If you could choose any book or literary world to live in, what would you choose? Tough decision, huh? So many fascinating and inspirational worlds to tickle your fancy. Pretend you are about to be whisked into that world forever, for good or for bad – no coming back.
As a reader and writer of sci-fi and fantasy, I have an almost infinite selection of amazing and alien places. Here are the ones that made my short list:
- Middle Earth: Who wouldn’t want to battle the evils of Mordor, or fall in love with a gorgeous elf, ride the plains of Rohan, wander the spectacular Misty Mountains and ancient forests.
- Lankhmar: Fritz Leiber’s city oozes cosmopolitan decay and debauchery. The life of a rapier-skilled thief is romantic, and Leiber always makes sure that gorgeous women, loot, beer and adventure are endlessly available.
- Amber: To be a prince of Amber (Zelazny) grants the power to shape and distort reality, create and mold your own worlds. If intrigue and politics are not your thing, simply create a paradise somewhere out in Shadow and live there forever with everything you need at hand.
- Anne Rice’s Lestat: She brought the romance and a sense of glamour into vampires, at least for me. No longer are vampires hideous, Nosferatu-like creatures living in dreary castles in the mountains. Now they roam the streets of wonderful cities like New Orleans and Paris. To live forever is tempting if one can forget the mechanism of that immortality.
- Dumas: Of course. Paris in one of its most enlightened and fabulously decadent periods. Never mind the peasants – imagine living the daring, exciting, womanizing life of a Musketeer! Fortune and glory, wine, women and song. Marvelous.
- Neuromancer: Moving into the future – Gibson’s future – the inevitable pre-singularity destiny of mankind, and the ultimate playground for nerds and geeks like myself. Stir in urban sprawl and decay, guns and space travel, and you have a bubbling soup of drama, danger and excitement. Should I be a decker, a fence, a street samurai?
- Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series: Coming out of school, I nearly embarked in a career in The Royal Navy, and ships and exploration have been close to my heart ever since. Imagine being an officer aboard a magnificent man-o-war, protecting the Crown’s interests on the High Seas, hunting the despicable French (and at times the Americans). The respect of the crew, the wind in your hair, and the sight of land after a week battling a bowel-chundering storm. Beat to quarters!
The world I would pack my bags for, the easy winner of them all, is Anne McCaffrey’s Pern.What a wonderfully rich world of weyrs and holds, with the satisfaction of settling a brand new world, the awe-inspiring sight of a wing of dragons overhead, keeping the world safe from searing Thread. I defy anyone who has read the books not to dream of Impressing their own dragon (a gold or bronze I’m sure), and soaring high above the world, ripping between to distant places.
But, I wouldn’t choose to be dragonrider, despite their high profile and command of the skies. I’d be a harper. Now that’s a simple but rewarding, romantic lifestyle, travelling from hold to weyr to craft to spread news, teach and entertain. Everyone wants to listen to the harper, to kick back by the fire after a long day’s work and hear ballads of the ancients. Yes, that is the life I’d choose, forever wandering but knowing that I always had a home to return to in the Harper Hall. Foolishly, I picture myself as Sebell, one of my favourite characters in all the Pern books, and you bet I would go for Menolly!
So where would you choose, and why? Please comment and let me know, I’d love to hear your fantasies (or at least the PG-rated parts of them )