1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds

Edited By Mark Wolf Copyright 2018
    468 Pages
    by Routledge

    466 Pages
    by Routledge

    This companion provides a definitive and cutting-edge guide to the study of imaginary and virtual worlds across a range of media, including literature, television, film, and games. From the Star Trek universe, Thomas More’s classic Utopia, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Arda, to elaborate, user-created game worlds like Minecraft, contributors present interdisciplinary perspectives on authorship, world structure/design, and narrative. The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds offers new approaches to imaginary worlds as an art form and cultural phenomenon, explorations of the technical and creative dimensions of world-building, and studies of specific worlds and worldbuilders.

    About the Contributors



    Part 1   Content and Story

    1. Locations and Borders Gerard Hynes

    2. The Hero’s Journey Lily Alexander

    3. Invented Languages Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins

    4. Invented Cultures Mark J. P. Wolf

    5. Backstory Benjamin J. Robertson

    6. Narrative Fabric Mark J. P. Wolf

    7. Saviors Mark J. P. Wolf

    8. Portals Jennifer Harwood-Smith

    Part 2   Form and Structure

    9. World Design Mark J. P. Wolf

    10. Ontological Rules Marie-Laure Ryan

    11. World Completeness Benjamin J. Robertson

    12. World Consistency Rodrigo Lessa and João Araújo

    13. Geography and Maps Gerard Hynes

    14. History and Timelines Benjamin J. Robertson

    15. Mythology Lily Alexander

    16. Philosophy Edward Castronova

    17. Transmediality Lars Konzack

    18. World-Building Tools David Langdon

    Part 3   Types of Worlds

    19. Island Worlds Ian Kinane

    20. Underground Worlds Peter Fitting

    21. Planets Jennifer Harwood-Smith

    22. Utopias and Dystopias Peter Sands

    23. Uchronias, Alternate Histories, and Counterfactuals George Carstocea

    24. Virtual Worlds Mark J. P. Wolf

    25. Interactive and Participatory Worlds Matthew Freeman

    Part 4   Authorship and Reception

    26. Subcreation Lars Konzack

    27. Authorship Jessica Aldred

    28. Reboots and Retroactive Continuity William Proctor

    29. Canonicity William Proctor

    30. Escapism Lars Konzack

    31. Genre Lily Alexander


    Mark J. P. Wolf is a Full Professor in the Communication Department at Concordia University, Wisconsin, USA. His books include Abstracting Reality, The Medium of the Video Game, Virtual Morality, The Video Game Explosion, Myst and Riven: The World of the D'ni, Before the Crash, Encyclopedia of Video Games, Building Imaginary Worlds, The LEGO Studies Reader, Video Games Around the World, and Revisiting Imaginary Worlds. He is also the founder of the Imaginary Worlds book series. With Bernard Perron, he is the co-editor of The Video Game Theory Reader 1 and 2, and the Landmark Video Game book series.