading

Money Money Money

With a lot in the news about Greece’s financial problems and whether or not it will be forced to leave the Eurozone and return to the drachma, it seems a good time to talk about money.

Specifically, what kinds of currency does your fictional setting use? Continue reading

A Case of Corruption

While the continuing coverage of the world football (soccer) authority, FIFA, facing allegations of systemic corruption, the resignation of 17-year president Sepp Blatter and the postponement of the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup hardly counts as news (since it seems to have been going on since the dawn of time), corruption in general is an interesting concept for us to turn to when building our fictional world. Continue reading

Unions and Allies II – Outsiders and Foreign Countries

Continuing from the previous article in which we looked at different regions of a single polity, and what relationships and history they might share, we now turn our attention to our fictional place’s relationships with those outside its own borders. Continue reading

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