Imaginary Places
August 1, 2007 9:31 AM   Subscribe

If you like looking at maps of imaginary places, you should take a peek at the Fantasy Atlas, a German-language collection of maps of literary fantasy and sci-fi worlds. For a more obsessive (but just as interesting) take on maps of imaginary places, you can check out the work of Adrian Leskiw, who's been creating road maps of non-existent places since the age of 3. (Previously on Metafilter.)
posted by dersins (31 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
That first link might be neat IF I COULD SPEAK GERMAN.
posted by tadellin at 9:51 AM on August 1, 2007


Right, because it's really hard to figure out the English equivalent of things like "LeGuin Ursula K." and "Moorcock Michael" and "Tolkien J. R. R."
posted by dersins at 9:58 AM on August 1, 2007


Well, the column headings are translated into english, the authors names are unaltered, and since many of the place names are made-up they're untranslated as well. I do speak a bit of german, but I think the first link would be usable by most people who were familiar with the source material.

The untranslated column heading Verlag means 'publisher.'
posted by jedicus at 10:00 AM on August 1, 2007


I've seen Adrian Leskiw's stuff before - it's always a little dissapointing because his maps are so.... mundane. They're still fascinating, and I got really excited when I saw his new stuff which includes maps of his recent project in the year 2040 - my brain instantly said, "Spaceports! Trans-Atlantic bridges! Cold Fusion reactor facilities!" and then I clicked on it and it's all like, "Rest area! Highway interchange! National monuments!"

:(
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:01 AM on August 1, 2007


No Niven. No Heinlein. No Pratchett. WTF.
posted by DU at 10:02 AM on August 1, 2007


Of course, for off-line thrills, and encyclopaedic coverage of classical fantastical lands, nothing beats Manguel's Dictionary of Imaginary Places. And to keep DU happy, any atlas should be supplemented by a guide to the fauna.
posted by djfiander at 10:13 AM on August 1, 2007


I love me some maps, but I love maps in languages I can't read somewhat less.

"I think the first link would be usable by most people who were familiar with the source material."

For values of "most people" equal to "people who can read German maps".

Thanks anyway, I think it's an awesome concept despite the language barrier.
posted by majick at 10:13 AM on August 1, 2007


The Brampton/Cardin Provinces map made me smile as they're clearly drawn by someone much more accustomed to a UK or eastern US population density. Somebody wake me when the Canadian government has the budget to carpet an entire province with that many expressways.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:19 AM on August 1, 2007


I love me some maps, real or fictional. Great post.
posted by desjardins at 10:34 AM on August 1, 2007


oops, didn't even preview majick's comment.

me and majick loves us some maps.
posted by desjardins at 10:35 AM on August 1, 2007


I like that Leskiw puts plenty of points of interest in his maps to make driving those imaginary roads worthwhile.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 10:36 AM on August 1, 2007


The music is the main theme from Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
posted by nthdegx at 10:37 AM on August 1, 2007


While I don't mean to be crass, I have to ask, does this fellow have a touch of autism (or, perhaps, Aspberger's)?

The brother of an old co-worker of mine--profoundly autistic--had a thing for road maps, too. Also, highway route shields/signs.
posted by John of Michigan at 11:32 AM on August 1, 2007


No China Miéville? No Jeff Vandermeer?
posted by tkchrist at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2007


I have the distinctly unsettling feeling that Mr Leskiw spends his afternoons in large grocery stores carefully lifting boxes of toothpicks in the non-food aisle and earnestly informing other nervous passing shoppers whether the box he's holding at the time is up or down a toothpick.

But at least he's off the street.
posted by Mike D at 12:32 PM on August 1, 2007


What? It doesn't include Christopher Paolini? How can I snark about this if it doesn't include the maps from Eragon?
posted by JHarris at 12:39 PM on August 1, 2007


There was a Peter Greenaway short about maps that I wish I could find...
posted by klangklangston at 12:51 PM on August 1, 2007


Bonus points for the first link for including Steven Erikson. Loses those points and more for not including George RR Martin. Could have scored points for including Scott Lynch. Still, a nice collection. Those Middle Earth maps sure are purty.
posted by Ber at 1:06 PM on August 1, 2007


Are you talking about "A walk through", klang?

It's on this compilation.
posted by dersins at 1:09 PM on August 1, 2007


John, I have no idea if Leskiw is autistic or not, but I think your experience is pretty anecdotal. Geography/cartography geeks are not, in my experience in 10 years of working with and associating with them, antisocial or more prone to autism.

Disclaimer: I love me some maps.
posted by desjardins at 1:10 PM on August 1, 2007


Anyone who enjoys his geeky hobby too much has Aspberger's. The internet taught me that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:12 PM on August 1, 2007


Yeah, dershins (man, I get you and desjardins confused, and now you're right next to each other!), that's the one. And that's the comp that I saw it on, which I took out from the library for my last acid adventure... It's really great stuff.
posted by klangklangston at 1:29 PM on August 1, 2007


No China Miéville? No Jeff Vandermeer?

Miéville already has a map of New Crobuzon in Perdido Street Station. (No freeways... I'm surprised Mayor Rudgutter hasn't thought of them. Clearing slums, fattening the pockets of your cronies; there are plenty of opportunities.)

Ambergris appears to have only one street. You could have a cartoony Chamber of Commerce strip map of Albumuth Boulevard with sponsored graphics (Borges Bookstore, etc.) and little squids and mushrooms.

Now underground with the gray caps... that would be a useful map.
posted by kurumi at 1:46 PM on August 1, 2007


klangklangston: dersins is the cool one; I'm apparently the one with Asperger's.
posted by desjardins at 1:49 PM on August 1, 2007


dersins is the cool one

I know each of those words individually, but strung together in that order I am having a deal deal of difficulty parsing them...
posted by dersins at 1:54 PM on August 1, 2007


I know each of those words individually, but strung together in that order I am having a deal deal of difficulty parsing them...

Watch out -- I believe that's one of the symptoms of Asperger's.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:09 PM on August 1, 2007


The mundane nature of Leskiw's maps only makes them seem more mysterious. There's no fantastic story of dragons and wizards to explain the effort - simply the laborious and exacting work of naming towns, designing roads, and drawing up a map, as its own purpose. Weirdly haunting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:31 PM on August 1, 2007


Hmmm... happy to see Paula Volsky has German fans. I guess that shouldn't surprise me.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:10 PM on August 1, 2007


Anyone who enjoys his geeky hobby too much has Aspberger's. The internet taught me that.

Well, maybe he's into drawing pretty pictures and he's a completely well-adjusted man. That'd be great. Seeing the level of detail AND the fact that this seems nearly completely divorced from reality reminds me a little of the land of Angelinia, "discovered" and painted and written about by Henry Darger.

Geeky hobby? No doubt.
posted by John of Michigan at 3:45 PM on August 1, 2007


Whoa. That Henry Darger stuff is freaky.
posted by dersins at 4:24 PM on August 1, 2007


What I love about these is how you find yourself imagining these places while you study the maps. I actually thought, "Wow, those bridges are longer than the ones in the Keys!" when I saw the island bridges at the lower left of this map, and then I realized, Adrian FTW.

I wonder if he's picturing the places as real topography while he makes them up, or if he thinks purely in map symbols.
posted by BoringPostcards at 5:52 PM on August 1, 2007


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