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World-Building: A Writer's Guide to…
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World-Building: A Writer's Guide to Constructing Star Systems and Life…

by Stephen L. Gillett, Ben Bova (Editor)

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Another book in the Science Fiction Writing Series, put out by Writers Digest. Geologist and astronomer Dr. Stephen Gillett approaches the science of creating planets in other solar systems in a fairly simple, easy-to-understand method for the layman. Chapters in this helpful volume include Why World-Build?, The Astronomical Setting, Making a Planet, The Earth, The Ancient Earth, The Other Planets, Stars and Suns, and Not As We Know It. Although a little understanding of geology, astrophysics and general physics helps to start with, this writers' guide really breaks down the science needed to accurately portray the development of alien species on life-supporting planets that differ dramatically from Earth. I particularly appreciated the final chapter, dealing with non-traditional life-supporting worlds -- water worlds, worlds heavy in nitrogen atmosphere, and what Gillett refers to as "Brimstone worlds". Also helpful, especially for those of us not well-versed in scientific minutiae, is an extensive glossary of scientific terminology, a bibliography of sources for additional research, and an index to science fiction stories that Gillett cites as examples of the various scientific principles he's explaining.

Originally reviewed for my local library's website: http://www.lincolnlibraries.org/depts/bookguide/srec/staffrec09-10.htm ( )
  cannellfan | Jan 16, 2011 |
An excellent toolkit for designing planets and star systems. Gillett explains everything from planetary formation to plate tectonics to the cycles that maintain a livable atmosphere on a planet and affect the weather, with plenty of examples and references to where ideas turn up in existing works of science fiction. A valuable resource to any game master running in an interstellar setting. ( )
  slothman | Sep 5, 2007 |
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