Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we all talk about a bookish topic and have fun making lists. This week we’re enthusing about settings we’d like to visit.
World-building. It’s one of my favourite things, but it’s amazing how hard I had to think when posed the questions of which worlds I’d actually like to visit. So many worlds are brilliant settings for the story that is told in them – but they’re not necessarily that interesting if you’re not the hero, or local nobility, or at least wealthy.
Some settings really require you to be a local (and I’m not a Raksura, however intriguing their world may be); others are… so close to home it feels odd to consider it. Would I like to go to a Nazareth market in PC Grant’s London? Of course; but I’d be wishing I could do magic or were not entirely human at the same time.
And let’s not kid ourselves. Many fantasy settings would be pretty rubbish to visit: cold, smelly, violent and basic. What can I say, I’m an unapologetic fan of indoor plumbing. Still, I think I’m going to have to be prepared to be flexible about that this week…
No surprises that Riverside, the City and the Land around it go straight on my list. Yes, it may involve chamber pots, and yes, it will be far more comfortable if we just assume I have plenty of money to throw around – but I’m beguiled by swordsmen and tomato pies and scholars and chocolate. And – increasingly – I’m fascinated by the broader world-building beyond the Land. I would want to go to Chartil and Binkiinha too!
The City of Elua is pretty much irresistible: sure, we see it mostly through the eyes of the nobility, but the overwhelming impression is one of graceful buildings, friendly people, and good food. And the culture is fascinating; imagine being there for Longest Night…
I’m not a sailor, but I adore being at sea. The idea of exploring the many island nations of Earthsea is enticing. There’s plenty of scope to get into trouble, but I’d go in a heartbeat to walk the cobbled streets of Roke and to see the Sword of Erreth-Akbe flash atop the towers of Havnor and to celebrate the Long Dance and taste the many dishes of the Reaches.
You want to pick your timing here – we only see Red London in crisis in the Shades of Magic trilogy – but there’s no hiding that it’s a fascinating place. Mundane as I am, no doubt I’d fall in love fast and hard, delighted by the colours and the magic in the very air. This one really does sound like a holiday. Just try getting me home at the end of it!
I don’t care that there’s no indoor plumbing, I want to see the White Tower of Gondor and the Golden Hall of Edoras and the city of the Dwarrowdelf. But I also want to see Rivendell, and Lothlorien in springtime, and Numenor and Gondolin and Beleriand that fell long ago. Honestly, it’s all architecture and history with me. And I’ll probably not be able to see anything for the tears of joy in my eyes the whole time.
I know, I know. Dubious plumbing. Definitely best enjoyed with plenty of money. Even more enjoyable if the heroes cook for you. And no doubt I’d be penniless before I crossed my first bridge, and horrified by large parts of the broader world, but… a chance to see the Elderglass marvels at Falselight. To drink alchemical cocktails. It’s worth the risk.
I love a good space opera and a desire to visit The Culture should go without saying (there, I’ve said it), but the Galactic Commons are just as enticing: I’d want to at least visit with the Exodan fleet of the Human diaspora; the Aandrisk world of Hashkath and of course pay a call at the melting pot of Port Coriol. Drink mek, make friends. Perfect.
The Night Circus
This doesn’t even have to be an extended trip – just a good night out. Damn straight I’ve got a red scarf all ready for the occasion, and an open heart ready to enjoy the marvels of the circus. I really must reread this gem – I’ve only read it once, and it waited until the last chapter to absolutely destroy me.
While Arbonne is beautiful (although… you can basically experience it by going to the South of France), the allure here is to spend an evening listening to troubadours and jongleurs sing whilst eating olives and drinking a good wine. This is about finding heart’s ease under a bright moon, and hopefully not waking up with too sore a head the next day.
This is a tricky one, because visiting Faerie is a terrible idea. Fairies, faeries or Fae, they’re glamorous tricksters and humans are at best playthings and at worst prey. Even picking a particular Fairyland is tricky (Cat Valente’s is fun, but Elizabeth Bear‘s is probably closer to my idea of Faerie; or Mark Chadbourn’s, but I doubt I’d survive that). But… I’ve always wanted to go to Faerie. It can only end badly for me; but perhaps if I follow Gaiman’s Instructions I’ll be okay.
What worlds would you visit?