I recently read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, about a future where most of humanity spends most of their time in a massive virtual world (stay tuned for a review!) Made up of thousands of planets and universes, there’s a tantalizing mention that many fictional worlds have been created within the virtual universe. Which got me thinking about which fictional universes I’d most like to visit…
Star Trek is an obvious first choice. It’s such an idealized future, both in terms of technology and humanity’s advancement, that it would be an amazing place to live. I’m not so sure about being a tourist there, because I don’t know precisely what I’d like to see–the universe in general is amazing, but isn’t so much big on the landmarks. If I was just visiting, I’d be most interested if I could hang out with the known characters (by which I mostly mean Kirk, Spock and McCoy). It’s a very much character-driven fictional universe for me, and they’re wonderful characters who also live in a really nice universe. So either meeting them or having a whole life there sounds…well, fascinating!
I find more appealing a vacation on Pern, Anne McCaffrey’s dragon world. I’d like to come by long enough to fly dragon-back and visit the Harper Hall for a concert. If I managed to discover that I have musical ability, I could see living at the Harper Hall (the Harpers are, after all, the storytellers), but that’s a big if. It would be a great place to visit, though, and then come home to my air conditioner and indoor plumbing.
I’d also like to visit Discworld, but only with a friendly native guide. I love reading about the corrupt city of Ankh-Morpork, but I know I’d get into an enormous amount of trouble if I was actually there. For one thing, I’m not paid up with the Thieves’ Guild!
I’d like a long trip to Diana Wynne Jones’ Time City, where residents seem to be able to get the best bits of every period of history, from the ancient world on up to 100,000 AD. I’d just be so fascinated to find out about the whole sweep of history. I could see myself spending a very long time in the library (or equivalent) and being perfectly happy.
On first thought I have doubts about going to any of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ worlds–I guess the significant one is Barsoom (or Mars). It is, after all, a rather violent place. I think I’d only want to live there if I could be a Burroughs heroine, because nothing really bad ever happens to them; and, of course, they all get brave, noble Burroughs heroes!
Much as I love Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books, I don’t think I’d much like to live there. There’s magic, but it’s magic in a rather gritty, historical-fiction-type world and, well, see air conditioning and indoor plumbing above. I’d love to visit long enough to meet my favorite characters, but the world itself doesn’t particularly draw me in.
There are lots of other worlds I love reading about, and lots of characters I’d love to meet (which I guess would mean visiting their worlds, but it’s not the world that counts there), but that covers at least some of my top choices for worlds to visit or take up residence in. I know as soon as I post this I’ll think of somewhere else!
It’s funny how in some books, the setting is just the background, and in others, it’s really an integral part, as interesting as anything else. The worlds I’m most drawn to, besides being reasonably pleasant places (for contrast, the world of The Hunger Games? Never want to go there), are also immensely detailed and elaborate worlds. Perhaps I can imagine living there because I can believe in them as places, and because there are plenty of details to be fascinated by.
Your turn! Where would you go if you could?