Prologues are often used to create a scene ahead of the main story, or to impart information that the author sees as relevant to the story. I’ve not used prologues in any stories so far, but that just means I haven’t set up a story that needed one. I personally like prologues. The information gets me ready for the story and gives me an insight I didn’t have prior to reading. Here’s an example of a Prologue. It is from the upcoming novel, “No Fury”, by R. Goodrum and L. Thorndyke.
The Solar Road of Spinset is a marvel of engineering unparalleled in history. This artificial structure links the polar regions of all three worlds (Lambent, Recondite, and Shadow) to an artificial structure which is always one standard hour away from each planet. This transportation system stretches and shrinks as the planets move. The central hub is always precisely in the center of the position of the worlds. Objects which are outside the road have no effect upon the road.
Meteoroids, asteroids, and comets have all made their way through the path of the road without affect. Even slow moving artificial objects pass through. Nothing outside the road has any ability to change what happens inside the road. This is even true of the sun. At times, the hub or spokes of the Solar Road pass through the sun: nothing happens to what is inside or outside the spokes and hub.
The three worlds travel about the sun at different intervals. Lambent is the innermost of the three having 304 cycles of light and dark, day, with a leap day every tenth orbit about the sun, year. Recondite has a longer orbit: 459 days with a leap day every 6 years. Shadow has the longest year at 560 days with two leap days every five years. The Solar Tribunal has established the tribunal year as 453 days with two leap days every ninth year. Even though each planet rotates at a different rate, the Tribunal has established a 20 hour local day for each world. Each hour is further divided into 100 minutes which are divided into 100 seconds.
Travel to or from the central hub takes one hour regardless of the planet from which one starts or ends their trip. Hence “uninterrupted travel between two planets is always exactly two hours. Most citizens who travel between planets choose to use Tribunal Standard Time rather than local time for their timepieces.
The central hub, also known as Triune, was designed to house and support one million individuals. The birth and death rates of Triune are rather low: births are in the range of 10,000 per year while deaths are below 5,000. This has resulted in a mandate that all persons born in Triune most choose a planet on which to reside after the age of 18. This is a permanent commitment. Thereafter, these individuals are allowed to return to Triune only one week per decade unless they can obtain permanent Triune citizenship.
Permanent citizenship is so valued that powerful people from the three planets vie for it. They are willing to become janitors, wait staff, garbage collectors, street sweepers, etc., for the right of permanent Triune citizenship. The bodies of every individual who has every spent at least one year in Triune has regenerated to the point of modest age: seeming to be between 30 and 40 tribunal years of age. There is no sickness or illness, disease or deformity among any individual who has lived in Triune for at least a year. Individuals who have had artificial body parts implanted much undergo surgery within nine month of arrival to have them removed lest the regeneration process force them out violently.
The Tribunal Ancients, also known as the Triumvirate, are the system authority. They are housed at the hub of the Solar Road. These leaders are chosen from the populace of each planet. Their appointment is permanent. The Ancients do not age even though they were once mortal like the rest of their kind. Now, immortal, they can only die through accident, murder or suicide. There has never been an ‘official’ suicide among the Ancients. Accidents which can kill an Ancient are very rare. In the history of Spinset, only two Ancients have died of accidental causes. Murder, on the other hand, has been far more common. Typically, one Ancient is assassinated each century.
On the occasion that a vacancy occurs, any individual may present themselves to one of the temporarily erected testing facilities which are under the direction of the lower officers of the Tribunal. The testing may result in one of three conditions being set: reject, tentative acceptance, or immediate acceptance. Immediate acceptance has only occurred once in history when it was granted to the ten year old, Jason Ardan Milson. Naturally, most individuals who present themselves, over 99.99999%, are rejected by the testing system. The remainder receive tentative acceptance. With time, those who were tentatively accepted are either rejected because a more acceptable candidate was identified or acknowledged as the best candidate. The longest time to confirm a replacement has been one hundred eighty days.
The transit time between worlds is linked to the number of living Ancients. As stated earlier, with all three of the Ancients imbued with the power of their office, the transit time is one hour to the hub and another hour to the destination. At times when one of the posts was vacant, the travel time grew about a minute per day during the vacancy. The longest vacancy resulted in four hours transit time between planets.
-from the Codex Trimvir – Passage 7836.
As you see, this spells out the location, some details of its unusual setting, and some background on what the story may focus on. It primes you for the story, which is the purpose of a prologue.