About five years ago I started a blog series discussing the scientific/technical/medical aspects of science fiction and cultural/historical/world-building aspects of fantasy with input from real-world experts. Since that time, the Science in Sci-fi / Fact in Fantasy series has collected guest posts from more than a hundred professional contributors who were willing to share their expertise.
Two years ago, we developed the Science in Sci-fi portion into a book with Writer’s Digest Books, which was then a division of F+W Media. Putting the Science in Fiction included a foreword from Chuck Wendig and 59 chapters discussing everything from biology to planetary science to waste management in outer space. The book garnered wonderful reviews and enjoyed fantastic support from the writing community. An audiobook narrated by Emily Beresford and Kevin T. Collins was released last year. This year, a lovely Korean edition was published by GuFic.
I really enjoyed working with Writers Digest Books and hoped PSIF might be the start of a wonderful partnership. Unfortunately, the parent company (F+W Media) went into bankruptcy less than a year after the book was published. After a long period of uncertainty, the WD Books line was acquired by Penguin Random House. It’s a different editorial team, but they’re eager to continue producing outstanding books for writers.
Announcing the Next Book
Speaking of which, today it’s my pleasure to share the following announcement:
Putting the Fact in Fantasy is the companion to PSIF and collects the fantasy-oriented content from my long-running blog series. A basic understanding of the history, language, and culture of our world will inspire authors to create worlds of their own that satisfy the most discerning readers. Whether that’s correctly naming the parts of a horse, knowing how lords and ladies address one another, or building a realistic fantasy army, getting the details right can take your fantasy writing to the next level. This book brings together historians, linguists, martial artists, and other experts to help writers:
- Understand the basic concepts of combat, warfare, horsemanship, and economics from previous epochs in human history.
- Avoid common pitfalls and misconceptions that might turn off well-informed readers.
- Draw upon social, cultural, linguistic, and religious systems of various cultures to build complex and believable fantasy worlds.
- Find inspiration for new story ideas steeped in our own world’s fascinating history.
What’s in the Book
The content of the book will be driven by Fact in Fantasy articles that have appeared on my blog, as well as a number of chapters found only in the book. Our editor at PRH is Joanna Ng, who also acquires for TarcherPerigee. The tentative chapters for the book fall into six broad categories:
- History as inspiration
- Languages and culture
- World-building (of course)
- Weapons & warfare
- Horses and riding
- Woods, wilderness, and adventure
Call for Marginalized Contributors
Just as we did for PSIF, we will include a number of chapters that are unique to the book (i.e. not on the blog). These will probably account for 10% of the chapters. We are particularly seeking contributors from marginalized groups and/or contributors of color for these. If you know someone who has expertise in a topic that would fit with the book’s theme, please encourage them to reach out to me at author (at) dankoboldt [dot] com. By “expertise” I mean professional expertise (formal education, training, or work experience) as opposed to a hobby interest (i.e. read a lot about the subject).
So, What’s Next?
There’s much more to come about this as we start putting the book together. For now, I wanted to share this wonderful news and say that I’m excited to be working both with my contributors and the team at PRH.
Please join the “Fellow Writers” group on my mailing list to get updates on the progress to be notified when the book is available.
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