Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  251 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Offers advice for would-be science fiction writers, covering such topics as setting, plot, character, and dialogue, as well as the mechanics of grammar, tense, sentence structure, and paragraph transition.
Paperback, 246 pages
Published April 21st 2004 by Writer's Digest Books (first published 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
On Writing by Stephen KingBird by Bird by Anne LamottThe Artist's Way by Julia CameronWriting Down the Bones by Natalie GoldbergThe Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
Best Books on Creative Life
104th out of 227 books — 302 voters
Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse NearHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingRealms of Tolkien by J.R.R. Tolkien
Amazing Books Of Imagery
48th out of 54 books — 10 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 581)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Worlds Of Wonder

Worlds Of Wonder is a very useful book for writers wishing to explore science fiction and fantasy. David Gerrlod manages to keep this book fun and informative.

I love the way David starts this book, a tribute to his college professor. “He was a bleary eyed, red-nosed, overstuffed, walking elbow wrinkle of a human being.” How’s that for descriptive writing? Too many adjectives you say? I think it paints a clear picture of his professor and anti-hero. David claims that five words h...more
Massimo Marino
I liked the book all over, and there are pearls for everyone in most pages.

What struck me is that Gerrold advices are very practical and take you hand to hand on what is important and essential about writing and storytelling.
One, among the ones he lists at the end says:

"You can't write what you don't know. If you don't know, find out"

Readers want to immerse themselves in the world—of wonder—created by the writer, and it is to be credible, and shown by the author as if he comes from there, he has...more
May 27, 2008 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sf/fantasy writers *only*
this is a solid 3, because it has tons of great ideas and pointers for sf/fantasy writers. if you are seriously considering writing such a book, make sure you read this. has some great genre-specific advice and pitfalls to watch out for. as someone with a WIP, i appreciated the few solid take-aways.

as far as general advice is concerned, this is just ok. sure, it has some good writing advice, but a lot of it felt cliche, so to speak. predictable.

another minor crit: i also would've liked more ex...more
I really liked a lot of the insight in this book, but most of the good parts were concentrated towards the beginning and end. (I suppose that's another scene that the author knows how to write fiction...hide the weak stuff in the middle!)

I most skipped the chapters about "Sex Scenes" and "Love Scenes". Gerrold merely provides samples of his writing with scant commentary...why? If I want to see a love scene, I don't think I'll have any trouble finding one. It would be fine if he used them and des...more
I wish that I had found this book years ago! Extremely inspirational and insightful, not only in regards to writing in the fantasy/sci-fi genre, but writing in general. A recommended read for anyone who aspires to become an author or "just" has an interest in writing.
K.M. Weiland
Snappy, entertaining, and insightful. Gerrold covers the expected basics (on both fiction in general and spec in particular), while managing to throw in some inspiring originalities.
For some odd reason, I picked up this book and started to read it although I really have little desire to write a book, or the talent necessary to do so. But David Gerrold's writing is inherently interesting, and I breezed through this book in several hours.

It was ok, like I said, interesting - but more interesting from a standpoint of knowing the thoughts that go through his head as he writes, rather than useful information on how someone else could write Science Fiction. Most of the informatio...more
I haven't read many writing books (I'm beginning to read more) but nothing turns me off quicker than an author that tries to sound smarter than me or puffs themselves up in their book.
Yes - its helpful to know your credentials and Yes - self promotion is important in this business, but there are ways to "toot your own horn" without coming off as arrogant. (and if you really are a good writer you should know how to do that.)
So I was very happy when the first line in this book was - "The very bes...more
I found this book to be quite helpful. The advice it included went beyond the details and got to the heart of things. Gerrold doesn't just talk about the general advice that everyone eventually finds out and repeats. He includes interesting techniques that other writers have used that have been successful, and he sometimes poses questions that he leaves open to thought. Probably the most wonderful thing about this book is that it's obvious that Gerrold loves his craft. His passion is infectious,...more
Good book with lots of practical advice, but I feel it tried my patience a little bit. I've read several other 'how to write' books, and there just wasn't anything particularly groundbreaking or innovative in this book. I think it's more of a 'how to write fiction' book as opposed to 'how to write science fiction and fantasy'. A good starting point if you're writing fiction, but I guess I was expecting a little more content that specifically relates to science fiction and fantasy.
This book offers some useful practices for writers to employ, but suffers from poor organization and coherence. Gerrold also could have exercised more restraint in excerpting his own work to present as examples; the worst of this is a section devoted to a ten-page dialogue from one of Gerrold's works-in-progress.

What's useful about it: discussions of structure, metric prose, style, and professional discipline. These sections are rather short and make up a small portion of the book.

What's proble...more
Clio Heard
A few of the exercises in this book are good, and some of the advice is useful. Unfortunately, I disagreed with a lot of the advice (such as the idea that a character's transformation has to be tied to a conscious revelation about the nature of her/himself), and most of the useful advice was stuff I'd heard many times before. Often, David Gerrold's self-promotion would overshadow the actual advice. Almost all of the chapters included specific references to his works, and sometimes painfully long...more
Eric Juneau
It's hard to say whether I should recommend this one or not. On one hand, I was looking for science fiction and fantasy specific advice, and this doesn't have it. It's really just another book on writing, which I've read enough of. There wasn't much here I didn't already know.

