>An entire generation of fantasy novels was predicated on the idea that a coherent world was more important than an interesting literary text, and in a society where our consumer habits have increasingly become our identities, there is a ready-made audience for books which reward the archivist reader.
Does he have a point? Is world building largely pointless and unnecessary? Is a story more important than knowing each character's entire bloodline, their family's occupations, and who cleans the toilets in your genre novel's universe?
>Is world building largely pointless and unnecessary
depends on what you do with it
modern fantasy writers have taken the surface trappings of the stuff(genealogies, shit tonne of dates, names, lands and their histories etc) to be the essence of world building. what tolkien did was to create a set of themes and motifs into the history of middle-earth that repeated over and over in different ways, which gave even the smallest story in the universe a place and context within a larger whole.
>falling for the post modern literature is better meme
But won't the world building then be restricted? At that point, you're only coming up with what's relevant to the story, and neglecting any wider world beyond that scope. The audience will be able to tell you're half assing it.
If the writer is skilled and the reader is clever enough, then the reader will be able to determine the important details, including things left unsaid. Nothing else really matters.
I think world building through imagination is better than having to read a bunch of dry appendices to understand wtf they're talking about.
Like in the original Star Wars, the Clone Wars are off handedly mentioned. What are the clone wars? Why did they happen, when did they happen? We don't know, and it doesn't affect the plot, but it gives this idea that there are things out there going on elsewhere, that there's a full world with different stories constantly taking place.
Being "right" or "wrong" doesn't matter when it's a matter of ambiguity.
But it would've been better left unsaid, as we'd all seen.
The author can plan shit out, but it's bad writing to autistically over explain shit that's irrelevant to the plot. It can be alluded to for a sense of scale, but unless it's tied into the plot or theme of the work in a fairly meaningful way it's frivolous.
>The author can plan shit out, but it's bad writing to autistically over explain shit that's irrelevant to the plot.
Okay. But should the author autistically over plan things? I always hear that doing so makes the world more believable, even if it doesn't reach the page ("Tolkien invented a language!").
It depends on what the author's going for. If it's an extraneous mood-setting detail, then it doesn't really need to be expanded on, but if it's something central to the work, then the author likely has a lot in mind for it anyway, even if it doesn't seem to feature much at the surface level.
creating a universe leads to spinoffs, adaptations, video games, etc.
let other people create stories in your world.
we live in an age with potential for infinite saturation and immediate sharing. you don't need to excel in anything substantive because other people can find themselves inspired by your work and make the stories for you. creating a great story might sell a particular book but creating a great universe leads to riches, potentially with nothing more than your approval required. sit back and absorb the praise.
i would rather be the people raking in cash from d&d, wh40k, game of thrones brands than the people making comparative pennies to put pen to paper in these universes.