Top Ten Bookish Settings I’d Like to See More Of

“All roads lead away from Ankh-Morpork, but sometimes people just walk along them the wrong way.”

Terry Pratchett

  1. Magical schools. Harry Potter admittedly pretty much cornered the magical-school market, but I do think there’s a lot of subversive potential in that setting that Rowling never managed to fulfil. (Basically, I want a Potter series that doesn’t go downhill after book 4.)
  2. Gothic houses. You know, those impossibly rambling Gothic houses that you always suspect break the laws of physics but you never quite manage to catch them doing it? They are like my catnip.
  3. Neo-Victorian fantastic cities. Ankh-Morpork. New Crobuzon. Cities at the tipping edge of industrialisation, not quite modern enough to be mundane but still roiling with new technology and social tension; cities that are almost characters in their own right.
  4. A Galactic Federation. Or a union. Or, indeed, a Galactic Commons. I want to see more stories that stress the value of unity, rather than emphasising our differences.
  5. Magical London. I’m looking at you, A Madness of Angels, with your vitality and your deep understanding of what makes London London.
  6. Fairyland. But, like, an English Fairyland, which is to say wild and dangerous and wondrous and full of the deep magic of folklore. None of your twee Disney idylls, thank you.
  7. Libraries. I mean, obviously. I have several childhood favourites that I read over and over simply because they featured awesome libraries.
  8. The desert. Any desert. I may be strongly influenced by Stephen King’s Dark Tower series here, but I think there’s something…essential about fictional deserts; you have to be strong and clever to survive them, the loneliness, the heat, the thirst. (I’m also thinking of Kameron Hurley’s God’s War.)
  9. Magical Regency England. Take the social intrigue, the complex identity politics, of Jane Austen and Frances Burney, and add DRAGONS. Or MAGIC. Or whatever. Perfection.
  10. Theatres/film sets. Isn’t there something fascinating about seeing backstage at a theatre, or looking at a film set from the wrong angle so you can see the wires and the green screen? Looking behind the glitz and the glamour? I haven’t come across many books set backstage, but I’d really like to find some.

(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)

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