Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Reader as World Builder

Here's a fascinating article from that takes worldbuilding and turns it around, seeing sf/f readers as bringing a toolkit with them for the purposes of world construction as they read.

See what you think, here.

Maybe we can discuss it...


  1. *raises eyebrow* Fascinating.

    Thanks for pointing out that article. It really makes a lot of sense. I like the idea of thinking of myself of coming to a book with a certain kind of toolkit. It certainly explains why I struggle with certain kinds of books, and why I love SF so predominantly.

  2. Interesting article! Definitely something to keep in mind when I'm doing the the information release tight rope walk. :)

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  4. I somewhat agree with commentors on that it's less about a toolkit, and more about a frame of reference. It's not so much that SFF fans don't know their way around a metaphor as that they don't expect them to come up--to use a comparison between reading SFF and reading litfic. Perhaps "expectations" is the word here. This isn't an issue of world-building at all, but rather an issue of being familiar with genre conventions.

    Which is not to say I don't believe that there's a reader form of worldbuilding. I did a post on my blog about how the the way a reader builds their understanding of the story and its world is similar to the way humans model the world around them.

    Here's the post, since a link is easier than re-typing the idea as a comment here: