Worldbuilding is one of the essential skills of a science fiction or fantasy writer. I’d go so far as to say it separates the greats in these genres from the mediocre. It is also the arena in which the writer is required to exercise their imagination to its fullest, or else leave the reader disappointed and unfulfilled. Building an interesting, credible, wholly consistent world, bursting with possibilities for the characters who live there, is the mark of a true master of the spec. fic. craft. Think only of Middle Earth, Arrakis, Tatooine, or Narnia and you are transported to those wonderful places and the potential they hold.
That is why I froze in fear when I was first invited by Steven Saus of Alliteration.Ink to contribute a chapter to a new non-fiction work all about worldbuilding and how to do it. There are few who are worthy. The book, Eighth Day Genesis: A Worldbuilding Codex for Writers and Creatives, edited by Sabrina Klein is out today in ebook formats (there’ll be a print edition available in a few weeks’ time) and, from my name right there on the contents list, you can see I got over my trepidation and made my contribution. I have to say, it was one of the hardest chapters I’ve ever written, not just because of the hubris of taking it on, but largely because of finding some way to fit what I wanted to say into one, small chapter.
Fortunately for me, there were many other invited contributors who were busily crafting the rest of the book at the same time. I just had to stick to one tiny aspect of the whole – building a government for an invented world. I will leave it to you guys to decide whether I did even this small fragment justice. I really hope I did, because I truly believe that worldbuilding is the cornerstone of great science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been reading other contributions to the collection all day and I am very impressed. Sabrina and Steven have put together an excellent writer’s resource and one I’ll be happy to have on my bookshelf.