- Taschenbuch: 374 Seiten
- Verlag: Yonagu Books (9. Oktober 2010)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0984470034
- ISBN-13: 978-0984470037
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 2,2 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 228.255 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Planet Construction Kit (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 9. Oktober 2010
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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Mark Rosenfelder is a conlanger, creator of zompist.com and author of the Language Construction Kit.
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The book seems to focus on steering the reader away from cliches and other mistakes, sparking creativity, and providing a range of options in places where the reader might get stuck. The amount of details provided is remarkable, but the level of detail is uneven--in a given subject, we might get a general overview, a fine level of attention to certain specifics, or sometimes both at once (determined, apparently, by the author's interests and level of expertise). This is probably unavoidable, given the ambitious scope of the book, which is both its strength and its weakness. Rosenfelder's last book, The Language Construction Kit, was devoted to the single subject of inventing languages, so it shouldn't be surprising that a book on inventing "everything else" should have some gaps. I wonder, for example, if he would have been better off doing one book on planets and another on cultures.
A word about the section on illustration and 3-D modeling: first of all, this section covers pages 298-347, so keep in mind (if this stuff doesn't interest you) that before you get to that section, there are 297 pages worth of content devoted to other subjects. The illustration section is aimed at people who want to draw pictures of their world, but have little or no artistic ability. I think this target audience will find it useful; others probably won't.
Overall, consider this a crash course on a ton of different subjects that one should know about in order to create a fictional world the right way. If that's what you are looking for, then I recommend this book. It has its flaws, but overall I consider it a good resource and a good value.
A personal note: I'm in the later stages of creating my own fantasy world. I did it the hard way--which involved spending several years researching nearly all of the subjects this book covers. If that appeals to you, then you can probably skip this purchase. As for me, I don't regret doing the legwork, but if I had had this book a long time ago, I could have focused my research more effectively, and saved myself a lot of time and effort!
But while it makes you ask yourself the right questions about how countries and cultures work, it doesn't always gives you much to answer those questions. Most of the information given is trivia, and you still have to do lots of research to really find how to make things works.
And there's that part on drawing and 3D modeling. I... really wish that part of the book didn't exist. It's one thing to draw for yourself and show it to people and say "I did this". But if you want to tell people how *they* could draw, you need to be good, really good. And while Mark Rosenfelder is talented in many things, his drawing are far from perfect and I'm not sure I want any kind of drawing lessons from him.
As for the 3D modeling part... yeah. No. Using textures? I don't think that was needed. I would have liked the book much more if those two chapters hadn't been there and if other parts had had more pages (like the Astronomy&Geology part which was too short for my tastes)
Still, a nice book, full of ideas on how to make your world work, and that's all I wanted.
I bought it mostly for the portion literally referred to in the title: the physics of designing a planet with proper geological, meteorological and astronomical details. The chapter on Astronomy and Geology is actually rather short. It gives a lot of information about plausible planetology, but rather than helping you simply answer questions like "How can I design a believable desert world?" (other than the note that planets shouldn't be monoclimates) or "What if I have a planet orbiting a red sun?", you actually need to work out all the details of axial tilt, rotation, and the like, plus there is a section on designing your planet's tectonic plates. (!) If you are that sort of absolutely thorough designer who wants everything specified down to the last detail, the PCK won't leave any area unaddressed, but it's not a quick reference for sketching out a few quick details about your world.
That's the major flaw with this book: it's a kitchen sink with everything. There are chapters on designing the physical planet, creating maps, designing life forms (sentient and otherwise), societies, histories, military and religion, technology, and so on. There is a lot of salient information here, but it comes in the form of long essays and examples from Earth's history and the author's own fantasy world. There's nothing much here that you can skim quickly to answer a few questions about the world you're building; it's more like a textbook than a reference guide.
Overall, I found it pretty well written and often interesting, but Rosenfelder could have used some serious editing to chop this book down to a much more concise volume with the same amount of information. The last few chapters actually talk about illustration and 3D modeling -- seriously, there's a "How to draw people" chapter! That's 30+ pages that could have been replaced with a couple of references in the bibliography. No one is buying a Planet Construction Kit because they want drawing lessons.
Worth the money? Yes, but I was a bit disappointed as the Language Construction Kit, while also a bit bloated, stuck more closely to its topic. The Planet Construction Kit is very bloated, and requires a whole lot of reading to extract the nuggets of information you want.
*This book has a lot of points to get you thinking about your world and help you work out what to do next. I particularly like the "What it was...what it is" exercise.
*The author spends a lot of time on the "right" way to make maps. The "right" way being satellite-style typographic maps. Telling anyone the "right" way to conduct their art rubs me the wrong way. My maps are done in the style of the cultures of the areas represented and that is what I need to see to fuel my creative processes. I bear no grudge against those who want highly realistic typographical maps, or simple pencil sketches, or anything else but the author could have been a little more thoughtful of others art styles.
*There's no table of contents or chapter breaks which makes finding a specific topic very hard. As I've read I've placed bookmarks at all the major chapter breaks to help myself along but it would have been nice to have that done for me.
*The author seems to assume that you are familiar with his writing and conlangs as he frequently uses words spelled out in his conscripts with no explanation (that I saw) as to how these are pronounced.
*The book is written from a decidedly evolutionary point of view with some odd little paragraphs "For Christians" (not quite sure what the deal is with that). Along that line, the whenever a negative example is needed the author seems to find something wrong with the writings of Tolkien. Not that Tolkien's writing is perfect, but the authors seems highly biased against him.
All in All:
For me this book was useful in getting my gears turning but there was a lot of skimming between the high points. It was worth the price on an ebook but not a hardcopy. Your mileage may vary.