Top 10 Fictional Worlds I’d Like to Visit (Top 10 Tuesday) (with reasons, gifs, footnotes, and theories as to why I’d leave)

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for Top 10 Tuesday with The Broke and The Bookish. For instructions on how to participate, click here.

Usually there is a theme for the list, but this week is a freebie, which means that we have all picked our own topic. My topic: The Top 10 Fictional Worlds I’d Like to Visit (with reasons, gifs, footnotes, and theories as to why I’d leave)

1. Middle Earth (from The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and LOTR)

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As soon as my feet touched that fantastical grass, I’d be off.
The Shire, Mirkwood, Rivendell, Lorien, and Rohan would be top of my must-see list.
Elves, dwarves, hobbits, food, the clothes, roughing it Fellowship style . . . why would you ever leave?

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I have a theory: Basically, it would be like high school, where everyone in Middle Earth would be the “cool kids table,” and I’d be that person who everyone felt kind of bad for, but still didn’t let sit with them (you know the one, the one trying so hard to be all elvish and awesome, and failing miserably).

That, or I’d get eaten by a spider when I was in Mirkwood.

2. The Enchanted Forest (from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede)

Artist: Peetasokka Image Credit

If I survived Mirkwood, I think a kindlier, more whimsical magic forest might be in order. Dealing with Dragons was (still is) one of my favorite fantasy novels, and it still cracks me up. Cimorene is a kindred spirit, and I would love to help her make buckets of cherries jubilee for the dragons. After that, I would do some exploring, and hopefully not run into any annoying wizards. I’d be sure to carry spray bottles of soapy water with lemon though, as a precaution . . .
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Being polite, sensible, and not prone to eating random plants, I would probably get along just fine in this world. In the end, I’d probably leave because I’d want to see my family.

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3. The alternate 1914 of Leviathan (Scott Westerfeld)

It’s Clankers (they use machines) versus Darwinists (genetic manipulation) on the brink of World War I. Though there were parts of these books I didn’t enjoy so much, I did love the crazy alternate world. It would be fascinating to explore! I would like to travel the world and compare it to actual 1914. I would probably end up leaving because I’d miss my writing and my books. As much as I like writing by hand, I’ll take my laptop back, thank you very much.

4. Camelot (Gerald Morris edition)

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Knights, picking flowers?* I am a King Arthur devotee, in all seriousness. I write retellings, I will read almost anything Arthurian, and I have a passionate love/hate relationship with the stories themselves. That being said, Le Morte d’Arthur is incredibly depressing.** Gerald Morris took all that pathos and ran over it, with scissors and a crazy grin (metaphorically). His knights go on pointless quests, take vows of silence where all they do is talk, and stumble in and out of the Otherworld at random. It is hilarious, and yet it somehow manages to stay true to the spirit of the beloved stories. Also, his version is a little kinder to the ladies. I would probably stick it out here until I was cursed by wandering Fair Folk, or swallowed by an enchanted castle, or something. If I survived that, I’d probably head somewhere a little more “modern” next.

5. Early 1800’s England-a la Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke)

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I sat here in a crisis of indecision over including this or Jane Austen’s 19th century, only to realize that they were basically the same. But JS & MN has magic. As an American of average looks who is too fond of books and lacks sufficient funds, I doubt I’d have much chance at society (unless my book hopping came with magical powers?). Maybe I would just try to get a job as a servant? Perhaps I could pretend to be an heiress . . .

I would love to snoop on Strange and Norrell (though they’d probably discover me, non-magical person that I am). Assuming I didn’t get tired of the mud or my inferior social status (or someone found out I was a fraud), I would explore this version of England until I felt too restricted (or until I got on the fairies’ bad side, whatever happened first).

6. New Pacifica (Diana Peterfreund’s Across a Star-Swept Sea***)

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The islands of New Pacifica, Albion and Galatea, are stand-ins for London and Paris during the French Revolution. Across a Star-Swept Sea is a retelling of/tribute to one of my favorite novels, The Scarlet Pimpernel. Throw in crazy futuristic elements (the sea minks, the fashion, the tech), class unrest (they have good reasons), and a fascinating future world, and it is definitely a place I’d like to visit. The main thing I didn’t like about the novel was the teen romance,**** but if I was exploring the islands, that would be a non-issue. And I really want to see all those lushly described island locations . . . (Pimpernel is a far superior novel, but I don’t fancy visiting the actual French Revolution!).

