top of page

Worlds Apart. No elf is an island. Understanding worldbuilding through system thinking

Luna's fifth Call for Papers, Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction is now in pre-order and will be released on Tuesday 27th of July. Here is a chance to discover the 14 brilliant papers you will find in the book in the order they appear.

Today, we would like to introduce you to Ricardo Victoria-Uribe and Martha Elba González-Alcaraz, presenting the paper: "No elf is an island. Understanding worldbuilding through system thinking"


Worldbuilding, the act of creating a world for fictional characters to live in and narratives to take place, comes as the result of interconnecting a series of elements – such as food, weather, history, geography, folklore, and even fashion. This helps to inform the reader through subtle cues and detailed explanations of the kind of world where the story, the characters, and the setting exist, while also providing a sense of tangibility. When done properly, worldbuilding can elicit on the audience an attachment to the work in question, generating discussions about how those elements play into the narrative created by the author(s) of a given work. It can be argued that this is because worldbuilding is reminiscent of our reality, in the sense that several interconnected elements and subsystems form the structure of the world surrounding us. System thinking, a discipline born from biology and mathematics, allows us to identify and understand the patterns that conform to our world, in order to find solutions to complex problems or situations. It also helps us to understand how the context of a given situation, might affect its outcome. Thus, system thinking can be a powerful tool to examine existing works of science fiction and fantasy (SFF) as well as to develop the skills needed by an author to create an engaging, coherent work of fiction. This paper aims to explain what system thinking is and how it can be used to gain a better understanding of worldbuilding as an activity, both as a reader or as a creator of an SFF work. Ricardo Victoria Uribe. Mexican writer, lives in Toluca, State of Mexico. Studied Industrial Design at the School of Architecture & Design of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, where he currently works as lecturer focused on sustainability. Holds a Ph.D. in Design from Loughborough University. He is one of the founding members of Inklings Press, an indie publisher of short stories anthologies of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and horror. His short story “Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon”, co-written with author and fellow Inklings Press co-founder Brent A. Harris, was nominated for the 2016 Sidewise Awards for Alternate History. His horror story “Bone Peyote” was featured at The Wicked Library Podcast. Other short stories have been featured in anthologies by indie outfits such as Inklings Press, Rivenstone Press and Aradia Publishing. In August of 2019 his debut science fantasy novel Tempest Blades: the Withered King was published by Shadow Dragon Press, an imprint of Artemesia Publishing, LLC. It was listed as finalist for the 2020 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. The sequel Tempest Blades: The Cursed Titans will be published in August of 2021.

Martha Elba González Alcaraz. Mexican writer, lives in Zapopan, Jalisco. Studied Pharmacobiologist Chemistry at the School of Chemistry of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico. Holds an MBA from the University of the Valley of Mexico. She has published two stories with Inklings Press as one of the first authors featured in their anthologies. While she works in the medical device industry, she also works as freelancer proofreader and translator. She is currently working on a short story collection.

Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction

is now in pre-order!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page