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Imaginary Homelands
February 21, 2007 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Imaginary places in detail: Start with a wonderful overview of megastructures in science fiction and examine a dictionary of 76 locations from recent fantasy novels. Then move on to the interactive maps: Mordor, Narnia, the Simpson's Springfield, England as seen in many stories, New York in fiction, Lovecraft's New England, maps from almost any video game, Star Trek, the Marvel Universe, and the DC Universe.
posted by blahblahblah (29 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
Tangentially related, but one of the few posts that sticks in my mind from my days in the rec.arts.comics.* groups is this one describing an "American guide to world populations, continent by continent, based on Marvel comics." A choice excerpt:
South America consists largely of Brazil, which is populated entirely by drunken partying men and women in bikinis. The Brazilian calendar contains 360 public holidays a year, all of which are called "carnival." The remainder of South America is extremely poor and populated by drug smugglers, military juntas, and rebels trying to overthrow them.
posted by aaronetc at 9:52 PM on February 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bitchin' post, thank you.
posted by interrobang at 9:54 PM on February 21, 2007


This is totally awesome.

A++++ WOULD CLICK AGAIN.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:55 PM on February 21, 2007


Yes, awesome!

One of the most interesting megastructures in science fiction was almost missed though, Topopolis (apparently, or O'Neill Cylinder). In Niven's article, Bigger Than Worlds, he talks about Topopolis growing from one solar system to another like some kind of cosmic ivy, or fungus, or something.. You just keep adding length, eventually you tie the whole galaxy up in knots of spaghetti!
posted by Chuckles at 10:01 PM on February 21, 2007


What's that sound? It's my geeky little heart going pitter-patter. Fabulous links, thanks!
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 10:03 PM on February 21, 2007


Thinking double, I find that MetaFilter did Fictional ruins from fictional worlds before we ever got to the functioning fictional worlds. And, Starship Dimensions, which looks really cool!
posted by Chuckles at 10:12 PM on February 21, 2007


Great post, great links, thanks!...

And, as a side note after reading the comments, Smilla's Sense of Snark is a great username... lol
posted by amyms at 10:13 PM on February 21, 2007


I'm a gleeful sucker for this shite--- thanks for the fun post!
posted by Dizzy at 10:41 PM on February 21, 2007


For the George R. R. Martin geeks, here are a few maps of prodigious size and anal detail. Fun if you're trying to figure if Deepwood Motte is closer to the Wall than Dreadfort.

(Yes. I am a big giant geek.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:07 PM on February 21, 2007


What, no Discworld?
posted by GavinR at 11:22 PM on February 21, 2007


amyms: thanks! *blushes and bows*

(Really, it's mostly just truth in advertising.)
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 12:55 AM on February 22, 2007


pretty damn nifty
posted by Smedleyman at 1:22 AM on February 22, 2007


Cool stuff... on the Mordor Link, just beside the tower a black sigil appears if you mouseover. Below it is written "Secret Vale" but unlike most of the other things on the page, clicking doesn't bring up any information.

Anyone figure out if there's a way to interact with this "Secret Vale"?
posted by louigi at 1:43 AM on February 22, 2007


For some visual comparison goodness, it's hard to beat Jeff Russell's STARSHIP DIMENSIONS, discussed at least a couple of times here in the blue; the "-2000X" and "BIG" tabs are especially relevant to this discussion.
posted by pax digita at 3:05 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


map of the 40K universe with some TITLE info.
posted by infowar at 5:35 AM on February 22, 2007


Great post, particularly the fictional NYT map. A shame that they didn't mark Nick and Nora's suite in the Normandie.

And now I finally know how Fritz managed to serve Nero Wolfe the freshest lobster bisqe in Manhattan...
posted by Adam White at 5:40 AM on February 22, 2007


You can't map imagination, GavinR.

But here's discworld in cake form:
http://homepages.tesco.net/~janefisk/discworld/discworld.htm
posted by bonecrusher at 5:47 AM on February 22, 2007


I like this choice quote from the section about the megaship -

The US military is also looking into developing a similar-sized ship, but one whose individual modules would sail separately and then assemble into a mega-sized ocean-going air base.

