First off, let me admit I’m going to break the rules. I’ve decided these ’11-question’ games or memes or whatever you call them offer too much fodder for discussion to be used up in a single blog post. So instead I’m going to use each question as a launching point for a single post. And just like that, I have topics for 11 separate posts — say one a week — which will keep me going quite a while!
I will, however, follow some of the formalities first up. Massive thanks to both Alina Sayre and Elaine Smothers for tagging me in the game. But here I begin my naughtiness. If you want to know what the questions are, and what I’m supposed to be doing with them, check out Alina’s and Elaine’s posts respectively. Mwahaha!
And now onto contemplation of the first question, which is: If you could live in a fictional world, where would that be?
OMG, now you see why I want to devote a whole post to this?
I have been a devoted reader of the fantasy genre for as long as I can remember. There are probably hundreds of amazing fictional worlds I would very much love to explore for myself. The discovery of an imaginary world is one of my favourite aspects of reading fantasy — and is probably one of the drivers for me to write it as well. The creation of a world from scratch is thrilling.
As I write this, dozens upon dozens of worlds from novels are cascading through my brain: the Pliocene epoch of Julian May’s Saga of the Exiles, Stephen Donaldson’s The Land, the world Robin Hobb created for her Farseer, Liveship Traders, Tawny Man and Rain Wild Chronicles books, Jacqueline Carey’s Terre D’Ange and surrounds, Tolkien’s Middle Earth, JK Rowling’s Harry-Potter-world… and so many more.
And then of course we have the fictional worlds of the screen: the Pandora of Avatar, the Galactic Empire of the Star Wars series, the world of Farscape… eek!
As a reader, I invariably get the most enjoyment out of novels with superior — what I label three-dimensional — worldbuilding, because they make me want desperately to go there. Hey, they sometimes make me feel as though I am already there! When reading a novel is like taking an armchair tour of a different place, I’m in heaven.
But would I want to live in any of them?
It so happens that most of the worlds I become enamoured of are pre-industrial. Ergo, no hot water (er, no running water even!), no central heating, strong chance of inequality among both classes and sexes, heaps of manual labour (unless you’re really rich), prevalence of disease… On the up-side, no polution, no processed food, gorgeous clothes, potentially magic, adventure…
I can’t decide.
The question makes me think of another of my all-time favourite fantasy series — Stephen Donaldson’s Mordant’s Need duology. In the first book, The mirror of her dreams, Terisa Morgan steps from our world through a mirror at the behest of an earnest young man who magically appears out of a mirror in her living room.
The world Terisa arrives in is civilised and elegant, if still pre-industrial. She is treated as someone important. Her guest rooms in the sprawling castle seem comfortable (except for the secret doorway into tunnels behind the walls out of which pop strange men in the middle of the night), she has a maid assigned to her, and audiences with the king. The castle even has gravity-fed running (if not hot) water, courtesy of an elevated reservoir. (OK, the engineering of this is not really explored… Thinking on it now, I question such a massive body of water being located effectively in the ceiling…)
There is magic in the form of mirrors that are doorways into other worlds. There is love in the form of the earnest young man. (There is also lots of pain and torture and near-death and saving the world.)
At the end of the second book, A man rides through, Terisa decides to stay. (oops – spoiler!) She has the option to return to our world; but chooses her new life, where she has the power to effect change, to matter, and of course there’s the earnest young man. 🙂 (Geraden is very endearing, and not at all your usual sort of hero, yet hero nonetheless.)
If I were Terisa, I would have stayed too, all things considered.
I know I haven’t really answered the question. If I had to choose one world to live in, right now, I would probably nominate… no, I can’t! I don’t know which one!
What about you? How much of a fictitious world would be too much? Which ones would you most like to visit? And are there any circumstances under which you’d stay?