Researching Science Fiction and Fantasy

in History to

Make Your World-Building Magnificent

You brilliant person! You figured out that if you check on the real Middle Ages or Renaissance, your world kind of like that can be far more convincing than if you try to build it out of movies and half-forgotten fairy tales. Steampunk doesn't look so goofy and amateurish if you get a real idea of steam tech and life in the 19th century. It doesn't matter if your dieselpunk world has anti-grav vehicles: if you want to make it convincingly dieselpunk, and not just trying to force the matter for fashionability, you need to get familiar with the language, tech, and demeanour of the actual inspirational period.

While I have some pages in 50 Books (being fond of Near History settings), I'm going to point you at the proper Historical Novelist Center pages, now that I'm hosting them.

Of course, if you're doing alternative history, just start reading back where your world splits. Doing a 21st century Roman Empire means you have to start juggling things back around the turn of eras, and having the Empire survive won't effect climate change. It may mean figuring out what happened when the Mongol recon in force under Subotai checked things out: did his Khan decide this looked better than China? Was there a meeting of two great war machines? Is that what your story is about?

In the HNC pages, these are the links to the most central bibliography. At the bottom of that page, you will find links to source pages (books of the time), specialty areas (whether Vikings or Outre-Mer or England or Naval reference) or essays, on anything from wearing a corset to colour names of the time.



50 Books:

HNC pages


50 Books:

HNC pages

  • Renaissance & Reformation, 1450 to 1670
  • Georgian England and Ancien Regime France, 1670 to 1790
  • Steampunk

    50 Books:

    HNC pages


    50 Books:

    HNC pages

    Swing Age & World War Two, 1934 to 1947


    HNC pages


    Hope this helps!

    copyright Holly Ingraham


    50 Books for:

    The Peloponnese, 396 BC 

     Early Viking, c. 850

    The First Crusade, Outre-Mer 1098 

     The Hundred Years War, France1352

    Richelieuan France, 1630

    Pirate Caribbean, 1670 

    Napoleonic London Highlife 1803

    Regency London Highlife 1817

    Victorian New York 1898

    Check the Near History sample guides. There's more to read, but mostly lighter stuff, as well as lots more in video. A few appropriate movies from a year are much easier to get through than a detail biography of a president and will tell you more about ordinary life.

    Return to introduction.



    More Near History Lists 

    1926 New York

    1931 New York

    1934 New York

    1937+ Los Angeles

    1937+ Europe

    1943 New York

    1940+ Europe


     1940+ London

    Return to introduction.