Exploring Imaginary Worlds
Essays on Media, Structure, and Subcreation
From The Brothers Karamazov to Star Trek to Twin Peaks, this collection explores a variety of different imaginary worlds both historic and contemporary.
Featuring contributions from an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars, each essay looks at a particular imaginary world in-depth, and world-building issues associated with that world. Together, the essays explore the relationship between the worlds and the media in which they appear as they examine imaginary worlds in literature, television, film, computer games, and theatre, with many existing across multiple media simultaneously. The book argues that the media incarnation of a world affects world structure and poses unique obstacles to the act of world-building. The worlds discussed include Nazar, Barsetshire, Skotopogonievsk, the Vorkosigan Universe, Grover’s Corners, Gormenghast, Collinsport, Daventry, Dune, the Death Gate Cycle universe, Twin Peaks, and the Star Trek galaxy.
A follow-up to Mark J. P. Wolf ’s field-defining book Building Imaginary Worlds, this collection will be of critical interest to students and scholars of popular culture, subcreation studies, transmedia studies, literature, and beyond.
Table of Contents
List of Contributors
Mark J. P. Wolf
WORLDS OF WORDS
The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground by Ludvig Holberg: Subcreation and Social Criticism
‘A Little Bit of England Which I Have Myself Created’: Creating Barsetshire across Forms, Genres, Time, and Authors
Helen Conrad O’Briain
Mythopoetic Suspense, Eschatology and Misterium: World-Building Lessons from Dostoevsky
Building the Vorkosigan Universe
Our World: World-Building in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town
Mark J. P. Wolf
"Suckled On Shadows": States of Decay in Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast Novels
The Gothic World-Building of Dark Shadows
Daventry and the Worlds of King’s Quest
The Softer Side of Dune: The Impact of Social Sciences on World-Building
Earth, Air, Fire, and Water: Balance and Interconnectivity in the Fractured Worlds of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s The Death Gate Cycle
Welcome to the "Second-stage" Lynchverse – Twin Peaks: The Return and the Impossibility of Return Vs. Getting a Return
The Fault in Our Star Trek: (Dis)Continuity Mapping, Textual Conservationism, and the Perils of Prequelization
Appendix: On Measuring and Comparing Imaginary Worlds
Mark J. P. Wolf
Mark J. P. Wolf is Professor in the Communication Department at Concordia University, Wisconsin. His 23 books include The Video Game Theory Reader 1 and 2 (2003, 2008), The Video Game Explosion (2007), Myst & Riven: The World of the D’ni (2011), Before the Crash: An Anthology of Early Video Game History (2012), Encyclopedia of Video Games (2012), Building Imaginary Worlds (2012), The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies (2014), LEGO Studies (2014), Video Games Around the World (2015), Revisiting Imaginary Worlds (2016), Video Games FAQ (2017), The World of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (2017), The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds (2018), and The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence (2018), which won the SCMS 2020 award for Best Edited Collection.