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Oct 25

Fictional worlds to escape to

Posted on Sunday, October 25, 2015 in Fandom

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about being able to (literally) escape into a fantasy world – that is a book or other fandom universe – and it occurred to me that the books I love (or other fandoms) don’t necessarily provide a good safe world to live in.

For instance, as much as I love Tolkien’s world in LOTR or even The Hobbit, I doubt if I’d like to live there. Unless there was some era that was very peaceful and prosperous (and so didn’t provide material for a very good story, but a better living environment).

The same goes for many of my favorite fictional worlds.

Take Gregory Frost’s Shadowbridge – an incredibly fascinating ‘universe’ but not one where I’d feel safe, unfortunately.

It’s the same with Tad Williams’ The War of the Flowers. Such a fascinating world, but not a very pleasant one for humans. (In case you haven’t read it, it’s about a variety of Faerie.

Also, the Sabriel/Abhorsen series by Garth Nix about the Old Kingdom. On the ‘civilised’ side of the Wall, I’d probably be able to live quite well, but it seems to be set at the beginning of the 20th century so that’s probably not very equal, unfortunatey.

However, I was thinking that Dinotopia would be just right to escape to. It’s a really interesting and beautiful world, yet it’s also more or less safe and pleasant to live in. I’d love to take everything and just go there and never come back.

Ursula K LeGuin’s Earthsea would probably work too, but I’m not too happy about the lack of equality for women on most islands.

I realize that I’ve just mentioned books so far, so I’ll just throw in Star Trek (TNG, Voyager etc). That world would probably be great to live in, if I didn’t end up in any of the war zones. After all, they have replicators, medical tricorders and a more or less completely equal society, not only between the sexes, but also in other ways. There’s no poverty, no currency even (in the Federation anyway).

Some of Diana Wynne Jones’ books will probably do as well, for instance her Chrestomanci series. As long as I didn’t get involved in any magical crisis. Unfortunately, I probably don’t have any talent at all for magic and if I did, it would probably be weak and/or sort of backwards.

I can’t say that I feel as strongly about Maria Lang/Dagmar Lange’s mystery classics, but close enough. To me it’s a very harmless, safe, yet fun world. It ‘looks’ colorful in my mind’s eye. The only drawback would be the lack of equality between the sexes. Of course, Puck doesn’t have to deal with that. Her two guys treat her really well so she probably doesn’t even know other women face discrimination.

To sum this up: I think it’s a tie between Dinotopia and Star Trek. Either would work great if I could only find a way to sneak in and never come back.

Dec 11

The Backworlds by M Pax

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 in Books, Reviews, Science Fiction

I just finished The Backworlds by M Pax. Since I read books mainly to escape from my boring reality, I love books that provide such an escape. This one does. I also love characters that are likeable and Рyou guessed it Рthese are.

The setting is far into the future when many planets have been colonized – some are less hospitable than others (the ‘backworlds’) as opposed to the supposedly more habitable Foreworlds. You find out that there’s been a war between the foreworlders and the backworlders, but that’s pretty much all you learn about the Foreworlders.

The main character is what seems to be a teenage boy/young man, who has been working for several years in his father’s bar. He belongs to an interesting bioengineered species that isn’t completely human, with ‘living hair’ and some sort of short fur that is pleasant to the touch.

Since life is harsh in the ‘backworlds’, Craze’s father, ungratefully, decides to make his son leave, after taking the younger man’s girlfriend from him.¬† To make sure Craze really leaves, he sets the leaders of their small community on him, with something like cattle prods. Craze is forced to board a ship heading for a space junction, where he will be able to choose his own destination.

Fortunately, Craze meets some very nice avian guys with a ship of their own, who decide to hire him as part of their crew.

People (I use the term loosely) in this ‘universe’ seem to be a bit dishonest but not ruthless enough to kill others, at least not most of them. To me that’s very important. I can’t stress enough how tired I am of ruthless, cruel, cold characters. To me it’s necessary to be able to sympathize with the characters to be able to finish the book (and look forward to reading another by the same author).

I give this book four out of five stars (it’s a relatively short, simple plot), for the fascinating setting, the fascinating characters and excellent writing.

May 6

Escape to fantasy…

Posted on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 in Other

The only people who have a reason for objecting to escape are jailers.

~ Terry Pratchett


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