 I’d fully intend on turning smuggler and helping to spirit people away from certain death. Which is how I’d end up leaving (what does happen if you die in a fantasy world?)

7. The Unwelcome Stranger (which is actually a ship in 1712 [seventeen twelvety] alternate timeline Earth)

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Which brings me to piracy. Long before I understood the moral implications, I really wanted to be a pirate. It was one of my favorite things to play/pretend as a kid (after wood elves!). When I was a teenager, I discovered Tanith Lee’s wonderfully strange pirate fantasy, Piratica. The pirates drink coffee (instead of rum), some of them are actually traveling players, and they really only rob other pirates (and follow silly treasure maps). In other words, it’s all the fun of Treasure Island with none of the serious danger (or scurvy, which is more of a deterrent). I would happily take up with Art and her (mostly) daring crew of ne’er do wells. Always a restless wanderer myself, I’d sail their way until I remembered how badly I wanted an awesome horse.

8. That obscure Caribbean Island from Walter Farley’s Island Stallion

I read everything with horses on the cover when I was younger. I always wanted a horse like the Black Stallion, or Black Beauty, or even the Chincoteague ponies. I would visit the Island and camp out until I got a really awesome horse (which I would somehow manage to smuggle back). If I couldn’t keep the horse, I’d leave, heartbroken.

9. Discworld from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series

They made a play in Chicago!

I confess that I haven’t read every one, but if I had to pick, I’d join up with the Monstrous Regiment ladies, disguised as a man, naturally. Or I would try to have coffee with Death. Or maybe I would just explore the glorious, ridiculous world and talk to its inhabitants. Regardless, Discworld is full of adventure, satire, looniness, and general chaos. I think I would end up leaving because it made me exhausted (or overstimulated)!

10. Harry Potter’s England

I’d want a job at Flourish and Blotts, or failing that, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. I am not above sneaking into Hogwarts. My top priority would be the library! If I had the great good fortune to arrive and find I had wizardly gifts, I would be transported with delight. If not, I’m sure I could still have plenty of fun. One of the best parts of HP is the fabulous alternate world, existing right under Muggle noses. Diagon Alley almost holds more appeal than Hogwarts, if I’m honest, and I’d love to catch a professional Quidditch match. I think I would leave eventually, and maybe start back at Middle Earth?

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Honorable Mentions: Narnia! (Chronicles of Narnia), New Beijing (Lunar Chronicles), Namid (Others Series), London Below (Neverwhere), The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next Series), I could go on forever. There were so many places that I’d want to go that I just went for variety in the end. 

It was hard to pick 10. However, I noticed that a lot of my favorite books weren’t represented (I wouldn’t really like to live in most of them, I suppose). As much as I love books like Rot & Ruin, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, or The Count of Monte Cristo, I am not ashamed to admit that I’d far rather read about a lot of things than live them!

What about you? Are there any fictional worlds you’d love to visit? Do you think you’d actually give up the real one for them (if you could)? How do you think you’d fit into your world choice? Tell me in the comments 🙂

Footnotes: 
*Actually from the soul-destroying (but hilarious) musical Camelot. Lancelot’s disbelief seemed to fit here.
**I prefer the Celtic tales-less drama
***The companion novel, For Darkness Shows the Stars, is a retelling of Persuasion! I read these despite my dislike (loathing) for the author’s other series. ‘Nuff said, I’ll keep it to myself.
****Despite the fact that it’s in essence, a drippy (but not unbelievable) teen romance. I knew that going into it. It says a lot for the book that I liked it anyway.

Top 10 Authors I’d Like to Meet (Top 10 Tuesday)

It’s that time of the week again: Top 10 Tuesday with The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is Top 10 Authors you want to meet. 

Seeing as I live in the backend of nowhere, I haven’t met a lot of big time or international authors. On the other hand, I have a bunch of Michigan author meetings. Regardless, most of the authors I really want to meet are dead, which is slightly more backend of nowhere than West Michigan.

