A very good friend gave me a wonderful book recently: Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction by Orson Scott Card, Philip Athans, Jay Lake and the Editors of Writer’s Digest. Not the kind of book to read straight through for pleasure necessarily, but I’m finding it to be a great resource for my writing.
Orson Scott Card’s advice on writing is always top-notch. No surprise there. This learned tome presents quite a bit more high quality information on such topics as Steampunk, Fantasy Cultures, World Cultures, Magic, etc..
Some of the most useful things in this book are general lists of terms and definitions for Dress and Costume, and Arms, Armor, and Armies. I never knew there was a woolen cloth, often ribbed, worn by the wealthy known as “lersey.” I also did not know “cambric” is a fine white linen. And, I definitely had never heard of a “blunderbuss woman”. A blunderbuss, yes, but a blunderbuss woman, no. FYI, that’s a member of an elite female corps under the command of the king of Dahomey, Africa used not just as bodyguards, but on the battlefield as well. Very useful stuff to know writing fantasy.
Highly recommend this book.