Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Favorite Fantasy Setting

There is an unusual, dark, weird, unique fantasy setting in the story of Coraline, so we're picking our favorite fantasy settings!

So I'm going way off the deep end with this one, friends. Follow me, here. At the heart of why we love books is the fact that we love stories. (Neil Gaiman himself said "We owe it to each other to tell stories.") It's really the essential part of reading, and most other forms of entertainment. And there are other ways of telling stories. For example: video games. They're immersive story-telling.

So instead of choosing Middle Earth, or the Ministry of Magic, or Westeros, or Narnia... I'm choosing Azeroth, the world of World of Warcraft.

For non-gamers, I'll explain that a game like WoW has a huge, overarching story that is moved along with each game update. For example, with the Pandaria release, a whole new continent was discovered. Practically speaking, that means new zones to explore, new quests to complete, new dungeons to run, and a new playable race. But narratively speaking, there's a lot to contend with, too: how does this race fit into the world? Why didn't we ever see this continent before? How do the others discover it? How do they react? How do Pandaren react to being discovered? How do you reconcile them with the rest of Azeroth?

There are named characters who are part of an ongoing narrative. Do you remember Red Shirt Guy from Blizzcon a few years ago? Everyone thought he would be this annoying fanboy, but he actually pointed out an overlooked plot mistake regarding the death (or actually the non-death) of Falstad Wildhammer, beause he read The Shattering (a novelization of some of the stories from WoW). Reading the story and applying it to the playable game got him cheered. People asking a panel questions never get cheered.

The game developers actually put him IN GAME,
next to the character he "saved" (the one they wrote
as dead but who hadn't actually died) as his fact checker.

We read The Night Circus quite some time ago.  But the thing that stands out to me, more than anything about this book, is the setting.

Technically, it takes place in England during the 1800s.  But really, it takes place at the Circus, which has all those amazing, absolutely fantastic tents, where some pretty amazing things happen.  Take the Ice Tent, for instance.  It's this beautiful, shimmering tent where everything is made of ice.  Flowers, trees, everything.

Or how about the maze inside the tent that goes higher and higher, yet simultaneously, brings you down to the bottom.  And let's not forget the fire that never burns out or what about the contortionist that has her own powers?

I can't wait for the movie, because the tents are just the kind of thing that Hollywood is good at and I want to see the circus come alive SO BADLY.


  1. Are they really going to make The Night Circus into a movie? I sure as hell hope so, but it's not looking promising. While that was a fabulous fantasy world, I will have to say that my favorite fantasy world is Narnia. I use to imagine I was going there as a child so it has a lot of resonance with me.

    1. Yeah, it's spattered all over the internet that there's going to be a movie. According to IMDB they've picked a writer & producer. On her website she also mentions that the rights were picked up.

      So, I don't know how SOON it's going to come to fruition, but it looks like they're planning for it, if nothing else.

  2. A setting I liked a lot was from "The Magician". I don't know if you'v read it, but I think you would like it Cassy. It's like Narnia for grown-ups.

    1. Who wrote it? When I type it into google I get about four books called "The Magician."