09 May 2015

The Encyclopædia Elyden

Today’s post is about the good-old The Encyclopædia Elyden, something I’ve been beavering away at, on and off, for the past 10-years or so, now. More on the history of the The Encyclopædia  can be found HERE.

What I’m posting today is a link to the first chapter of the first volume, the entire A-listing of the volume, to give an idea of what I’m aiming at, and, if possible, in the hopes of getting some feedback on presentation and flavour.

I’m aiming for an old Encyclopædia Britannica feel to it, with entries not too specific and intended to be read-in world (so in writing them I hoped to convey an in-world feel, with no blatant real-world references.

I’m constantly updating the book with new entries as I write fiction or add regions to the map or add new creatures or titles or what-not, so it’s a constant evolving work, though I am hoping to soon come up with a template for entries so that, for instance, all entries pertaining to map locations adhere to the same format. That will help tie entries together, though I hope to also include some ‘faux’ imperfections, like researcher error or printer’s errors, though that will necessitate 2 versions – one in-world version for readers and another master version for myself, and keeping the two updated might be a bit too much work for now.

My goal is to one day print this, at least for myself, so that I can have some physical proof that my worldbuilding was not wasted. I’d love to publish it, but worry it might be a bit too wordy.
Which brings me to the point of this – anyone out there in the ether of the internet, can you please give me your opinion about such a book? I intend to add some simple woodcut style iages for some of the animals, maps for nations and heraldry and other simple designs, though nothing veering too close to contemporary illustration – so no blatantly digital images, for instance.

Would that interest readers?

Anyway, here’s the link to the first (A) entry of the Document
(please note the first 2 pages are blank)


  1. This is amazing! The sheer amount of work you've put in is staggering! As someone who loves this sort of thing (bought the facsimile edition of Whitaker's almanac the other week, and am currently going through it), I would love to see this. Woodcut style images would be a great addition. One thing I noticed whilst looking through your document, the second to last entry is Azriar, and states that it is a petrified city. What is meant by this?

    Thanks for the read!

  2. Hi Thomas. I'm a big fan of reproduction copies, and own the 1611 King James bible reproduction as well as the 1768 Encyclopedia Britannica reproduction. I might just have to add that almanac to them!

    One of the goals of the encyclopedia is to offer a sometimes mystical outlook on certain regions of the world, which is a fantasy setting, after all. Like in the real-world in ancient times, with cartographers adding 'here be dragons' or inventing strange races to unexplored regions. I can imagine the encyclopedia's author (in the world of Elyden) using detailing some exotic regions using nothing more than hearsay and third (or forth, or fifth...) hand accounts of dubious explorers or traders.

    That was the idea with this city, was something along those lines so it's either 1) petrified in the same sense as pompeii (ie, frozen in time) or, 2) the world is influenced by 2 magical forces which are positioned in antipodes - one is the Firmament the other is the Atramenta. The Firmament has petrifying properties (amongst others) and those caught in regions so-afflicted will find themselves petrified (or worse, half petrified). Sometimes cites might lie in the path of such petrifying energies and may end up petrified.

    Other than that, it's left to the reader's interpretation and imagination

    1. So is the atramenta what used to be the penumbra? Am I right in thinking that has a mutating property?

      the facsimile edition is great. It is faithfully reproduced and even contains adverts for all manner of things at the back. It was published in 1869, and focuses particularly on economy and trading, as well as other statistics such as population and so forth. It is very Anglo-centric, and under the information about each country it states the worth of exports and imports to and from the UK. It also contains a brief history of the world, recent scientific discoveries, "extraordinary" happenings, as well as a host of other stuff. Definitely worth a read!

  3. Yeah, that's exactly it and yeah, it does. basically they're opposites. the Atramenta promotes change whilst the Firmament promotes stagnation, though these manifest in various ways

  4. The sheer amount of work put into this is staggering. I struggle to believe there are twenty-five such things. Absolutely amazing. I like the layout of it, and I also think woodcut-style images would be a great edition. I would love to buy something like this.

    I have seen the name flying around quite a bit; who is the Undying Machine? Is it Rachanael?

    Thanks for sharing your amazing imagination!

    1. Hi Ian! Thanks for the comment. Work is sporadic at best, though I was able to add about 5000 words this past week. Docent seem like much but this isn't like normal writing. I have to cross reference other entries, update maps, add details to timeline etc.

      And Yes the Undying Machine is Rachanael, but he's fussy and doesn't like using his birth name :p

    2. 5,000 words is a lot more than I could manage! I tremble at the thought of cross-referencing half a million words - it sounds slightly terrifying, albeit in a fascinating way! Another thing I was wondering about is Melchior - who is he, and has he succeeded Malichar? I noticed in the abbreviations bit the "RMe" referring to the reign of Melchior, which piqued my curiosity.

    3. hmm you've placed me in an interesting predicament, though it's my fault.

      This whole project began with an epic novel that got abandoned in favour of smaller stories and a bigger focus on the worldbuilding itself. The original epic novel (imagined as a 7-volume set because.. .well, why not, everyone dis doing it) was going to track the adventures of a youth from Temuja who would learn of the distant Korachani empire (the god of which is The Undying Machine) and whose actions would topple the empire and its god, in the process sacrificing himself and rising in place of the god (long story, though in a nutshell, without the Undying Machine, or more specifically an Undying Machine), entombed within the mechanism that sustained the original god.

      That was of course meant to be the shocking climax of an envisioned series and loses a lot of its oomph with it being in the open, though even if I do get to those novels, theywill now take a very different form, taking a multi-character pov rather than a singular view as it originally was, so his ultimate twist/sacrifice will not be as shocking (especially since it will likely be heavily foreshadowed).

      I spent a long time trying to fill the encyclopaedia with misinformation (and it will still have some outdated info and blatant misinformation) to cover up that face though i reasoned its so big a change that the writers of the book would know it, tothe detriment of my potential novel series! ah well. once something' on the internet there's no going back.