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Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction: How To Create Out-Of-This-World Novels And Short Stories Paperback – 30 Sep 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 2 edition (30 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599631407
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599631400
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 382,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Orson Scott Card is the bestselling author of Ender's Game, sixty other books, assorted plays, comics, and essays and newspaper columns. His work has won multiple awards, including back-to-back wins of the Hugo and the Nebula Awards.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Recommended for those entering the world of writing fantasy.
It gives quite an insight into the right approach for successful writing
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my son in law to be who is a budding writer. He says it's great,so I am pleased he has found it useful.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brilliant book, highly recommended for any creative witter!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x98432960) out of 5 stars 14 reviews
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98843bc4) out of 5 stars Caveat emptor 12 Sept. 2013
By "Overdue North" - Published on
Format: Paperback
I hope prospective buyers will notice that this is a reprint of two old books, Orson Scott Card's "How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy", first published way back in 1990; and "The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference", first published in 2000. Sandwiched between them is an essay on steampunk and an essay on "The State of the Genre" (the latter written by a writer who has no real claim to be considered a serious writer or particularly successful within the genre in any case).
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98843c18) out of 5 stars Creating Speculative Fiction 15 Oct. 2013
By Bill Jordin - Published on
Format: Paperback
Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction (2013) is the latest edition of this work. It contains four parts, a bio of the authors, and an index.

Part 1: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card is a minor rewrite of the original edition. The primary difference is the elimination of the fifth section -- The Life and Business of Writing -- which is replaced by the next three parts.

Part 2: The State of the Genre by Philip Athans discusses the major aspects of Speculative Fiction in this century. It mentions Harry Potter and other works for young adults, media tie-ins, DIY publishing of eBooks, blogs, and the new literati.

Part 3: The World of Steampunk by Jay Lake covers the return of SF to the Victorian Era. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells were limited in their writing by the restricted understanding of the scientists of those days. With modern knowledge of history, sociology, psychology, and technology, much more becomes possible in retrospective.

Part 4: The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference is a reprint of a separate edition by various authors.

- Chapter 1: Traditional Fantasy Cultures by Michael J. Varhola covers elements of feudal society.

- Chapter 2: World Cultures by Michael J. Varhola describes historical societies outside Europe.

- Chapter 3: Magic by Allan Maurer & Renee Wright details various forms of magic throughout the world.

- Chapter 4: Witchcraft and Pagan Paths by Allan Maurer & Renee Wright presents witchery as a religion and a practice.

- Chapter 5: Commerce, Trade, and Law in Contemporary Fantasy by Sherrilyn Kenyon outlines the influence of merchants within Medieval society.

- Chapter 6: Fantasy Races by Andrew P. Miller & Daniel Clark explains the nonhuman folk in traditional and modern Fantasy.

- Chapter 7: Creatures of Myth and Legend by Andrew P. Miller & Daniel Clark lists the creatures of superstition.

- Chapter 8: Dress and Costume by Sherrilyn Kenyon discloses the apparel of Medieval times.

- Chapter 9: Arms, Armor, and Armies by Michael J. Varhola clarifies the military tools and groups of ancient and Medieval times.

- Chapter 10: Anatomy of a Castle by Michael J. Varhola defines the styles, components and besieging of a fortifications.

The Index is fairly extensive -- twenty-two pages -- but does not include the terms in the various glossaries.

The original version is out of print, but a reprint is available. If you are definitely interested in writing Speculative Fiction, however, buy this version. It is certainly a more thorough guide and is worth the slightly higher cost. Remember, you are getting two books plus additional pages at close to the same price.

Highly recommended for SF/Fantasy fans who want to become authors. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x988590f0) out of 5 stars invaluable resource 4 Nov. 2013
By Daniel Xiao Wang - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. It took two books that I consider essential reference guides and consolidated them; also providing me with some additional information on the industry. The only thing I was disappointed by is that i m this volume cut out the section Card wrote on living as a writer. Card's candid information should have been included.

