Worldbuilding for Masochists

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March 19, 2021  

Show Archive

March 19, 2021

Year One

  1. Playing God in Your Spare Time: Introducing Year 1 hosts Marshall Ryan Maresca, Rowenna Miller, and Alexandra Rowland, and asking the question: When it comes to worldbuilding, where do you even start?
  2. Terra Firma and the Firmament: Maps, solar systems, and geology
  3. As Narrated by David Attenborough: Flora and fauna
  4. Civilization and You, with guest Fonda Lee: Basics of civilization-creating
  5. People in a Petri Dish: Populations and demographics
  6. An Interlude with Spreadsheets, with guest Jenn Lyons: Organizing your worldbuilding
  7. Just Shake and Add Magic: Building systems of magic
  8. A Trip over the Tongue: Language, conlangs, and weird words
  9. Picking the Ties that Bind, with guest RJ Theodore: Family structures
  10. Death Becomes Us: Mortality, morbidity, and funeral customs
  11. Threads of Life: Fiber arts
  12. The Play's the Thing, with (then-)guest Cass Morris: Popular culture and entertainment
  13. And Now a Reading from the Sacred Text, with guest Tasha Suri: Religious and sacred practices
  14. Have Yourself a Merry Little Something: Holidays and festivities


  15. Potpourri: Answering listener questions
  16. A Game of Anything but Thrones: Politics and government structures
  17. A Brief History of..., with guest S.A. Chakraborty: The long lens of history
  18. Monuments and Wonders: Wonders of the world, both natural and human-made
  19. Triskadekaphilia: A deep-dive into one of our invented cultures, the Thirteen Families
  20. When Two Wizards Love Each Other Very Much, with guest Cat Sebastian: Sex, desire, and relationships
  21. Medicine and the Concept of the Body, with guest Freya Marske: Medicine, health, and the body
  22. First We Eat, with (then-)guest Cass Morris: Food and mealtime
  23. We Are Gathered Together, with guest Tochi Onyebuchi: Ceremonies and rituals
  24. Dress for the Quest You Want, with guest Melissa Caruso: Clothing and accessories
  25. Rebel Scum and the Evil Empire, with guest Andrea Stewart: Empires, rebellions, and revolutions
  26. Take Pride in your Worldbuilding, with guest K.A. Doore: Crafting a queernorm culture

Year Two

  1. Potpourri 2: 2 Pot, 2 Pourri: Introducing new co-host Cass Morris and answering listener questions
  2. Framing the Concept: Physical art
  3. Cornerstones and Building Blocks: Crafting a city
  4. Fantasy Race and Avoiding Fantasy Racism, with guests K. Tempest Bradford, K.S. Villosoand Sarah Guan: Interrogating questions of race and racism in fantasy worldbuilding
  5. Living by the Sword, with guest Michael R. Underwood: Armed combat and military cultures
  6. There's No Place Like Home, with guest Zoraida Córdova: Domestic spaces and homes
  7. Disability and Inclusion, with guest Elsa Sjunneson: Designing a fantasy world with disabilities in mind
  8. The Reluctant Worldbuilder, with guest Mike Chen: What to do when your instincts aren't to overcomplicate your writing life
  9. The Circle of Life: Youth, aging, and life cycles
  10. Toil and Trouble: Witches and their particular brand of magic
  11. Names Are Hard -- A Deep Dive into WFM's Shared World: Applying the considerations from several past episodes to our co-created world
  12. Writing the Dark Side, with guest Anna Stephens: Antagonists and evil characters
  13. Three-pourri: Another listener questions episode!
  14. The Sacred and the Profane, with guest K. B. Wagers: Etiquette, social contracts, sacralization, and cussing


  15. Myths, Legends, and Other Lies of History, with guests Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms (M.A. Carrick): The stories your characters tell about themselves and their cultures
  16. Life, Worldbuilding, & Everything, with guest Stina Leicht: The craft of working your worldbuilding into your book
  17. Getting There is Half the Fun, with guest Kate Elliott: Transportation and vehicles
  18. Old MacDonald Had a Dragon: Domestic animals and furry companions
  19. Let's Be Diplomatic: Diplomacy and espionage
  20. Join in If You Know the Chorus, with guest C. L. Clark: Texts-within-texts
  21. The Timey-Wimey Episode: The concept, calculation, and charting of the passage of time
  22. That Belongs in a Museum, with guest Marina Lostetter: Artifacts, relics, and other things to dig up, 
  23. An Immodest Proposal: Nudity, modesty, and everything in-between
  24. Playing in Someone Else's Sandbox, with guests Delilah Dawson, Tini Howard, David Mack, and Mike Chen: Writing and worldbuilding within established franchises
  25. Gender, Equality, & Gender Equality, with guest E.J. Beaton: The construction, deconstruction, and reimagination of gender
  26. Pot4ri: Another listener Q&A episode!

