Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Five Most Vivid Worlds/Settings in Books

Welcome to today's Top Ten Tuesday!

1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Whatever else can be said about her writing, not many can match J.K. Rowling for detail. Her creative settings, as much as her relatable characters, are what make her works so engrossing. I remember having a strong obsession with Diagon Alley, and my writing class students often choose Hogwarts or King's Cross Station or the Forbidden Forest for their setting description assignments, because these places are already so vivid in their minds that they can elaborate where she left off.

2. Middle Earth

As a dedicated student and instructor of Middle Earth Geography (yes, this really happened), I would be remiss not to include Middle Earth. No one accuses Tolkien of skimping on description, and the maps add a whole other dimension that thousands of later fantasy books have aped, mostly to lesser effect.

3. Dune

Whether it's the desert planet Arrakis (a.k.a. Dune) itself, the Harkonnen home world, the water world Caladan, Chapterhouse, or the various other planets in Frank Herbert's universe, every 'thopter, every sandworm, every melange trip, feels visceral.

4. The Winter Palace

The setting is the name of the book, so it's no surprise that the palace, and its predecessor, are stars. The whole building symbolizes the extravagance, and corruption, that lies at the heart of the Russian court.

5. Eternal Sky

Each kingdom in Elizabeth Bear's new trilogy has its own distinct terrain, fitted to the people and method of governing, and so crucial that mountain-dwelling Samarkar feels stifled under Temur's sky, which he likewise can barely breathe without.

I'm tired and that's it for today, folks.

In other news, I've finished Ian Tregellis' The Coldest War , sent for review from Tor publishers. That review should be up shortly. In the meantime, I've stalled on School of Night in favor of re-reading for the class I'm teaching and travel magazines for currently futile travel plans, but excellent daydreams.

2 comments:

Tanya Patrice said...

Awesome picks. I've only read Harry Potter from your list, and loved the World building.

Amy said...

Yes, Dune, absolutely! I thought about including it on my list, but it's been so long since I read it that I couldn't remember a lot of detail. But the desert planet, Arrakis, and its bleak harshness, has stuck with me.