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Thread: What are good books on world creation?

  1. #1

    Default What are good books on world creation?

    I ran a search and, unbelievably, found no threads on the topic. I looked at Planetary Constructor Kit but the some of the author's political views didn't sit well with me. As of now, he's not getting my money.

  2. #2
    Software Dev/Rep Guild Sponsor waldronate's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    The High Desert


    What aspects of worldbuilding appeal most to you? The physical geography, developing peoples and letting them spread, devising political games between clones of Europe, or the simple act of creation? Are you interested in making something that is instantly familiar to the traditional fantasy role-playing gamer crowd, the SF crowd, or something else? Do you want to make lots of worlds or go deep on just one world? There are a great many online discussions for the merits of top-down compared to bottom-up worldmaking.

  3. #3


    I want to detail one fantasy world. I've only made shoddy D&D worlds etc before. Geography doesn't need to be crafted down to individual watersheds, but I do want to do a good job getting civilizations from hunter-gathering to Middle Age, Victorian, or even Renaissance levels of politics and tech.
    Unless you think top-down is better and/or I'm being foolish.

  4. #4


    Heya! A quick search around amazon and other books store websites yielded a promising possibility: World-Building (Science Fiction Writing) (9781582971346): Stephen L. Gillett, Ben Bova: Books . It was one of the first that came up, so it's not a deep or exhaustive suggestion, but Ben Bova is an established author. It looks like it takes a more sci-fi approach, but there's nothing to say you cant apply the same principles to a fantasy setting. It does seem to be a little more technical than what you're looking for, however.

    My suggestion would to be to go to your local book store in looking into reference sections on writing; world history; and sociology. Flip through a humanities textbook, and you'll get a good idea on the general flow of civilization. If you want to get more specific I'd suggest: It was a good read, maybe a little dry. But it gives you a good perspective, and if I remember correctly it starts you out with a basic explanation of antiquity to go from there.

  5. #5
    Guild Adept
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    Jul 2011
    Rome, Italy - New York, USA


    If you can find it at a reasonable price, I suggest this one. Though I am sentimental and partial to it.

  6. #6


    I enjoyed A Magical Medieval Society: Ecology and Culture by Expeditious Retreat Press.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  7. #7
    Community Leader Guild Sponsor
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    Diamond's Avatar
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    Jul 2009


    One method I've found extremely useful in my own worldbuilding is to have one of those historical timeline books or charts handy. Like this one or this one. They help me kind of get a sense of how the general flow of history and scientific development should go assuming I'm creating a world that is at least loosely Earth-based.

  8. #8
    Guild Artisan Pixie's Avatar
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    Jan 2014


    Guns, Steel and Germs. That is THE book. It's in no way a "handbook" with rules of thumb, but it is a must-read for world creation.

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