On the other hand, I like Gerrold's style of writing. This was definitely better than Bird by Bird and comparable to "On Writing" by Stephen King. He makes the book fun to read.

On the other other hand, the examples that Ger...more
Dice cose che sembrano ovvie e che non lo sono. Si sofferma su alcune – fantascienza e fantasy – e accenna soltanto ad altre – principi base della narrativa, cose più tecniche. Insiste sull'importanza dell'accuratezza del linguaggio, sulla chiarezza delle idee, sul doversi fare sempre delle domande su quello che si scrive e sul come si vuole scriverlo. Propone diversi esercizi e dà qualche consiglio.
Insomma: è divertente, piacevole da leggere, e mette davvero voglia di scrivere in maniera sensat...more
Some interesting new ideas or ways of looking at writing. But a lot of it is a rehash of things you already know if you read or write science fiction and fantasy extensively. Or if you've read other books about writing science fiction and fantasy. World-building, etc.

He also uses a fair amount of excerpts from his own writing. Which is useful in a way, but also annoying, especially when the excerpt goes on and on, as one sex/love scene example does.

Though I'll admit he did say some things about...more
This book had a few good tidbits in it, but overall, it wasn't worth the time. While it claims to be about both science fiction and fantasy, it really focuses on science fiction. There aren't many writing exercises and towards the end the advice became very generic. The sex and love scene chapters were a waste. The majority of those chapters consist of the author's own scenes and nothing on how to create them. Throughout the book, the author is very heavy handed with his own work. It became a bi...more
I love to read about writing. I picked this up at the library, and honestly, it's very good. My complaint is that I picked it up specifically for help with fantasy writing, and a huge majority of it is dedicated solely to science fiction. If the author wanted to write a book on science fiction writing, he should have! I get the feeling his editor told him to stick some fantasy chapters in there just to get more people to buy it.
This was probably the best book about writing I've read so far. I would highly recommend it for writers of any genre. David not only changed the way I look at writing, but he also changed the way I look at myself.

After reading this book, I'm going to re-write pretty much everything I've done for my current novel so far. But that's okay, I was only a quarter of the way through anyway!
Rebecca Schwarz
For the kind of writing I'm trying to do this book is definitely worth checking out. Much of the second half of the book is filled with pretty generic writing advice and there are some lengthy quotes of his own work, which isn't much more than filler and self-promotion. But the first few chapters, and for me especially, the chapter on how fantasy works, was worth the price of admission.
M.L. Forman
A good book with some very good advice. Some times I didn't really get what Gerrold was talking about, or I thought he was over explaining things that were obvious. The best bit of advice I found in this book... If you want to be a writer there are two things you need to do. Read a lot, and write a lot. Yes, that sounds so simple, but it is so true.
Nov 23, 2007 Echo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fantasy writers
Shelves: nonfiction
Of the books I've read, I think this is my favorite writing book. It helps that its geared specifically toward fantasy and science fiction. It's been a while since I've read it, so I've forgotten a lot, but I do remember it was very helpful. There was even a character dossier in it that I've used a lot since I read the book.
A really good resource for those wanting to write science fiction. David Gerrold presents the information in an informal way that still manages to be helpful in pursuing this genre. Besides, how can you dislike the man who wrote the famous "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode of the original Star Trek?
Aug 14, 2007 Haengbok92 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: speculative fiction writers
This is the book that got me back into writing just after I graduated college and I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. It has lots of great information and encouragement for science fiction and fantasy writers, and is filled with excellent examples and excercises. A win!
Excellent and well organized, with dozens of short chapters addressing specific aspects of writing (science fiction and fantasy in particular, but a lot of it applies to all fiction.)
A worthwhile book for any aspiring or established writer of fiction; it will come in handy.
I picked this up at my brother's house this evening and read it in one sitting--skipping a couple of chapters that would only be important to someone writing a trashy novel. If fractional stars were an option, I'd give it 2.5.
This is the first writing book I actually ever felt compelled to do the writing exercises in. Which of course means I'm reading this one very slowly. About time I found a writing book that is well written!
many many thanks to the friend who gave me this book, I loved it!
it is funny and entertaining while explaining precious truths and special tricks about writing a story- and writing it well.
This book is amazing. I love reading it whenever I need my creative juices flowing. Gerrold writes in such a way that captivates me and wants me to write a million and one novels.
the only chapter i really enjoyed was the chapter on structure.
besides that it was a book with excerpts of other books. not helpful to me, just annoying.
Another book on the craft of writing, particularly fiction of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. Worth a flip through if you're interested in such things.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 19 20 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • World-Building
  • How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction: 6 Steps to Writing and Publishing Your Bestseller!
  • Deadly Doses: A Writer's Guide to Poisons
  • The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference: An Indispensable Compendium of Myth and Magic
  • The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
  • Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
  • The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth
  • Conflict, Action and Suspense (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Dynamic Characters: How to Create Personalities That Keep Readers Captivated
  • Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer
  • On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writer's of America
  • The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook
  • Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication & Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams
  • Story Structure Architect: A Writer's Guide to Building Dramatic Situations and Compelling Characters
  • Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • The Art of War for Writers
The Man Who Folded Himself A Matter For Men A Day for Damnation A Rage for Revenge A Season for Slaughter

Share This Book