Pure World-Building

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Ken from Chicago

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Jan 26, 2007, 3:59:22 PM1/26/07
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Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a plot
(or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books without the game?

-- Ken from Chicago


No 33 Secretary

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Jan 26, 2007, 4:03:31 PM1/26/07
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"Ken from Chicago" <kwicker1...@comcast.net> wrote in
news:9Zqdnf1UhZ8w9ifY...@comcast.com:

> Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition
> without a plot (or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books
> without the game?
>

Lots of long-established series end up with a tour-guide book
eventually.

http://www.amazon.com/Dragonlovers-Guide-Pern-
Second/dp/0345412745/sr=1-1/qid=1169845383/ref=sr_1_1/102-6580930-
3490505?ie=UTF8&s=books

for example.

--
"What is the first law?"
"To Protect."
"And the second?"
"Ourselves."

Terry Austin

David DeLaney

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Jan 26, 2007, 4:47:55 PM1/26/07
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Ken from Chicago <kwicker1...@comcast.net> wrote:
>Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a plot
>(or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books without the game?

Last and First Men, by Stapledon?

The Transgalactic Guide to Solar System M-17, by Rovin?

And of course there -are- a lot of game books that pretty much fit your
description - as said in another thread recently, GURPS is good at basically
taking a given author's works and explaining / listing / cataloguing them
as to how they would be stated in the GURPS system...

Dave
--
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Sea Wasp

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Jan 26, 2007, 4:49:27 PM1/26/07
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Ken from Chicago wrote:
> Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a plot
> (or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books without the game?
>

The canonical original ones were probably Bartlett's
Extraterrestrials, The Star Trek Technical Manual, and similar books.

Nowadays there's a LOT of them.


--
Sea Wasp
/^\
;;;
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David Johnston

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Jan 26, 2007, 6:40:00 PM1/26/07
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On Fri, 26 Jan 2007 14:59:22 -0600, "Ken from Chicago"
<kwicker1...@comcast.net> wrote:

>Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a plot
>(or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books without the game?

I recall a coffee table book which essentially took a whole bunch of
novel cover paintings, and then made up descriptions of what the
pictures represented placing them in various parts of an imagined
galaxy. Then there's stuff like After Man and Barlowe's Guide to
Extraterrestrials. And now that I think about it, Dinotopia
apparently didn't have a plot.

Nyrath the nearly wise

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Jan 26, 2007, 6:44:03 PM1/26/07
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Ken from Chicago wrote:
> Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a plot
> (or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books without the game?

There was a short story by Poul Anderson entitled
"A World Named Cleopatra" that was a tourist guide.

Mike Schilling

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Jan 26, 2007, 7:16:46 PM1/26/07
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"Ken from Chicago" <kwicker1...@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:9Zqdnf1UhZ8w9ifY...@comcast.com...

> Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a
> plot (or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books without the game?

Rendezvous With Rama.

I recently reread RAH's Space Cadet, and the first two-thirds of it are pure
"What would a space-based military academy be like?".


Konrad Gaertner

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Jan 26, 2007, 8:06:55 PM1/26/07
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Ken from Chicago wrote:
>
> Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a plot
> (or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books without the game?

There's lots of "Guide to" and "World of" or even "Science of" books
for the more popular series. I own all three Diskworld maps (each
included a booklet of extra info).

And then there's DWJ's _Tough Guide to Fantasyland_.

--
Konrad Gaertner - - - - - - - - - - - - - - email: gae...@aol.com
http://kgbooklog.livejournal.com/
"I don't mind hidden depths but I insist that there be a surface."
-- James Nicoll

Rob St. Amant

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Jan 26, 2007, 8:43:36 PM1/26/07
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"Ken from Chicago" <kwicker1...@comcast.net> writes:

> Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a plot
> (or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books without the game?

Ursula LeGuin's recent Changing Planes had this flavor for me.
Episodic, descriptive, with minimal plot that I can remember.

Taki Kogoma

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Jan 26, 2007, 9:17:37 PM1/26/07
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On Sat, 27 Jan 2007 01:06:55 GMT, gae...@aol.com
allegedly declared to rec.arts.sf.written...

>Ken from Chicago wrote:
>> Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a plot
>> (or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books without the game?
>
>There's lots of "Guide to" and "World of" or even "Science of" books
>for the more popular series. I own all three Diskworld maps (each
>included a booklet of extra info).

Except that the _Science of Discworld_ books actually have story
chapters alternating with science explanation chapters (the former
introducing concepts amplified on in the latter).

Gym "These are probably my favorite of the Rincewind books..." Quirk

--
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(Known to some as Taki Kogoma) | \ / CAMPAIGN
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Damien Sullivan

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Jan 27, 2007, 3:23:17 AM1/27/07
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Also her older _Always Coming Home_.

-xx- Damien X-)

John Fairhurst

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Jan 27, 2007, 5:01:23 AM1/27/07
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"Sea Wasp" <seawasp...@sgeobviousinc.com> wrote in message
news:45BA7767...@sgeobviousinc.com...

> Ken from Chicago wrote:
>> Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a
>> plot (or simply a tourist guide)? Like game books without the game?
>>
>
> The canonical original ones were probably Bartlett's Extraterrestrials,
> The Star Trek Technical Manual, and similar books.
>
> Nowadays there's a LOT of them.
>


I don't think its far to say that Bartlett's Extraterrestrials is a travel
guide or world builder - that 'simply' shows other people's aliens as
realised by Mr Bartlett.
--

John Fairhurst
http://www.johnsbooks.co.uk
jo...@johnsbooks.co.uk


lal_truckee

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Jan 27, 2007, 6:44:28 PM1/27/07
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Ken from Chicago wrote:
> Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a plot
> (or simply a tourist guide)?

