Worldbuilding Quotes

Quotes tagged as "worldbuilding" Showing 1-19 of 19
J.R.R. Tolkien
“Nobody believes me when I say that my long book is an attempt to create a world in which a form of language agreeable to my personal aesthetic might seem real. But it is true.”
J. R. R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien
“I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though I am aware that this is a rash adventure. Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien On Fairy-stories

J.R.R. Tolkien
“Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien On Fairy-stories

M. John Harrison
“Every moment of a science fiction story must represent the triumph of writing over worldbuilding.

Worldbuilding is dull. Worldbuilding literalises the urge to invent. Worldbuilding gives an unnecessary permission for acts of writing (indeed, for acts of reading). Worldbuilding numbs the reader’s ability to fulfil their part of the bargain, because it believes that it has to do everything around here if anything is going to get done.

Above all, worldbuilding is not technically necessary. It is the great clomping foot of nerdism. It is the attempt to exhaustively survey a place that isn’t there. A good writer would never try to do that, even with a place that is there. It isn’t possible, & if it was the results wouldn’t be readable: they would constitute not a book but the biggest library ever built, a hallowed place of dedication & lifelong study. This gives us a clue to the psychological type of the worldbuilder & the worldbuilder’s victim, & makes us very afraid.”
M. John Harrison

J.R.R. Tolkien
“The mind that thought of light, heavy, grey, yellow, still, swift, also conceived of magic that would make heavy things light and be able to fly, turn grey lead into yellow gold, and the still rock into a swift water.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien On Fairy-stories

Kameron Hurley
“I’m not going to tell you how to start a bug-powered vehicle, I’m just going to put you inside one with somebody who knows how, and send you off on a ride.”
Kameron Hurley, Lightspeed Magazine, October 2013

“Ha-ha!' the fox laughed. '*Just* stories, you say, as if stories mean nothing? Stories are the stuff that sticks the world together. Stories are the mud from which we're all made. The power to imagine stories is the power to remake the world as we dream it.”
C. Alexander London, Moonlight Brigade

Wallace Stevens
“The villages slept as the capable man went down,
Time swished on the village clocks and dreams were alive,
The enormous gongs gave edges to their sounds,
As the rider, no chevalere and poorly dressed,
Impatient of the bells and midnight forms,
Rode over the picket docks, rode down the road,
And, capable, created in his mind,
Eventual victor, out of the martyr's bones,
The ultimate elegance: the imagined land.”
Wallace Stevens, The Collected Poems

Garth Nix
“You can't work in the library without going into the Old Levels," said Mirelle somberly. "At least some of the time. I wouldn't be keen on going to some parts of the Library, myself."
Lirael listened, wondering what they were talking about. The Great Library of the Clayr was enormous, but she had never heard of the Old Levels.
She knew the general layout well. The Library was shaped like a nautilus shell, a continuous tunnel that wound down into the mountain in an ever-tightening spiral. This main spiral was an enormously long, twisting ramp that took you from the high reaches of the mountain down past the level of the valley floor, several thousand feet below.
Off the main spiral, there were countless other corridors, rooms, halls, and strange chambers. Many were full of the Clayr's written records, mainly documenting the prophesies and visions of many generations of seers. But they also contained books and papers from all over the Kingdom. Books of magic and mystery, knowledge both ancient and new. Scrolls, maps, spells, recipes, inventories, stories, true tales, and Charter knew what else.
In addition to all these written works, the Great Library also housed other things. There were old armories within it, containing weapons and armor that had not been used for centuries but still stayed bright and new. There were rooms full of odd paraphernalia that no one now knew how to use. There were chambers where dressmakers' dummies stood fully clothed, displaying the fashions of bygone Clayr or the wildly different costumes of the barbaric North. There were greenhouses tended by sendings, with Charter marks for light as bright as the sun. There were rooms of total darkness, swallowing up the light and anyone foolish enough to enter unprepared.
Lirael had seen some of the Library, on carefully escorted excursions with the rest of her year gathering. She had always hankered to enter the doors they passed, to step across the red rope barriers that marked corridors or tunnels where only authorized librarians might pass.”
Garth Nix, Lirael

Dmitry Glukhovsky
“The planet of people lives in three shifts: we’d be too crowded if we all went to sleep in the evening and woke up in the morning at the same time. So a third of us live in the morning, a third of us live in the evening and a third of us live at night. Europe never closes all its eyes.”
Dmitry Glukhovsky, FUTU.RE

Dmitry Glukhovsky
“So it turns out that we emerge into an antiquated FUTURE from a spaceship that never took off for the distant stars. And it was right not to, by the way. We’ve got no fucking business out there.

But what we see in front of us is the present.”
Dmitry Glukhovsky, FUTU.RE

Dmitry Glukhovsky
“Men retreated from the heavens – but not for long. Before God could even blink, He had to squeeze up, and then He was evicted. Now Europe’s covered right across with Towers of Babel, and these days it’s not a matter of pride – it’s just that there’s no more living space left.”
Dmitry Glukhovsky

Dmitry Glukhovsky
“In order to force it down, I cut myself a piece of meat. It’s already cold. It’s too tough for my taste, on the dry side. The beef that I eat usually melts in my mouth. But this roast has to be chewed, as if it actually used to be an animal’s muscles. Damn, what if it really is genuine?”
Dmitry Glukhovsky, FUTU.RE

Dmitry Glukhovsky
“And instantly the pale Apollo faces fall away from the human ones. For a brief moment I see before me not an ancient Attic army, not a reincarnated phalanx from the time of Alexander the Great, but a red-faced, agitated crowd – the same as the one that is rampaging down below us. And then, replacing those abstract, beautiful, marble masks, they all tug on alien, black ones – with mirror windows instead of eyes and filter canisters instead of mouths.”
Dmitry Glukhovsky, FUTU.RE

Olga Werby
“Short stories are very different from novel-length works. From the structure point of view, there are fewer characters, no subplots, and a lot less description of the setting and the characters populating the story. A short story simply doesn’t have room for world building… obviously. You grab the story with the first few words and don’t let go or digress for a minute. There is no room for exposition… or pretty descriptions of fashion or cool explanations of scientific principles on which the story is based or commentary of how computer interfaces changed in the future. A novel has room to think, to orchestrate multiple melodies on a theme, whereas a short story is a driven commentary on a single cord.”
Olga Werby, Twin Time

Yang Huang
“A writer can create a more just world in books by shining a light on that injustice.”
Yang Huang

“Some gods rule over their worlds; others are part of the fabric of the Universe where those worlds exist.”
Susana Imaginário, Wyrd Gods

“I can imagine”
Alexander Wales, Worth the Candle

“The only good reason to put something in your world is that you want it to be there.”
James D'Amato