I came up with this month’s prompt, a return of the Teens Can Write Too! blog chain after many months of silence, so I damn well had to remember to answer it. The prompt was this:
Which fictional world would you most like to be a part of, and what role do you think you would fulfil within it?
Okay, so I don’t know if any of you have read Jasper Fforde’s ‘Thursday Next’ series, though if you haven’t you totally should, but basically in those there’s this thing called the BookWorld. It’s pretty much what would happen if Inkheart and Douglas Adams collided – hilarity with other people’s fictional characters and worlds.
Anyway, the thing about the BookWorld is that the more developed and complete the worldbuilding within the novel’s canon, the more interesting a place it is to live. If the whole story takes place on one street, that’s all the world contains; if nothing is described there’ll just be empty spaces.
I’m pretty sure by that logic the world of 90% of YA dystopias would only include the US, since apparently the rest of the world doesn’t exist in those post-apocalyptic scenarios. Or maybe we’re just chugging on happily instead of killing children? Whatever. If a world is incomplete, you can get to the edges of it pretty quickly.
So by that logic, I’d probably go for Middle Earth. I know, it’s the obvious choice. Several people along the chain have already named it, but that’s just a sign of how amazingly well-developed it is. It’s got geography (not just maps, but varying terrain, weather, and food). It’s got languages (with their own linguistic and grammatical rules, created by someone who knew what he was doing – not an incomplete language used for spellcasting that’s a total rip-off of Gaelic, naming no names). It’s got history and mythological canon and a creation story and different races and some sort of economy with trade between different peoples. It’s got literature and entertainment: we know about parties and food and enjoyment, not just danger and adventure.
In other words, if you were walking around the Tolkien BookWorld, there’d be very few blank spaces. The trees would be just as real up close as they are from a distance; they wouldn’t turn into fuzziness the closer you get.
In order to have a full and complete life, therefore, I’d go for Middle Earth. I think most likely I’d be an elf. I’ve thought about this, because I’m pretty short, but I couldn’t be a hobbit – I detest mushrooms and generally don’t eat much, even if I do walk barefoot most of the time. I’d prefer to live at Rivendell than the Shire, because it’s quieter and more suited to an introvert. The Shire seems very energetic.
I also recently took up the harp, so I could totally be an elf. As for what I’d do, I don’t know. I’d like to say I could be an archer, because I’ve got some training in that, but I haven’t shot a bow in six months due to my wrist problems. Most likely I’d be a musician or a poet, since those utilise my existing skills. I think they do require elves to lift a finger every now and again, but I don’t get the impression ‘having a job’ is really a thing in Middle Earth the way it is here; it must be quite a peaceful existence.
However, if completeness wasn’t quite such a concern, there are other worlds that fascinate me. I’d love to be a LEPrecon officer like Holly Short in the Artemis Fowl novels: I looked up to her a great deal when I was young, and cosplayed her before I knew what cosplay was. I don’t think I’m brave enough to actually fulfil that role and I’d probably have a desk job or work elsewhere in Haven, but I still find that world fascinating.
I also love Tir n’a nOg (I’ve probably spelt that wrong) in The New Policeman by Kate Thompson and its sequels. It’s a very laid back world with musicians and dancers. But on reflection, I think it would frustrate me, because nothing would ever get done, and I’m too restless to enjoy that sort of existence. I’d be like Aengus Og, constantly popping through into the human world.
Just looking at my bookshelves, I can see hundreds of other worlds I’d like to enter. Discworld, for example, must be pretty complete. The alternate history of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series is just glorious. The Wizarding world’s fine while you’re at school, but I don’t much fancy any of the jobs that seem to be on offer once you leave, so that would be problematic – kids leaving Hogwarts don’t have the qualifications to get a job in the Muggle world, so what do you do then? The world of the sidhe in Tithe by Holly Black is decadent and frightening, but would be fascinating to at least visit; the same for Coldtown in her latest novel, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown, which is awesome.
… admittedly, the harp is only borrowed at this stage, though I’ll be acquiring my own towards the end of January; I’m self-taught and I’ve had it since Friday, so I’m abysmal and the only things I can play so far are Misty Mountains from the soundtrack to The Hobbit and The Rains of Castamere from Game of Thrones, but still. Harps + Tolkien fan = instant Elvish citizenship, right?
Oh, and by the way? You should all totally* read Jasper Fforde’s books, even if it’s only so this post makes a little more sense. They’re hilarious.
Here’s the rest of the chain!
4th December ~ http://nasrielsfanfics.wordpress.com/
5th December ~ http://deborahrocheleau.wordpress.com/
6th December ~ http://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/
7th December ~ http://maralaurey.wordpress.com/
8th December ~ http://themagicviolinist.blogspot.co.uk/
9th December ~ http://oyeahwrite.wordpress.com/
10th December ~ http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/
11th December ~ http://kirabudge.weebly.com/
12th December ~ http://www.brookeharrison.com/
13th December ~ http://nextpagebookreviews.blogspot.com/
14th December ~ http://susannahailenemartin.wordpress.com/
15th December ~ http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/
16th December ~ http://www.mirrormadeofwords.wordpress.com/
17th December ~ http://veewhoa.wordpress.com/
18th December ~ http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com/
19th December ~ http://taratherese.wordpress.com
20th December ~ http://pleaseforgetmystory.wordpress.com/
21st December ~ http://anmksmeanderingmind.wordpress.com/
22nd December ~ http://missalexandrinabrant.wordpress.com/
23rd December ~ http://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/
24th December ~ http://finnlongman.com/
The next prompt will be announced on the 26th, I believe.
*You should also all hover over my pictures because I have a lot of fun writing hovertext for them and I’m sad if you miss it.