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Favorite fantasy worlds? (and why)

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Sheriff Woody, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Sheriff Woody

    Sheriff Woody Troubadour

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    I did a search and could not find a similar topic.

    Please explain why you like a certain world to help others understand the world a bit more so they can perhaps discover the great stories that take place within those worlds.

    In particular, I would like to discover more fantasy worlds that evoke a true feeling of wonder, like a place I'd really want to spend time exploring and just walking around and discovering things. I think that's absent from a lot of fantasy, at least from what I have been reading lately.
     
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Vala

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    For me it is still Middle Earth.
    So much of it feels like home and as I read it I could imagine all the lands that were visited in The Hobbit and LoTR from land I grew up with.
    I've walked the deep dark forests of Mirkwood and climbed the hills around Weather Top since my childhood. Tolkien just made those English landscapes so much bigger and set wonderful and dangerous stories so deep inside them.
    If any one wants I can take them to an old willow tree just like like the one that swallowed Frodo, Merry, Pippin and Sam. So like it that to this day I won't rest under it.
    Sometimes when I read of other worlds I feel that the author is trying to impress and shock me. Middle Earth isn't like that. I don't get the feeling the world does anything but give scenery to the story. But I also get the feeling that JRRT could take you down any track or river and tell you what was around the next bend...
     
  3. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    This will seem childish and a bit out there, but Dinotopia. It is, without a doubt, the most interesting utopia I have read and I have read a lot more practical and literary utopian fiction, from William Morris to Ursula K. LeGuin. More than anything, I think it is the culture of the setting that does it for me. It doesn't sacrifice diversity for the sake of peace, and I think that is beautiful. The dinosaurs are pretty cool, too.

    From a writer's perspective, I also admire Islandia (from the book of the same name, by Austin Tappan Wright). The book itself is a bit of a drudge, since it is nothing but worldbuilding, but... well, he clearly put in a lot of effort. It's barely fantasy, since there is no magic or anything, but one must admire the extensive worldbuilding effort he put into it. Really well done in terms of leaving no stone unturned. It's impressive.
     
  4. kayd_mon

    kayd_mon Sage

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    Middle Earth has to rank up there for me. Its history seemed so rich, and the places so real. I've wanted to go to the Prancing Pony my whole life.

    The world in ASOIAF has a similar effect on me, though I think I'd be afraid to visit.

    Hogwarts has a draw of its own, as well.

    I will say that though I liked the stories, I didn't want to visit Narnia very much. Not enough people, I guess, and the world seemed too small.
     
  5. Sheriff Woody

    Sheriff Woody Troubadour

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    I love both stories, but Middle-Earth is the clear winner for me. The world of ASOIAF is surely detailed, but apart from The Wall and a select few other areas, it doesn't feel like a fantasy world. I'm sure that's the point of the story, but I tend to prefer stories that take place in a world I would like to explore, a world that promises great discoveries and fantastical places. I like escaping to places that could never exist in our reality.
     
  6. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    The Land in Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever trilogies.

    It is unique, with unique creatures and cultures and histories. How magic is handled is also interesting. My favorite creatures are the Ur-Viles, and their ultimate construct, Vain.
     
  7. Sheriff Woody

    Sheriff Woody Troubadour

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    Apart from cultures and magic, what about the places makes it interesting?
     
  8. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    Many of the places have different names, and even characters, based upon who is naming them. And then the names of some of the characters, High Lord Kevin Landwaster tells a lot. The way the past events (historical) influence the current ones in the storyline, and the different perspectives other characters and cultures take on the struggle. It reads as a very deep and vivid land/world.
     
  9. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    Oh boy...

    I prefer worlds with enough detail built into them to seem 'real'.

    Middle Earth qualifies. It comes across as a believable world with depth and history. These people moved here from that region. Those mounds are graves from an old battlefield which changed the course of history.

    Fiests 'Midkemia' qualifies, though not as strongly. The western kingdom exists because a younger son of a long dead monarch went and conquored it. The cities change in a believable manner over the two hundred year period of the series. The world has a degree of depth.

    LeGuin's EarthSea is a marvel, especially because the books are so short. Each island or group is a believable microcosm: people who live their lives on rafts, fractured noble houses scheming for power on the larger islands, a warlike nation occupying an entire island group. Artefacts of 'old earth' scattered here and there. Believable Dragons with purpose. And the magic seems far more credible than most present day systems.

