Tag Archive: England


Language is one of those things that people tend to be concerned with when writing science fiction and fantasy (mostly in fantasy), and yet how many SF&F authors are linguists? It’s quite possible that this is a natural outgrowth of trying to show a radically different culture from our own; or it might be that the godfather of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien, the Professor himself, put so much work into his languages.

Not everyone is a philologist, though, much less one of Tolkien’s caliber. How do we use languages in fiction without sounding like we just made it all up? How can we make it up if we’re going to keep the audience from feeling lost? How can we even hope to show a language barrier if the book’s all written in English? Continue reading

Yep, I’ve been away for a while. I had some personal-life things to take care of. Nope, I’m not going to describe them here, because they don’t have to do with writing or fun stuff. This ain’t no LiveJournal or MySpace here, bub! (Aaaaand I just dated myself. Moving on.)

I was going to make my first post back be a book review, but instead I decided to get off my duff and start the worldbuilding series I’ve been meaning to do for months now. The reason is that two parts of my life have converged on the same topic very recently. The first is that my workshop at Christendom College has restarted; the second is that I play World of Warcraft on the side.

What’s the relevancy? you might ask, and rightly so. Warcraft players might be able to guess, of course, but I’ll address the workshop angle first. Most of my students are interested in writing fantasy, which is a happy coincidence for me as I fully expected the opposite even though all evidence of youthful interest in fiction backs it up. (Just glance through the Teen Fiction section at your local bookstore, or see what the most popular movies are among the teens-and-twenties demographic.) I tailor my workshop lectures to my audience’s interests, and when I mentioned I could do some lectures on worldbuilding, there was much rejoicing.

One of the things many people overlook when worldbuilding, however, is economics. That doesn’t mean Wall Street and esoteric ideas of bull and bear markets or how one makes money using other people’s money. No, I mean taking into consideration what is valuable to a different society, what constitutes that level of value, how you represent and trade that value, and how you go about creating value.

Oh, dear. I did promise non-technical, didn’t I? It’s right there in the post’s title. I guess I need to live up to that! Continue reading

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