-Requires Hate on “The Disease of Geek Pride: world-building and cultural appropriation”. Warning: like most of RH’s articles, it’s full of performance rage, but she does raise a lot of good points on how worldbuilding for worldbuilding’s sake can turn into a raging disrespectful mess.
-Tricia Sullivan on “Some Thoughts on SFF and Reality Checks”. A post that tackles some of the same issues as RH’s, in a more moderate tone. As Tricia says: what if authors, through shiny worldbuilding, erase someone else’s reality? What if the Vietnam War becomes replaced by a stream of good American soldiers fighting the evil communists? (or the reverse. Not really saying one is better than the other)
-On the same subject, Marie Brennan has a series of posts on Information Density and whether it is possible to educate the reader away from what they know while keeping a narrative going at full clip: here and here
I guess that, for me, it all boils down to: worldbuilding doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You have obligations not only to produce something cool and shiny to keep your reader entertained–but since your narration will affect other people who read it and shape their idea of the world/the history, you also have an obligation not to distort what you take from, as much as is humanely possible (and “not distorting” can get tricky).
Current mood: thoughtful.