Many would suggest such as "Mission of Gravity" (Clement) and the
"Dragon's Egg" and "Rocheworld" series (Forward) to be just that. There
are plots and characters but they are essentially hooks upon which to
hang the exposition, and could be eliminated without mush loss.

Andrew Wheeler

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Jan 27, 2007, 8:44:17 PM1/27/07
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There are a number of SFnal art books like that, from the late '70s and
early '80s, mostly from the same packager (as far as I can tell). They
actually form a coherent future history, and are called the "Terran
Trade Authority" books -- there's a web page about them at http://www.khantazi.org/Rec/TTABooks/TTABooks.html.

(And they came along at *exactly* the right time for me, so I'm
completely biased on the subject.)

--
Andrew Wheeler: Professional Editor, Amateur Wise-Acre
--
If you enjoyed this post, try my blog at
http://antickmusings.blogspot.com
If you hated this post, you probably have bad taste anyway.

David DeLaney

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Jan 27, 2007, 9:34:06 PM1/27/07
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Clement, in fact, had a whole series of books set in and around MoG's universe
which included Close to Critical, Cycle of Fire, and Star Light (MoG's direct
sequel), and maybe a couple others, and had some other world-building/puzzle-
solving books that weren't in that universe - Iceworld, Half Life (?), The
Nitrogen Fix, Ocean On Top (?), Still River (the (?) I haven't re-re-read in
long enough that I'm vague on).

Does the Ringworld series count as 'doesn't really have a plot'?

Rick Kleffel

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Jan 27, 2007, 11:03:43 PM1/27/07
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'Worlds: A Mission of Discovery' (Design Studio Press ; August 2005 ;
$39.95) as much directed as written by Alec Gillis (and a huge cast
and crew) is what you're looking for. It's done with photos, models
and some SFX by the guy who did some critters for Starship Troopers.
The look is ver gritty and authentic. More like an expedition log.
Barlowe's 'Expedition', adapted by the Discovery Channel does this as
well. Both are well worth the money. Here's an article with some
scans from the Gillis.

http://trashotron.com/agony/news/2006/09-18-06.htm#092106

Best, Rickk

On Jan 26, 12:59 pm, "Ken from Chicago" <kwicker1b_nos...@comcast.net>
wrote:

Walter Bushell

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Jan 27, 2007, 11:14:44 PM1/27/07
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In article <9Zqdnf1UhZ8w9ifY...@comcast.com>,

"Ken from Chicago" <kwicker1...@comcast.net> wrote:

Niven comes close, in _Ringworld_, for example.

--
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peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totali-
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Walter Bushell

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Jan 27, 2007, 11:16:02 PM1/27/07
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In article <wtRuh.38168$Gr2....@newssvr21.news.prodigy.net>,
lal_truckee <lal_t...@yahoo.com> wrote:

No there is not a lot of mush in Forwards writing.

Elethiomel

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Jan 28, 2007, 1:37:45 AM1/28/07
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> There are plots and characters but they are essentially hooks upon
> which to hang the exposition, and could be eliminated without mush
> loss.

As opposed to Niven's _Smoke Ring_ books, where the worldbuilding is
wonderfully evocative...and all the characters should be shot, or at
least forced to eat the plot.

East takes you In...

...and I'm sure someone must have tried to Go For Gold, but I was so
confused at the glossary's definition of "stet" (being ten years old and
unaware of the periled pathways that wind precariously round
proofreading's pits) and the way the characters seemed to use it to mean
"okay", that I'm not sure I RC.

Cheers,

Elethiomel for the State (of the Art, natch. Arbitrary xenophobes and
zealots are not always the limiting factor in a frank exchange of views,
but then I've always thought argument was merely killing time anyway).

Nancy Lebovitz

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Feb 2, 2007, 9:27:03 AM2/2/07
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In article <slrnero24...@gatekeeper.vic.com>,

David DeLaney <d...@gatekeeper.vic.com> wrote:
>On Sat, 27 Jan 2007 23:44:28 GMT, lal_truckee <lal_t...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>>Ken from Chicago wrote:
>>> Are there sf books that are pure world-building or exposition without a plot
>>> (or simply a tourist guide)?
>>
>>Many would suggest such as "Mission of Gravity" (Clement) and the
>>"Dragon's Egg" and "Rocheworld" series (Forward) to be just that. There
>>are plots and characters but they are essentially hooks upon which to
>>hang the exposition, and could be eliminated without mush loss.
>
>Clement, in fact, had a whole series of books set in and around MoG's universe
>which included Close to Critical, Cycle of Fire, and Star Light (MoG's direct
>sequel), and maybe a couple others, and had some other world-building/puzzle-
>solving books that weren't in that universe - Iceworld, Half Life (?), The
>Nitrogen Fix, Ocean On Top (?), Still River (the (?) I haven't re-re-read in
>long enough that I'm vague on).

IIRC, Clement would think of a world with interesting chemical and/or
gravitational features, think of non-earthly incidents which could happen
as a result of those features, write the incidents down on 3 x 5 cards,
then invent a plot which used the incidents.
--
Nancy Lebovitz http://www.nancybuttons.com

http://nancylebov.livejournal.com
My two favorite colors are "Oooooh" and "SHINY!".

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