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Best World Building


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Initial post: Oct 20, 2012 10:23:14 PM PDT
Gingersnap says:
What author and which of his or her books would you recommend for their world-building? The ability to world-build in an imaginative, consistent, exciting manner is very important to me in choosing a book - and I would like to find some new books to read. Thank you.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 7:41:26 AM PDT
An obvious choice is Tolkien. Middle-Earth is a pretty good example of world-building. The Lord of the Rings
The Silmarillion

Edgar Rice Burroughs is, if anything, an even better world-builder. Pellucidar is the ultimate "lost world," and is even big enough to support umpteen jillion herds of dinosaurs and the like. Barsoom (from which I take half my name) is an alien world with various cultures, wildlife, and terrain (no "desert planet of X," "swamp planet of Y," and "forest planet of Z;" Barsoom is a PLANET). Amtor, Burroughs' version of Venus, also has forests of mile-high trees, oceans, swamps, and so on.
Pirates of Venus

Edmund Cooper created a World War Two London which is obviously NOT WWII London. The book is The Overman Culture.

Jack Vance created a far future Tales of the Dying Earth series, which I have not yet read. I hear good things about it. I did read Vance's Planet of Adventure (Tschai) series, and it's a good one.

I know there are others, but they escape me for now. Really, only The Overman Culture and Tschai are anywhere near hard SF, fantasy being where a lot of world-building gets done, but Barsoom, Pellucidar, Amtor, and Dying Earth are at least somewhat SF.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 8:34:40 AM PDT
Chance says:
For Science Fiction, I would say pretty much anything by Peter F. Hamilton is a great for world building. Jack McDevitt (The Academy series and Alex Benedict series) is also good. I've recently started the Wess'Har Wars series by Karen Traviss, and she's created a very interesting world.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 2:58:57 PM PDT
Tom Rogers says:
Can you provide us with examples of the sort of world building you find impressive or way cool?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 3:58:24 PM PDT
Gingersnap says:
Tom - Good question - I am impressed when the author creates a world with not only alien beings but a complete alien culture, government, interpersonal relationships, ways of thinking, way of relating - a complex world where all the parts fit together in an imaginative and logical way. I suppose The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the best example. Some books or series I enjoyed that I thought created worlds will: "Grass" by Sherri Tepper; The City of Pearl series by Karen Traviss; the Mad Ship Trilogy and related books by Robin Hobb; and Mary Doria Russell's "The Sparrow" and "Children of God."

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 8:08:01 PM PDT
Captain says:
I second that, Chance. Peter Hamilton is the best. Iain M. Banks is very good as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 9:00:06 PM PDT
Tom Rogers says:
Larry Niven does the kindo thing you're looking for rather well, but you might have to read a few books/collections to get a feel for his universe.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 10:55:10 PM PDT
Gingersnap says:
Thank you all for your good suggestions!

Posted on Oct 22, 2012 10:50:34 AM PDT
Gingersnap,

I agree with Tom that Niven does a really good job.

On of my favorites is The Mote in God's Eye by Niven & Pournelle -- I think you'll find the Motie culture and planet totally different from anything else you've read.

Posted on Oct 22, 2012 11:39:55 AM PDT
I haven't read a lot of Niven, but I really should've included him in my list for Ringworld if nothing else. Come to think of it, he was also involved in The Land of the Lost. The 70s TV show, not the dumbass movie.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012 10:23:13 AM PDT
Bujold's Vorkosigan books take place in a very well done, fully realized future. Multiple cultures of humans, all with distinct, and consistent characteristics. She's just a great author.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012 10:02:09 AM PDT
L. S. Jansen says:
Alan Dean Foster's Amalgamation books are quite good - Pip and Flinx Adventures and Nor Crystal Tears is a first contact story told from the Thranx point of view. The universe is quite well developed and the aliens are all interesting.

Frank Herbert's universes are all unique and interesting too.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 10:10:53 AM PDT
Tom Rogers says:
Alan Dean Foster's world building is great--I think it might be best to start with The Tar-Aiym Krang for the Pip and Flinx adventures.

Bob's suggestion for Niven's and Pournelle's "The Mote In God's Eye" is probably the best place to start with Niven.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012 12:41:38 PM PDT
Vernor Vinge; A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought) and A Deepness in the Sky

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 4:08:14 PM PST
Brent Butler says:
"The Integral Trees" series and Ringworld are also top notch in this regard.

I'm glad that ERB was mentioned early. He was an early "world builder" and was fantastic at it ... all of his series including Tarzan have this.

Asimov does a stunning job with an alien culture in "The Gods Themselves".

Anne McCaffery's long dragonriders series is a prime example deserving recommendation.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 4:38:33 PM PST
Cyad says:
L.E Modesitt's Recluse series, Imager Portfolio series, and Corean series. He really plants the landscape in your mind. A stand a lone from him is Adiamante...I can just picture the landscape!
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  11
Total posts:  16
Initial post:  Oct 20, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 6, 2012

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