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  • TOLKIEN calls this process 'subcreation' and it is now, probably, the default fantasy mode and an extremely potent literary approach, whether you denigrate or praise it.

    China Miéville on J.R.R. Tolkien

  • Worldbuilding: The ambiguity in the term "worldbuilding" resides in the fact that it was coined for the craft of creating ordinate realities in the manner of Tolkien's highly methodical "subcreation," largely a matter of blocking, bolstering, gilding and bumphing, but has come to be applied not just to worldscapes generated by worldblazing but to any sufficiently foreign and/or complex fictive milieu, even to milieus that are largely mimetic.

    Archive 2009-12-01

  • Being a writer means you're not just trying to project your own inner self onto the page, but that you have to imaging =other= selves, distinct from yourself or your fictional surrogate, to whose inner lives you have to devote as much time and effort as any other subcreation.

    Writer Geeks

  • "By daring to destroy his subcreation, Abraham regenerates an entire mode of fantasy."

    Daniel's On A Roll (4)

  • Three-quarters of the way through The Long Price Quartet, a journey that began with A Shadow in Summer (2006) and continued through A Betrayal in Winter (2007), Daniel Abraham tosses a spanner into his carefully and lovingly contrived subcreation which ensures that readers will be perched on the edges of their seats for an unfathomable resolution in next year's The Price of Spring . . .

    Daniel's On A Roll (4)

  • A few keep going over to the Titans every day, in their striving subcreation (how can flesh tumble and flow so, and never be any less beautiful?), into the rests of the folksong Death (empty stone rooms), out, and through, and down under the net, down down to the uprising.

    Gravity's Rainbow

  • Worldbuilding gratifies the ego, which identifies the 'self' with its imaginative activity and is happy to see the imagined/constructed self augmented by 'subcreation.'

    Wax Banks

  • What I think of as 'good worldbuilding,' then, isn't really 'worldbuilding' in Harrison's sense of futilely exhaustive 'subcreation.'

    Wax Banks

  • God must abide by His rules, and in the subcreation, so must the subcreator.

  • All becomes subjective, granting the prima subjectiva to be the author who may daily or hourly change her subcreation.


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  • In subcreation, by telling stories or inventing worlds the artist effectively imitates the "Primary Creator."

    --Michael D. C. Drout, 2006, J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, p. 176

    April 11, 2009