Mark J.P. Wolf’s study of imaginary worlds theorizes world-building within and across media, including literature, comics, film, radio, television, board games, video games, the Internet, and more. Building Imaginary Worlds departs from prior approaches to imaginary worlds that focused mainly on narrative, medium, or genre, and instead considers imaginary worlds as dynamic entities in and of themselves. Wolf argues that imaginary worlds—which are often transnarrative, transmedial, and transauthorial in nature—are compelling objects of inquiry for Media Studies. Chapters touch on:
Building Imaginary Worlds also provides the scholar of imaginary worlds with a glossary of terms and a detailed timeline that spans three millennia and more than 1,400 imaginary worlds, listing their names, creators, and the works in which they first appeared.
"Building Imaginary Worlds is a stunning work of scholarship, encyclopedic in its scope, well-informed in its theory, and totally infectious in its enthusiasm for its topic. It will go down as the Bible of imaginary worlds." –Marie-Laure Ryan, author of Avatars of Story
"Wolf shifts our focus from particular stories and media to the fantastical contexts we have created. Imaginary worlds express our deepest hopes, but we don't merely imagine these places. We try to live there, and in this choice lies tremendous social disruption." –Edward Castronova, author of Synthetic Worlds
Introduction 1. Worlds within the World 2. A History of Imaginary Worlds 3. World Structures and Systems of Relationships 4. More Than a Story: Narrative Threads and Narrative Fabric 5. Subcreation within Subcreated Worlds 6. Transmedial Growth and Adaptation 7. Circles of Authorship Glossary Appendix: Timeline of Imaginary Worlds