Non-fiction for world-building - Input Junkie
Non-fiction for world-building|What do Europeans call the platypus?
Handy hints about ways to use language differences for world-building.Blind Descent
-- searching for the deepest caves on earth. Caves are weirder than you might think. You can get electrocuted if lightning strikes a stream on the surface.The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine
-- more about cultural difference, not to mention historical change. I'd thought of Daoism as a thing, but of course, it has a history.
Any recommendations for non-fiction that's promising for world-building?
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|Date:||May 16th, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)|| |
Books I've read lately for that purpose include Beresford's The Ancient Sailing Season, Bowman and Wilson's Quantifying the Roman Economy, Harrison's The Bridges of Medieval England, and Ogunremi's Counting the Camels: The Economics of Transportation in Pre-Industrial Nigeria. All have lots of actual historical data, generally well organized.
Any lkind of history and science. For my own purposes I've been mostly reading Central European history and a broad selection of natural history books (including especially Encyklopedie Naší Přírody by Miloš Anděra, which I can't read in the real sense of the word but I can look up words one by one and study thed illustrations and come away with a vision of Central European wooded wetlands, which is what I need). I just read Prague in Black and Gold by Peter Demetz, which I recommend in general even if you're not interested in Europe at all because it has such an interesting view of the way history works and how polyglot communities form and fall.
I also think it's worth reading about the history of specific industries. I was online just trying to find a glimpse of industrial buildings of a certain decade and blundered into the history of glassworks and suddenly there was a tremendous amount of material that was germane to every aspect of my project.
Of course a person can do too much research, but again, I wanted to know one thing about saltpeter production and distribution in the late nineteenth century and when I stumbled into that I learned so much about geography, alnd use, politics, social organization, classes, and everything, I was grateful for the extra three or four hours I spent reading it.
I guess what I'm saying is that I've found most helpful the material that comes in sideways to the questions I'm asking, which I guess leads to the conclusion that one can benefit a lot from asking questions and then looking for the answers.
Indeed, my first recommendation to aspiring writers is to read a lot of primary sources even in eras they're not interested in, just to get a feel for times and places that are really different.
|Date:||May 17th, 2014 12:57 pm (UTC)|| |
Unfortunately my reading knowledge of Classical Greek isn't really up to fluent reading of, say, Aristotle or Xenophon.
Yeah, I've had to read all mine in translation -- but it still helps.
|Date:||May 18th, 2014 04:30 am (UTC)|| |
I don't tend to class those as "primary sources." Which is not to rule out their being useful.