Collaborative Worldbuilding For Writers And Gamers, by Trent Hergenrader
This book is interesting on the one hand simply because of its contents, namely because it deals with a subject that is personally fascinating to me as well as something I have engaged in on multiple occasions in writing as part of a shared universe in the Secfenia Dark series of short stories with an old friend of mine and also the creation of games and the playing of D&D as well as being a GM pretty frequently. That is not to say that this book is as good as it could have been, but it is at least a book that has a good idea of the subject matter that can make for compelling writing. Where the book falls short, and falls considerably short, is in the execution of its material, both in its perspective as well as in what it chooses to focus on when it comes to questions of collaborative worldbuildling.
The contents of this book are as follows. The book begins with a list of figures, tables, and examples as well as acknowledgements and abbreviations. After that comes the first part of the book, which looks at collaborative worldbuilding concepts and terminology, first with an introduction (1), then with a look at worlds, worldbuilding, and collaborative worldbuilding (2), then audience and genres (3), then frameworks of fictional worlds (4), structures and substructures of fictional worlds (5), and catalogs of fictional worlds (6). After thi comes part two, which looks at collaborative worldbuilding projects (II), including collaborative worldbuilding resources (7), what to do before beginning one’s project (8), building the foundation and establishing the framework of one’s project (9), developing structures and substructures (10), writing the metanarrative (11), designing catalog templates and entries (12), and storytelling and gaming in collaboratively built worlds (13), after which the book closes with a discussion of building worlds together.
As a reader, this book struck me as the sort of thing I would have enjoyed reading a book about that had been written twenty or more years ago, but reading a book written about that more recently means that one has to read a book about someone who seems obsessed with contemporary leftist identity theory. This makes the book considerably more tedious than it would have been, and is a reminder, if any reminder is necessary, that even when the reader and writer have serious and deep common interests, that lacking a common worldview and common appreciation of sociopolitical concerns ruins any sort of enjoyment that can be found from reading a book that by all rights should have been far more enjoyable to read. It would be worthwhile to read more books on this subject, but only if they are written by people with a better worldview, to be sure.