Top Ten Tuesdays: Fictional Worlds Not Suitable for Housekeeping

I’ve been reading other people’s Top Ten Tuesday posts for quite a while, and always enjoy the lists of books on interesting topics.  This week I’m finally joining in myself!

toptentuesdayHosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week’s topic is: Top Ten Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In

This is an interesting reverse on how I usually look at books–as places I enjoy spending time.  That’s why I read them!  Still, I found some books with worlds I enjoy reading about…but would never want to live in.  Links, naturally, go to reviews, and the order is entirely random.

1) Tarzan’s Jungle, in the Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs – This is an exciting setting for stories, but if I ever found myself here, I’d probably be dead inside of one afternoon.  The first lion would get me, as Burroughs’ characters are constantly scrambling up trees to escape charging lions.  And if a lion didn’t get me, then I’d definitely starve.

2) Jane Austen’s England – Austen gives us lovely, serene stories of elegant women and dashing men…but Shannon Hale’s Austenland convinced me that I would probably run mad with boredom living in Austen’s England.

3) Airstrip One, Oceania, in 1984 by George Orwell – Big Brother is watching everything.  And this is not a pleasant place to live at all.

4) The Districts, in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I don’t suppose this one requires any real explanation?  The Capital controls Districts 1-12, life is nasty, brutish and short, and every year kids are offered up in the Hunger Games.

5) Ceti Alpha V, in To Reign in Hell by Greg Cox – The few minutes of sandstorm we see in The Wrath of Khan are bad enough, but the book gets into far more detail about dwindling water supplies, acidic oceans, and the complete lack of vegetation and animal life–apart from the eels that crawl into people’s ears and drive them mad.

6) Jonas’ Community, in The Giver by Lois Lowry – Life here is controlled, ordered, clean and pristine.  The organizers have removed all doubt, all fear, all negative emotions–and taken away all creativity, individuality and positive emotions too.  No one really feels anything, and most terrifying of all, they don’t even have the vocabulary or understanding to articulate what’s missing.

7) Earth circa 2044, in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – The economy has collapsed, the climate is shifting, and the entire population spends as much time as it can in a virtual world.  The virtual world is pretty amazing, but the outside world is hideous–and all the worse because it feels alarmingly plausible as a future.

8) London circa the Traction Era in Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve – Cities have all gone mobile, which doesn’t mean they’re on cell phones.  They’re all on enormous treads and travel across the Earth.  Like Ceti Alpha V, plant and animal life are all but destroyed, and the cities survive as hostile scavengers preying on each other.

9) Brakebills Academy and/or Fillory, in The Magicians by Lev Grossman – The academy and the magical world of Fillory are clearly set up as deliberate contrasts to, respectively, Hogwarts and Narnia.  As such, they’re crude, uncomfortable and (worst of all) populated by dull, unpleasant characters who spend a lot of time complaining about their existential crises.  I don’t want to live in any of the books on this list, but this is the only book I don’t recommend (with the note that many people love it–so make of that what you will).

10) Earth circa 2083, in Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 – Similar to Ready Player One, in a collapsing economy people have turned towards television for everything, from school to entertainment to hope for a better life.  You might win a scholarship in a game show–or by participating in Historical Survivor, a reality show taken to an extreme, re-enacting history with deaths included.

Whew…it makes the present world look pretty good, doesn’t it?  Have you “spent time” in any of these worlds?  Or do you know of another world that’s good for a visit, but not to live in?

8 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesdays: Fictional Worlds Not Suitable for Housekeeping

  1. Interesting and varied list! The only one of these I’m directly familiar with is Jane Austen’s England, which I would prefer to avoid mainly for the lack of modern hygiene and modern medicine. Oh, and the chauvinism and classism, which would probably drive me up the wall in short order.

  2. I have to agree with you on all the books I’ve read here – 2, 3, 6 and 7 – though I enjoyed the books (and “Austenland”.) I started and I gave up on “The Magicians”.
    Not sure I have a list’s worth of these myself – but I’ve always felt so torn about Pern. On the one hand, fire lizards and Harpers. And on the other, Thread, and a whole lot of misogyny.

  3. Dennis

    If you want to try out a planet that you would defintely never want to call home, try the Tankborn series by Karen Sandler. The twin-sunned world, populated by descendants of Earth inhabitants, features the ultimate lack of social mobility. Society is divided into true-borns, low-borns, and GENS, with the GENS enslaved, and no one with any hope of moving from one caste to another. Well, actually, a tiny number does switch castes, but to reveal how would be a major spoiler.

  4. Of course I agree with the dystopia settings you mentioned, but England in Austen’s time as well! I suppose if that was all I knew I could deal with it and find hobbies, though it wasn’t exactly the best place to be a less than attractive, less than rich woman either.

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