This companion provides a definitive and cutting-edge guide to the study of imaginary and virtual worlds across a range of media, including literature, television, film, and games. From the Star Trek universe, Thomas More’s classic Utopia, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Arda, to elaborate, user-created game worlds like Minecraft, contributors present interdisciplinary perspectives on authorship, world structure/design, and narrative. The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds offers new approaches to imaginary worlds as an art form and cultural phenomenon, explorations of the technical and creative dimensions of world-building, and studies of specific worlds and worldbuilders.

part |64 pages

Content and Story

chapter |9 pages

Locations and Borders

chapter |10 pages

The Hero’s Journey

chapter 3|9 pages

Invented Languages

chapter 4|7 pages

Invented Cultures

chapter 5|8 pages


chapter 6|6 pages

Narrative Fabric

chapter 7|5 pages


chapter 8|9 pages


part |86 pages

Form and Structure

chapter 9|7 pages

World Design

chapter 10|8 pages

Ontological Rules

chapter 11|8 pages

World Completeness

chapter 12|8 pages

World Consistency

chapter 13|9 pages

Geography and Maps

chapter 14|8 pages

History and Timelines

chapter 15|12 pages


chapter 16|7 pages


chapter 17|7 pages


chapter 18|10 pages

World-Building Tools

part |55 pages

Types of Worlds

chapter 19|8 pages

Island Worlds

chapter 20|8 pages

Underground Worlds

chapter 21|8 pages


chapter 22|7 pages

Utopias and Dystopias

chapter 24|6 pages

Virtual Worlds

part |107 pages

Authorship and Reception

chapter |7 pages


chapter |8 pages


chapter |10 pages


chapter |10 pages


chapter |18 pages


chapter |7 pages


chapter |10 pages

Worlds as Satire

chapter |7 pages

Worlds as Paracosms

chapter |7 pages

Worlds as Experiments

chapter |9 pages

Worlds and Politics

part |118 pages

Worlds and World-Builders

chapter 37|8 pages

More’s Utopia

chapter 38|7 pages

Cavendish’s Blazing-World

chapter 42|8 pages

Defontenay’s Starian System

chapter 43|10 pages

Baum’s Oz

chapter 44|8 pages

Wright’s Islandia

chapter 45|8 pages

Tolkien’s Arda

chapter 46|9 pages

Roddenberry’s Star Trek Galaxy

chapter 47|8 pages

Lucas’s Star Wars Galaxy

chapter 48|8 pages

Linden Lab’s Second Life

chapter 49|15 pages

Persson’s Minecraft

chapter 50|8 pages

Hello Game’s No Man’s Sky