Overall, this was a great purchase, and I will be getting copies for some of my writer friends for Christmas.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x988590d8) out of 5 stars Good for introduction but just that 8 May 2015
By Xirion11 - Published on
Format: Paperback
I don't really recommend this book for anyone trying to write F&SF.
Although this book is good as an introduction i would instead recommend "How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy" by Orson Scott Card, which is the book that forms the first part of this book, but there is a lot of information lacking. After the first part (the one taken from the other book i refer to) this book just becomes a little description of topics like Magic, Steampunk, etc, and a glossary of those topics.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x988595a0) out of 5 stars To Save Money or to do it Again only Cheaply? 14 May 2014
By Kaga Kagora - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first saw this book appear in the list of books well searching for "writing fantasy," I became excited. However, after reading some of the reviews I became slightly disappointed to find out the book was nothing more than the combination of two separate books:

1) One of which I used to own - Orson Scott Card's "How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy"
2) Second which I currently own - "The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference"

Both books are good in their own right and I would give Orson's book a 3/5 (it lacks much on Fantasy and seems to focus on Science Fiction) and Fantasy Reference 4/5. Dumbly cramped in the middle seem to be to essays:

1) The State of the Genre
2) The World of Steampunk

Which I recall seeing these in other books, but sadly cannot place a name to the book or books. So in short nothing is new or fresh. However, I am not blind to the fact that this could be targeted to people who do not own either book or maybe even only one of them and in this case I would give this book a 2/5 instead of a 1/5. Why you ask?

REPRINTED: The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference

The original print of this book contains about 50 images that are NOT in this version of the book. Yes the book may describe the anatomy of a castle and a horse's armor, but it lacks an image to go with as found in the original book. This alone makes this book pretty much worthless simply because some people also learn by having a visual aid and that "aid" was not put in this poorly reprinting of a very good book.

REPRINTED: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy

I don't have much to say in regards to this book as I no longer have my copy and I got rid of it because like most books that say "Science Fiction and Fantasy" they all seem to focus on Science Fiction with Fantasy getting a few chapters. However, if they "took" stuff out of the Fantasy Reference book I'm sure they did it here.

And this is why I give it a 1/5 stars. It is a DUMBED down reprinting of two good books and the only positive this book has is its awesome cover art.


1) Positive - Cool cover design.
2) Negative - Reprinted books and essays.
3) Negative - Missing information and or images from either original book.
4) Didn't try to bring new information to the table.
5) Publisher replies to negative reviews to make it sound "positive."

Overall Score: 1 out of 5

PHIL SEXTON: Publisher, Writer's Digest

I also took notice of Phil replying to "negative" reviews of this book and I have something to say to him should he read mine:

Phile said, "It's true that this is a collection of two very successful WD books. We consider Card's book, in particular, to be a classic, and it continues to sell particularly well on its own. Buying them in this bound up edition is actually less expensive than buying the two books separately, which we thought would be a good thing."

How can this be a good thing if you took stuff from the original books and call this a "good deal?" That is illogical in all sense because to be a good deal it should have all information and corresponding images from the original books. However, it doesn't so in truth people are better off buying the books individually to make sure they get the WHOLE book.

Phil said, "As for the assertion that the other contributors are somehow lacking, I respectfully disagree."

I think the Steampunk could also use visual aids. After all we live in a world where some people learn better by seeing it in action, in a drawing, in a photograph, etc. As for the "State of the Media" it doesn't do much to try and help writers correspond what is in this section to their own writing.

Phil said, "As to the book not having anything new, we actually made a point of commissioning two new chapters for the book, one from Jay Lake and another from Philip Athans. Those add an additional 46 pages of new material to the book. We also removed another chapter from the original text that we felt was out of date."

That's not the point. If you wanted to add NEW stuff add them to the original books in this new version. Instead you just slopped them in completely random like.

Phile said, "Thanks for pointing out that the copy needs to be explicit about the two books being combined. We've submitted a revision to Amazon and it should be corrected in a few days."

Should you not have been honest the first time so a "revision" of the listing was not needed?

Overall, Phil your trying to hard to make this book sound "good" I don't see other writers or publishers coming to defend their negative reviews? Just admit your faults, apologize to those who feel ripped off and do better next time. Don't make excuses for yourself or your products as it is very becoming of you.
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