I'm not a huge fan of Sci-Fi, but I have my favorites. Having just read Wool, I started thinking about my favorite Fantasy and Sci-Fi authors and why I like them.
As you know from my past posts, I really like Vernor Vinge and George R.R. Martin. I like them because they are great at world building. Constructing an entire world from nothing, with its own problems, people and concerns. I think these two are the best of the best at this. Hugh Howley did a good job with Wool, but the world was a pretty tight little world. More like building an aquarium, not a whole world. One of the worst well known authors is Neal Stephenson. Go read Anathema and try to be impressed.
I bring this up for two reasons. First I read this article from a blog I like called The Kill Zone that was entitled 5 Tips on World Building from Scratch. It's a decent article and well worth a look. The second reason is that I am shying away from writing a novel, Soul Food, because the idea of world building is so scary. This would be a huge undertaking and having never tried it, I'm a tad overwhelmed by the idea. I wonder if there is some way to try a small world building exercise.