The perils of worldbuilding

7 minutes

Is our love of built worlds in fiction making us too passive and disengaged?

It’s not difficult to understand the appeal of intricate artificial worlds in works of fiction. They don’t just give us a new narrative to digest, but an entirely new universe with its own logic, laws and rules, and we – the audience – are invited to become participants. But should great works of fiction demand more from readers and viewers than merely assisting in worldbuilding? Incisively written by the US blogger Evan Puschak (also known as The Nerdwriter), The Perils of Worldbulding is a shrewd take on the appeal of imagined worlds, and their potential pitfalls.

Video by The Nerdwriter

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter
Aeon is not-for-profit
and free for everyone
Make a donation
Essay/
Stories & Literature
Ghosts on the shore

In Japan, ghost stories are not to be scoffed at, but provide deep insights into the fuzzy boundary between life and death

Christopher Harding

Essay/
Stories & Literature
Sweet artifice

Dandies in the age of decadence favoured synthetics over nature, nowhere more so than in perfumery’s fabulous counterfeits

Catherine Maxwell