Sunday, May 1, 2022

Book Review: Putting the Fact In Fantasy

A collection of essays from historians, linguists, martial artists, and other experts to help you write more compelling fantasy by getting the facts right

Whether it's correctly naming the parts of a horse, knowing how lords and ladies address one another, or building a realistic fantasy army, getting the details right takes fantasy writing to the next level. Featuring some of the most popular articles from Dan Koboldt’s Fact in Fantasy blog as well as several never-before-seen essays, this book gives aspiring and established fantasy writers alike an essential foundation to the fascinating history and cultures of our own world, which serve as a jumping-off point for more inspired and convincing fantasy.

This nonfiction resource for writers will be released on May 3, 2022. The publisher Penguin Random House provided me an early galley in exchange for an honest review.

The foreword by Scott Lynch could easily have come from my own background. As a kid, I was always writing stories (or at least starting them) after being inspired by something I watched or read. What was glaringly obvious in my earliest attempts, which I still have buried in a filing cabinet here in my man-cave, is the fact that I was not researching anything to give the work any sort of grounded authenticity in facts.

Yes, worlds of fantasy and science-fiction are wonderous and beyond the rules of the everyday one in which we live, but there is still a lot of everyday stuff in them that needs to be portrayed accurately. As Eric Primm points out in the introduction, it is critical that when a writer is world-building that it is in fact believable and functional. And for that, we need to turn to expert sources. This is where this collection of over forty essays from Dan Koboldt and many others comes into play.

From the American old west to medieval Europe, this book has you covered. Aspects of life like religion, ruling structures, and common causes of death, among other things, are also discussed. There is even a whole section devoted to horses. What I liked too is that many of the essays provide additional references for more details on that topic. All in all, this definitely is a resource that I could find myself going back to time and time again as my writing needs dictate.

For more even more tips on these topics, look no further than Dan Koboldt's blog -

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