Saw this done by a friend on LJ, and thought it might make a good memelike thing*: if you could live in a fantasy setting of your choosing, which one — based on fantasy novels you’ve read — would it be?
Because not just anybody’s wonderland would be wonderful for me, after all. I’m going to just skip the ones where there are no black people, because I can’t see how it would be particularly wonderful to be treated as “exotic” — and abnormal. This does not, note, rule out all wonderlands that resemble medieval Europe; a lot depends on how realistically that resemblance is handled, since the real medieval Europe had Moors and whatnot running all over the place. But obviously wonderlands like Tolkien’s fantasy Europe are right out, since I’m not interested in being mistaken for a Southron and run through on some nice Gondorean’s sword. That’s quite apart from the fact that there’s something really wrong with that world — it keeps changing shape. Used to be flat, now it’s round; what’s next, a tetrahedron? Creepy.
My LJ friend included science fictional worlds, so that gives me a bit more to choose from — but I think I’ll narrow that down to at least science fiction/fantasy blends, otherwise this post will be twenty screens long. And just for shits ‘n’ giggles, I’m going to toss in videogame worlds and manga worlds. And here are my picks:
- Pern: (Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders serieseseses) Pros: Dragons and fire lizards! Cons: problematic fungal life. Plus, Pern’s society is a little too unequal for my tastes; wouldn’t want to end up as a drudge or green dragonrider. ::shudder of horror:: Maybe in the earlier eras, when the Pernese still retained some of their colonial egalitarianism.
- Erna: (C. S. Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy). Pros: Anybody can do magic! Cons: Anybody can do magic. Though maybe if I get there after the trilogy ends, it wouldn’t be so bad. Sounds very pretty there. And there’s that whole other continent full of black people! Hopefully they’re not being manipulated by aliens anymore.
- Earth-post-Wraeththu: (Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu) Sounds great, if you’re Wraeththu or Kamagrian. Human, not so much. And apparently the entire southern hemisphere has been nuked… eh… actually, it doesn’t sound great.
- Unnamed world of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus — and the forthcoming the Last Guardian, eeee!!!: Pro: an utterly beautiful, magical world. Cons: …full of shadow-monsters and giant statues that try to kill you. Huh. Still, as long as I don’t go looking for them, they probably won’t come after me. Unless I suddenly grow horns.
- Spira, from Final Fantasy X: Another utterly beautiful world. I guess I figure that if I’ve got to live where monsters and magic will attack me — a significant con, but pretty much par for the course in wonderland — I might as well take in some very nice scenery in the process.
- London a la Kate Griffin: whom you should be reading. Who’s to say we aren’t living in that world already? I visited London back in October. Felt plenty magical to me.
- Alt-Earth a la Kate Elliott, specifically “the Spiritwalkers Trilogy”: Yet and still more beauty, even up in still-Ice-Age steampunk Europa. Minor drawbacks to life there, like zombies, killer ice magicians, oppressive regimes, random attacks by the Wild Hunt, the chance of accidentally falling into the spirit world any moment and being EATEN… huh. Eh. Hrrrm.
- Unnamed world of Alaya Dawn Johnson’s “the Spirt Binders Trilogy”: A gorgeous archipelago world, this one Polynesianesque, and which sounds idyllic as long as none of the great spirits that power their world don’t break free and trash the place. Maybe I could live in between some of those events?
- Alt-Earth a la Naomi Novik’s Temeraire novels: Like our Earth, but with dragons, and where colonialism has failed? Sign me the hell up.
- Out-World, Mid-World, or In-World; Stephen King’s Dark Tower septet: HELL. NO. Not even if I had a gun.
- Alt-Earth a la any Shin Megami Tensei game or spinoff series: Haven’t played Strange Journey yet (deadlines, deadlines). But considering that most SMTs start off in a bad place — like, oh, the end of the world and complete eradication of 99.9999% of humanity — I’m thinking no on this one. Though granted, I might survive by getting some really cool tats.
- Heaven, a la CLAMP’s RG Veda: Only if I get to be a god, somebody shows me how to use a sword, and I stay the everliving hell away from any children found inside creepy Giger-esque cocoons in the middle of the forest.
- Amestris: from Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist. This one almost didn’t make the list, because Amestris is basically a steampunk-with-magic version of Germany during the Third Reich. They’re not targeting people who look like me — in fact there are a number of black people in the Amestrian army, so they’re obviously considered to be welcome there — but I don’t want to be anywhere that genocidal campaigns are taking place and condoned by the populace. Maybe I could be a resistance fighter there, and hang out with the Elric brothers? Gah, no — those boys get into too much danger, and there’s too much collateral damage around them.
- Alt-Earth a la the Harry Potter books: As with Kate Griffin’s London, how do we know we’re not already there?
So what fantasy worlds would you choose to live in?
* The psychologist and armchair historian in me feels obliged to point out that the way “meme” gets used in the blogosphere is totally wrong. All that said, meme away.