shared world n.

a fictional setting in which multiple authors set their stories, esp. one created for this purpose

SF Criticism

  • 1985 J. C. Bunnell in Dragon Magazine Nov. 32/2

    The stories do not truly mesh into a single setting in the distinctive way necessary for Ithkar Fair to qualify as a shared world.

  • 1987 J. C. Bunnell in Dragon Magazine Mar. 79/3

    Few of the contributors to Bordertown are established in the shared-world category, and the exceptions, Will Shetterly and Emma Bull, come from the well-crafted Liavek books rather than the cadre of writers which dominates most of the other shared-world series.

  • 1988 T. Windling Summation 1987: Fant. in E. Datlow & T. Windling Year's Best Fant. & Sci. Fict. First Ann. Coll. p. xv

    One way of getting around that has been the rise of ‘shared-world’ anthologies, where several writers join together to write stories using a single setting and sharing characters, which readers seem more inclined to pick up than other collections.

  • 1988 G. Wolfe Storeys from Old Hotel Introd. p. 8 Gene Wolfe

    The idea was to make up a fictional city-state (Liavek) with its surrounding geography, technology, religions, laws of magic, and so on and so forth, and to persuade a variety of authors to submit stories laid there; compilations of this rather freakish kind are called shared-world anthologies.

  • 1988 Locus Apr. 31/2

    Notice of last-minute nominations for Nebulas in the Shared World Series category.

  • 1989 D. Langford in GamesMaster June 82/1 David Langford

    Deal mortal blows to the brain by sending ‘shared world anthologies’ in which many writers set stories in the same fictional ‘universe’.

  • 1990 Thrust Winter 9/3

    Given the present tendency toward shared themes and shared worlds, may we imagine a story…in which Somtow’s sophisticated, savage werewolves come up against Card’s red prophet?

  • 1992 Locus June 39/3

    There you are: the first shared-world anthology conceived and written entirely by Nebula Award winners.

  • 1992 Locus Aug. 28/2

    As a rule, shared worlds are to fiction what theme parks are to reality: prefabricated environments.

  • 1993 P. Nicholls & J. Clute Encyclopedia of Science Fiction p. xii/2 John Clute Peter Nicholls bibliography

    We have excluded very few sf authors who have solely written books tied to shared-world endeavours (like Star Wars or Star Trek ).

  • 2018 K. van den Beukel Fallen London: Authorship & Game Allegory in Paradoxa 10

    He [sc. George R. R. Martin] also cites RPG as a collaborative creative experience which directly led to the anthology series Wild Cards (1987), in which different authors contributed stories set within a shared world.


Research requirements

antedating 1985

Earliest cite

John C. Bunnell in Dragon Magazine

Research History
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1988 cite from Gene Wolfe's introduction to his "Storeys From the Old Hotel".
Alexx Kay submitted a 1986 cite from Gardner Dozois' "The Year's Best Science Fiction: Third Annual Collection".
Enoch Forrester submitted a 1985 cite from an article by John C. Bunnell in Dragon Magazine.
Jeff Prucher submitted a cite from the revised Nicholls/Clute "Encyclopedia of SF"; Mike Christie verified it in the 1993 edition and also ascertained that it does not appear in a 1981 reprint of the 1979 first edition.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1988 cite from an article by Terri Windling in Windling and Datlow's 1988 "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror".
Dave Langford submitted a 1989 cite from Langford's reviews column in "GamesMaster".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2018 cite from Karlien van den Beukel.

Last modified 2021-02-12 11:56:12
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.