World-Building Goes Mainstream

Fictional universes have been the cornerstone of every major franchise from Lord of the Rings to Mass Effect. These universes, these worlds, are developed through something called world-building. World-building has other purposes, though. It’s not meant to stay within the realm of fiction writing, video game design, and so on. Instead, world-building can include a hobbyist’s imaginings, the scientist’s speculations, etc. These imaginings and speculations can become something beautiful, something tangible in our world, where tangible things have become less and less pronounced.

Tangibility is important in our world, where the digital realm has removed us from tangibility. The intangibility of the digital realm, of our world of bullshit jobs, has removed humans from the equation. To bring humans back into the fold, world-building can allow us to imagine worlds, universes really, in unique and interesting ways. We can move away from dominant paradigms, and we can envision the world in a new light. We can imagine what tomorrow will look like. What the past looked like. Moreover, we can fill our times with something imaginable, something tangible.

For those looking to have something tangible, to have something meaningful, world-building provides that. It also provides a chance to explore the human condition, to explore the act of creation. These can lead creators down the inward path into the imaginary. Although some would argue that the imaginary is dangerous, even wasteful, it really isn’t. A productive and vibrant imagination is a must in the twenty-first-century world. Imagination, especially an experiment in world-building, can allow us to answer questions and explore important problems in our time.

Gregory M. Rapp

Gregory M. Rapp

A writer of fiction and nonfiction, a blogger, an avid reader and writer, and gamer.
New Mexico