Posted by: kshayes513 | March 30, 2009

What Are Your Favorite Worldbuilding Resources?

Where do you look first for the answer to a worldbuilding question?

Do you know a cool site about the physics of space travel, or medieval weapons, or how almost any kind of technology works? Do you have a favorite book about comparative economics or the sociology of religion?

I want to build a library of links and other sources that will be helpful to worldbuilders of all kinds. Of course you’ll probably have a number of favorites, depending on the kind of world you’re building and the specific question you’re asking this time. Give me one or a dozen, and I’ll put up the most helpful and fascinating ones that come in.

And if you have friends that can recommend resources in their own areas of expertise, send them along too.They don’t even have to be worldbuilders, just people who know the best sources for information on their subject.

If we get enough recommendations, I can add a whole page just for worldbuilding resources.

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Responses

  1. Well, the closest I’ve come to worldbuilding is my novel _I, Persephone_ (never published; too much work to try and get a publisher interested!). I found Robert Graves’ two volume set on Greek myths very helpful *because* it’s not considered “official canon” by scholars of Greek myths. I wanted to see the stories around the edges, the ways people had interpreted and re-interpreted textual and non-textual sources. There were enough bits and pieces there for me to toss into my own retelling to strengthen the overall work without taking it over (sort of like adding the liquid from soaking dried shitakes to a basic chicken stock: it gives wonderful depth without taking over the production!).

    Otherwise, the librarian part of me comes to the fore and says, it SO depends on what you’re looking for! But for “presearch”, Wikipedia is actually pretty useful, particularly if you don’t know much about what you’re looking up. You can tell if an article has been carefully crafted or is “in need of references” and proceed accordingly. The links at the end of the articles are usually pretty useful, too.

    Try looking at the books or Web sites of favorite worldbuilding authors and see if they’ve put up any bibliographies, too! Diana Gabaldon’s _The Outlandish Companion_ (print, not on the Web) has a terrific bibliography section.


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