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Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation Paperback – 5 Dec 2012

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Review

"Building Imaginary Worlds is a stunning work of scholarship, encyclopedic in its scope, well-informed in its theory, and totally infectious in its enthusiasm for its topic. It will go down as the Bible of imaginary worlds." –Marie-Laure Ryan, author of Avatars of Story

 

"Wolf shifts our focus from particular stories and media to the fantastical contexts we have created. Imaginary worlds express our deepest hopes, but we don't merely imagine these places. We try to live there, and in this choice lies tremendous social disruption." –Edward Castronova, author of Synthetic Worlds

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Mark J.P. Wolf is Professor of Communication at Concordia University Wisconsin. He is the author of Myst and Riven: The World of the D’ni, editor of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Video Games, and co-editor with Bernard Perron of The Video Game Theory Reader 1 and 2, among other books.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 2 Nov. 2015
By Grass_Tiger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic work on imaginary worlds. It may seem a bit detailed for authors, in contrast to scholars, but as a writer, I would say that if you really want to create great fantasy worlds, this is a great resource! One of the best things I got from it was how it showed that the best selling books typically had a well developed world and not necessarily the best stories. If we could create more stories that had well developed worlds and great stories, then we would provide more of what people are searching for. This goes into what kinds of worlds have been created fantasy, sci-fi, utopias, distopias, etc. and the components of those worlds such as language languages, cultures, maps, timelines, etc. It covers trans-media studies, porting story from one medium, such as book, to another, such as movie. It goes over a history of imaginary worlds and levels of authorship--including fan fiction and multiple authorship, though not in that order. So, yes, it is a bit involved, so if you love imaginary worlds in their various forms and/or someone who loves to create them and wants to create ones with more life, this is a book I highly recommend.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book of its kind 1 Oct. 2016
By Maker of Images - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm using it as a text in a Grad Seminar I'm teaching. It's the best book of its kind! Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 24 July 2016
By Amanda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Solid compendium on an under-explored subject. New classic text for world-building. Just wish it weren't so expensive.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 28 Sept. 2015
By misterZ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very informative. Chapters could have been divided a little more, but overall it's well written and very educational.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally: The theories of world-building in one book 6 Jan. 2014
By Dave - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Mark J.P. Wolf does exactly what he advertises in the title. He provides a thorough and comprehensive theory and history of subcreation.
This is the benchmark for those who want to work with world-building theory in litarary studies or similar fields. From Tolkien's theory of subcreation or Nelson Goodman's philosophical approaches to the contemporary paths of medial studies; it's all gathered and explained. Along with James DiGiovanna's essay on “Worldmaking as Art Form”, Mark J.P. Wolf justifies the incorporation of many works of fantasy and science fiction into serious philology by providing the theory and history of subcreation. Maybe one day, authors like Tolkien will belong to the classical canon of english literature, mentioned alongside Shakespeare or Chaucer, and if this ever happens it is the result of the work by people like Wolf and his forerunners!
However, if you are looking for a "how-to write a science fiction novel" kind of book, this is not what you are looking for, although IMO, any author of fantasy/science-fiction would benefit from this knowledge.
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