Year Three

  1. Worldbuilding 301: Revisiting the basics and talking about how to dig deeper and interrogate further!
  2. Cyberpunk Worldbuilding, with guest PJ Manney: Exploring technology and society in near-alternate-futures
  3. Epic GrimDarkPunk Romance: Narrative and aesthetic conventions of fantasy subgenres
  4. Word Building, with guest Sarah Beth Durst: The nitty-gritty of language -- word choice, cadence, conlangs -- and how it affects worldbuilding
  5. Ask a Necromancer, with guest Amanda Downum: Handling death -- spiritually, emotionally, economically, physically
  6. L'Etat, C'est... Quoi?, with guest C.L. Polk: Government and the shape of nations
  7. Oooh, Shiny! Crafting a World from Shiny Ideas: How much weight of worldbuilding will a narrative bear?
  8. Worldbuilding: The Never-Ending Story: Add-ons, retcons, and other midstream acts of worldbuilding
  9. Worldbuilding: The Search for Intelligent Life, with guest Martha Wells: Aliens, AI, and other non-human intelligence
  10. Otherworldly Worldbuilding, with guest Seanan McGuire: Building a multiverse
  11. It's a Grimdark World After All, with guest Anna Smith Spark: Conventions and misconceptions of the grimdark subgenre
  12. The Times, They Are A-Changin', with guest Fonda Lee: Cultural diaspora, temporal shifts, geopolitical cross-pollination, and other ways of showing societal change
  13. Money Makes The Worldbuilding Go ‘Round: Currency, finance, and wealth
  14. Deep History, with guests Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms (M.A. Carrick): Giving your world lore with deep roots


  15. WorldCon Minisode: A retrospective and thank-you!
  16. Potpour-V: We answer listener questions!
  17. The Sexy Things People Don’t Want You To Think About, with guest Elsa Sjunneson: Obscenity and transgression
  18. Magical Ethics and Ethical Magics, with guest Kate Heartfield: Rules, regulations, and roguery of magical worldbuilding
  19. X Marks the Spot, with guest Peng Shepherd: Cartography and maps
  20. This is Cerulean, Right?, with guest Natania Barron: Fashion, politics, and power
  21. In-Line Worldbuilding, with guest Melissa Caruso: Worldbuilding within the process of writing, rewriting, and revising
  22. FMK Worldbuilding Edition: Making choices about what to include & what to leave out
  23. Worldbuilding beyond Borders: Citizenship, nationality, and group identification
  24. Farm to Table Fantasy, with guest Sarah Gailey: Food production and consumption
  25. Pull a Thread, Build a World, with guest Kritika H. Rao: Finding balance in your worldbuilding ideas
  26. Reimagining Relationships, with guest Foz Meadows: Questioning what love, family, and marriage can mean

Year Four

  1. Building Past the Horizon: Filling in beyond the borders of your central nations
  2. Festivus for the Rest Of Us: Festivals, celebrations, and local traditions
  3. That’s Just Good Policy, with guest Victor Manibo: Law, order, and enforcement
  4. From One-Note Worlds to Complete Space Operas, with guest Valerie Valdes: Crafting adventures in spaaaaaaaaaaace
    82.5: Live from ArmadilloCon!: A bonus episode!
  5. Using Our Vacation Time: Leisure, relaxation, and travel-for-pleasure
  6. Make or Break Worldbuilding Deep Dive: The MNG: Decisions about the tentpole concept of our co-created world
  7. Falling in Love Again... with Worldbuilding, with guest Sara Mueller: Reinvigorating interest in your world
  8. Live at WorldCon!: Questions from a live audience!
  9. Building up Hope, with guest Brandon Crilly: Climate fiction and solarpunk
  10. Hashtag Aesthetic, with guest Mary Robinette Kowal: Developing and defying aesthetic expectations
  11. Stealing the Best Parts of History, with guest Laura Anne Gilman: Incorporating research and inspiration from history