    The world in GRRM's 'Game of Thrones' also has depth. Many characters dropping tales new and old. He also does something rarely done by present day fantasy authors: the history, while having depth, also has gaps and contradictions. One group says X, another says Y, and both groups are silent about Z. I count this as a strength because that is how real world history really is much of the time.

    The thing these worlds have but which is lacking all to often in present day long series is a 'place for other stories'. Not just the world shattering epic, but tales of heroes and rogues and enchanters who play no real role in the grand quest, but whose exploits are worth reading about all the same.
     
  10. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    Discworld is unmissably awesome. It's got such depth to it, but at the same time a lot of it is subtly parodying elements from the kinds of 1970s and 1980s fantasy best left forgotten. Ankh-Morpork in particular. In some ways it doesn't make a lot of sense - one oft cited example is how there's an Elizabethan playhouse across the river from a Victorian opera house. But around all the confusion and chaos, there's a thread of order that weaves in and out of it which holds it all together against the odds. then there's Lancre, a tiny kingdom which basically consists of the castle, a small town and a couple of small villages, a river, a few witches and Shaun Ogg, who does basically all the castle jobs that in a larger kingdom would have involved dozens of people (except for keeper of the birds, that's Hodgesaaarrgh.)

    Discworld is funny and complex and nonsensical and heavily inspired by the stranger truths of the real world. It is built not on logic and what should happen, but on belief and the way people expect the world to work when they don't really know much about science and how things should work. It is not just built through the imagination of the author, but using imagination as the bricks, as it were.
     
  11. Rhizanthella

    Rhizanthella Sage

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    Middle earth. It is so big and versatile. Well developed and I love the creatures and languages.
     
  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Honestly, I want to say the world I'm creating . . . that probably sounds vain, but I'm really excited about the places I've imagined.

    I love Middle Earth and ASOIAF, but I have to say that for me, the most incredible worlds are found in Final Fantasy games. Just by being a video game you may lose some of the depth, but the originality found all over their settings are incredible.
     
  13. Rhizanthella

    Rhizanthella Sage

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    Hmmm. I wasnt sure if that was an option. I agree, Im very intrigued with my own created world and want to explore it more.
     
  14. Cosmere! All of the worlds in the Cosmere. Roshar (The Way of Kings), Scadrial (Mistborn), Nalthis (Warbreaker), and Sel (Elantris). They are all awesome. I think I love Scadrial from Mistborn best though
     
  15. James Lecky

    James Lecky Dreamer

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    Zothique by Clark Ashton Smith. It's the last continent of a dying earth, far, far in the future, filled with necromancers, cannibals, heroes (sometimes) sorcerers of the blackest kind, lost cities, strange islands and a sense of decay and entropy that is almost palpable. The Zothique stories are dark and grim - although shot through with morbid humour - and Smith's prose is often quite beautiful. The stories were written in the 1930's and 1940's (Smith was a contemporary of both Robert E. Howard and H.P Lovecraft) but are unlike the majority of pulp fiction from that era.
    I've lost count of the number of times I've read the Zothique cycle, so it's certainly a world I like to return to again and again.
     
  16. Lycan999

    Lycan999 Minstrel

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    I would have to agree wit Devor, my own created world is my favorite. Since I made it, of course it fits me perfectly. But the reason I like it is because of the depth and history I have put into it, and also the diversity of creatures and cultures. The more that is in a world the more I find my self being drawn in. I also like Middle-Earth and the Undying Lands, Alagaesia, and if video games are being included, Runescape and Skyrim are interesting as well.
     
  17. SilentNight

    SilentNight Acolyte

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    I really like the world created by David Gemmell in the Drenai saga and corresponding books that occur in the same world.
     
  18. SilentNight

    SilentNight Acolyte

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    Also, I really like Joe Abercrombie's books. So pumped another 4 books are going to be set in his world.
     
  19. Lancelot

    Lancelot Scribe

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    Exactly! He did such a great job of building the world with all the history, scenery, interactions, etc. that it seems more like he had a window into another world and just told us what he experienced. Bless that man for giving us myth in the modern times.
     
  20. Firekeeper

    Firekeeper Troubadour

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    I fully agree. The scope of Tolkien's vision is nothing short of humbling. The thing I love about his work is how complete it is, not everything is imperative to the story itself. There are small things in there that are simply there to give a real world feeling, more than just background scenery. Middle Earth lives like a real world. I've always envisioned a future culture picking up Lord of the Rings and believing they are reading the chronicles of a world that really did exist.
     
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