Clearly the Transformers generation has grown up and now has some clout in the Pentagon.
posted by longbaugh at 7:04 AM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is really cool. Thanks.
posted by OmieWise at 7:14 AM on February 22, 2007


Awesome, nice post.

Wanted: map of Gene Wolfe's Urth, from the Books of the New Sun.
posted by sidereal at 9:53 AM on February 22, 2007


Yeah this is all great. I've been living in a universe full of these things for most of my life... in my mind. That's why I'm a concept artist. :)

Galacto-topopolis Megalopolis! Inhabitable Interstellar Spaghetti Tubes!

It's also why I'm of the opinion that we should learn to build at least small permanent space habitats before we start trying to send humans to Mars and other distant parts of our system - the dangers described in this article can be minimized or eliminated by using a large habitat-ship as opposed to the little tin cans we send people up in nowadays.

Highly recommend Jerry Pournelle's anthology The Endless Frontier (wow, you can buy it used for a penny!!) if you wanna get a good set of (dead-tree) primers for this sort of thing. Some entertaining fictional stories amongst the more descriptive papers therein, about people lliving in such habitats.

sidereal, I want that map too. Perhaps I'll make one up, if I can manage some spare time... I'm going to have to try some paintings of places in those books, they're too awesome not to be illustrated somehow.

Home, home on Lagrange...
posted by zoogleplex at 11:00 AM on February 22, 2007


The US military is also looking into developing a similar-sized ship, but one whose individual modules would sail separately and then assemble into a mega-sized ocean-going air base.

Man...if only such ships could get into orbit somehow and assemble into some kind of spaceborne goliath. Something truly gigantic, perhaps incorporating some alien vessel as well. I would have to call such a thing a Super Dimension Fortress.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 11:02 AM on February 22, 2007


Wanted: map of Gene Wolfe's Urth, from the Books of the New Sun.

I don't think the books are set far enough in the future for the continents to have moved much. Rivers and other transient stuff would be another matter.

So, most of the books could be put on a map of South America - mostly in what is now Brazil for that matter. The mountains are the Andes of course. Lake Diuturna (sp) would probaby be some version of Lake Maracaibo. The Ascians come from what is now the USA.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:12 AM on February 22, 2007


"I don't think the books are set far enough in the future for the continents to have moved much."

Well, if the Old Sun is all faded and dim, it's gotta be something like a few billion years in the future, no?

I suppose it could be just a variable phase with the sun dimming out for a while... I recall reading something about it being at least a million years in the future, where there would definitely be some visible continental drift, weathering erosion, and sea level change...

The book describes beaches of green and brown sand which are the pulverized glass of ages before. Pretty wild.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:23 AM on February 22, 2007


Well, if the Old Sun is all faded and dim, it's gotta be something like a few billion years in the future, no?

To geek out completely ...

By Gene Wolfe standards it's made pretty clear that the sun had had a black hole stuck in it some considerable time previously as a punishment for the crimes of humanity against the rest of the galaxy. Hence the need for the "New Sun" white hole.

So billions of years aren't required.

Anyway - I'm pretty sure Wolfe himself has said the most of the book is set in South America, so we can't be talking serious plate tectonic timescales - a million years would be good for standard tectonic shifts of the order of 10km, not enough for major continental changes.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 12:32 PM on February 22, 2007


Nice post! Great stuff.
posted by marginaliana at 1:21 PM on February 22, 2007


It's gratifying to hear from Wolfe readers. thatwhichfalls correctly points out the mechanics of the sun's early demise (and the South American continent location of most of the books), but nevertheless, it's so far flung into the future that digging anywhere yields endless, endless layers of civilization detritus. So, maybe not billions of years, but perhaps a hundred thousand, which is just as difficult to grasp. (stop typing, don't derail) A map of Nessus would make my month.

Nice FPP, enjoyed it.

(pines for Ranjit's old website)
posted by sidereal at 5:34 PM on February 22, 2007


Nerdrection.

My sf/f library salutes you.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 6:46 PM on February 22, 2007


No Gormenghast? (or does that not count?)
posted by amberglow at 11:46 PM on February 22, 2007


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