Well duh

I’m still waiting on the TARDIS, so while the Doctor is off saving the universe, I’ll just content myself with a list of living authors I want to meet.
 If any of you have read previous top 10s of mine, you can probably name at least two of them. So I’ll start with one that is not Neil Gaiman or Robin McKinley (though their inclusion is inevitable):

1. Matthew Pearl

If you can’t actually time travel, there are a few authors that make you feel like you can. Matthew Pearl is one of them. I love his historical fiction. I’m reading The Last Bookaneer right now and it’s really good. I am so impressed with his ability to incorporate historical figures and events into his story without changing or contradicting them. The Dante Club is my favorite.

2. Erik Larson

Larson is Pearl’s nonfiction equivalent. Erik Larson writes about history like it’s a first-rate thriller, weaving events together in a way that only a master of research and words can do. With my keen interest in the past, I love any book that makes you feel there, and Larson’s books always do. I would love to learn about all of the things he’s researched for his books. (My favorite is Devil in the White City)

3. J. K. Rowling

Do I have to explain? Is there a reader/writer out there who wouldn’t like to pick Rowling’s brain? Frankly, I’d like to know more about her rejection letters, some of the responses she got from publishers, and why she kept plugging on. I know she’s under a lot of popular pressure now that she’s crazy famous, and it would be interesting to know if she ever misses anonymity.

This is an awesome Zelda cosplay, btw

Naturally, my favorite is Harry Potter.

4. Marissa Meyer

When I randomly picked up Cinder (confession, it was the cover) and saw that it was a cyborg Cinderella, it was a rare insta-buy moment for me. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but you can’t get more up my alley than a cyborg, fairytales, and space combo. The anime influences were a bonus. I’d like to meet Marissa because we like a lot of the same things, and she seems like such a cool person, so open and fun. I’m not sure which one of the Lunar Chronicles I like best, but I am very excited about Winter, and I can’t wait to see what Meyer comes up with next.
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I envy every one of you that lives in a major city, because you’ve probably had a chance to meet Neil Gaiman. Honestly, I’d rather have tea and chat with him than most authors. He is fabulous on the radio, so funny and engaging. I love his novels, and I would be honored to “talk shop” with him. But I’d settle for just meeting him and telling him what an impact his words have had on me (I’m sure that gets old, but what can you do?).

This picture is epic
Jonathan Maberry convinced me to read not one, but 5+ zombie novels. I liked every one of them. That was a major accomplishment. The mixture of action, thrills, philosophy, humor, heart, and wonderful characters in his novels got me (even though I don’t care for zombies). I would like to hear more about why Maberry likes zombies (who knows, he might convince me?), his thoughts on real-world Bushido and samurai history, and I’m not sure if I want to thank him or curse him for Tom Imura.* 
Even if you are a very casual Robin McKinley reader, I dare you to not enjoy her blog. She is a fabulous writer, and her wry sense of humor is in full force on her blog. 
As for her novels, there isn’t much I haven’t already said: I love them. They are lifelong favorites, and I’d love to tell her that in person. My favorite is still The Hero and the Crown, although Chalice is a close second.

8. Susanna Clarke

Susanna Clarke, of course, wrote one of my all-time favorite novels, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. If no one has convinced you to read it, then read this lovely BBC article and reconsider. Susanna Clarke is funny and smart, well read, loves magicians, and is very interested in history. Why wouldn’t I want to meet her?

For more of his work click here

9. D. M. Cornish

Though he is currently in between projects (I think), I love the layered world of Cornish’s Monster Blood Tattoo series.

In addition to writing a fantasy series with a rich world and fascinating characters, D. M. Cornish can draw. The series ( a bit like Oliver Twist with monster hunters and the moors of a Bronte novel) is completely illustrated by Cornish. Which is awesome.

I don’t really know much about Megan Whalen Turner besides the basics. What I do know is that she wrote one of my favorite series in the history of the world: The Queen’s Thief series. I love her characters, her writing style, and again, her love of history. I’d like to sit down and get all the details on the series, the characters, and her inspiration. 

So that’s all for this week. Did you have any of the same authors, or have you met any of them? Which authors would you like to meet and why?

Cheers!
Footnotes:
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