Inspired by the World of Oz in the 1930s, Science Fiction worlds in the 1940s, and Tolkien's Middle Earth in the 1950s, Douglass Parker started looking for references about the design of these worlds. One very popular feature is the world map -- an outline of journeys to unfold. They also have journey stories, tracking a quest or journey through the world.
Over 60 years Parker compiled a library, with a nonfiction core that reached 2000 books, and came to think of them as defining a field of knowledge that he called parageography (`beyond geography'). The idea of parageography is to go beyond a world map (geography), and get at the world design.
Over 25 years at the University of Texas, from 1982 to 2007, he taught a course about this also. It made a tour of about 20 great worlds through history, with required reading of source texts. It became a worldbuilding course: for the final project students had to build their own creative world.
This put the students on a Worldbuilder's Journey -- a project of their own design, taking them on a worldbuilding quest. This was among the most successful aspects of the course, and helped it stay popular for 25 years.
This book offers a rough outline, or roadmap, for similar courses that combine a tour of great worlds across history with a worldbuilding project. It describes what the roadmap accomplishes, and why the course project worked out well. The roadmap idea is explained briefly below.
The book also includes material about getting started in worldbuilding.
This is a `hyperbook' -- a PDF ebook with links to resources. It gives a way to share materials from the course and library, available to everyone.
The book includes a number of updated bibliographies about different aspects of worldbuilding, as well as course readings.
The book is also an overview of the two companion hyperbooks (available at this site), about the parageography course and library.
Attribution License: this PDF eBook is freely-downloadable with CC-BY license (free copying, distribution, display of the work & making derivative works provided you credit this work). It's enough to cite as: Douglass Parker, The Worldbuilder's Journey, 2019 (douglassparker.org).
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