Friday, February 12, 2021

Fantasy Locales I'd Love to Live In

 It's week TWO of February is Fantasy Month! This week's topic comes from Jenelle Schmidt's #fantasymonth challenge; specifically, we're answering the question what fandom do you love enough to want to live in that world? Astonishingly, I've never written on this topic before — I did a post about worlds I'd like to visit ages ago, back when the Underground was still green, I'd just discovered the Books of Bayern, and we still thought Christopher Hopper was going to write a sequel to The Sky Riders. And, yes, if you look at the question from the idealistic point of view, the list of fantasy worlds I'd want to visit and fantasy worlds I'd want to live in is pretty much the same. But if you look at it from a practical standpoint, taking into account not just how cool the world is and how interesting the people are but also what it would be like to actually live there, well, that's another question entirely with very different criteria and substantially different answers. So let's get to answering it — and before you ask, yes, the following answers are in rank order.

(As a note, I'm disqualifying any world that is explicitly "Earth, but magic." Picking one of those worlds feels like cheating.)

Fantasy Locales I'd Love to Live In

  1. Amara (Donita K. Paul's DragonKeeper Chronicles). I'm pretty sure that, out of all the fantasy worlds I've read about and love, Amara (and its neighbor, Chiril) would be one of the best, if not the best, one to actually live in, whether you're an adventurer or just an ordinary person. You've got a pretty good standard of living even if you're not in a city, a slightly higher technology level than that of the average medieval fantasy world, and an actual stable, functioning government and society with laws based on solid theological and moral principles (which is unreasonably rare). Also, there are so many dragons. Specifically, so many friendly dragons, including minor dragons (who are small and adorable and have I mentioned lately that I want one) who live and work alongside not just adventurers but ordinary people. It's not like everyone has a dragon, but you don't have to be an adventurer to have one. Even if you are an adventurer, though, the casualty rate on quests tends to be low, the average wizard you might meet is probably friendly-ish and reasonably helpful, if decidedly quirky, and thanks to the magic of hollows and, well, magic in general, you'll probably have better food and more comfort than you would on adventures in most other worlds. All in all, it seems like an excellent place to live.
  2. Glause or New Civet (W.R. Gingell's Two Monarchies Sequence). These are technically two neighboring countries, but I don't know what their world is called, so . . . we're going with it. In any case, this world feels a lot like Ingary from Howl's Moving Castle, but a little more modern and even more magic-rich. And I reeeeeaaaaaally like magic-rich worlds. I mean, if you're going to move to a fantasy world, you might as well pick one where magic is as common as technology is here. And while I certainly wouldn't want to get mixed up in the high society of either country, I think I could manage quite well as an ordinary person.
  3. Era Two Scadrial (Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series). A lot of Sanderson's worlds meet the main criteria for this list (decent standard of living even if you're not rich, functional government and society (bonus points for a non-corrupt government), reasonably good food, magic-rich, good odds of indoor plumbing). At that point, I go back to how interesting the world is and how much I think I would actually enjoy living there, and that question got me down to a tie between two options: second-era Scadrial or present-era Roshar. Both would be very interesting places to live, and I think I'd have a decent chance in either place of making a living by writing. (Novels on Roshar are common enough to be owned even by lower classes; Scadrial has its newspaper serials and probably also novels. Side note, I really wish newspaper serial stories were still a thing, both because I'd like to read them and because I think they'd be fun to write, and no, posting a week-by-week story on the blog is not the same.) That said, Roshar has the distinct disadvantage of having been at war basically forever, and that is . . . not my jam. Plus, living in a country where half the population is literally illiterate might drive me crazy. So, Scadrial wins out by virtue of no war and smart men.
  4. Innsjøby/Solorele (my own The Midnight Show). (Technical note — Solorele is a country, not a world. But I can't remember if I named this world yet, and I don't feel like digging through my notes, so we're going with it.) Is this cheating? I feel like it might be cheating, but I genuinely think I would have a great time living in the world of The Midnight Show, whether or not I had author powers when I was there. Innsøby, the specific city in which the book takes place, would be a lot of fun — it's a very colorful city, it's a significant center of arts and culture where there's always something new to do or see, and as anyone who read The Midnight Show knows, it offers a lot of good food. It's also the only other place on this list besides Scadrial where I'm confident I could make a living primarily as a writer and designer . . . plus I'd never have to deal with the frustration of waking up just when a dream got interesting, since I wouldn't remember I'd been dreaming.
  5. The Spires (Jim Butcher's The Aeronaut's Windlass). It meets all the criteria, and it has airships. Airships aren't as awesome as dragons, but they come pretty close. Especially these airships, which take that term far more literally than most interpretations do. Granted, if we're being truly realistic, I'd be very unlikely to ever get to ride in an airship — travel between Spires doesn't seem super common — but a girl can hope.

Were you surprised by the worlds that made my list? What fantasy worlds would you want to live in if you could, either idealistically or practically speaking? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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