Saturday, 12 April 2008

An Atlas of Imaginary Worlds 9: Two Small Items

Now that I have cleared out my electronic map cupboard it is likely that in future you will just get items as I come across them in books or online and that is just what I have today. I just stumbled across a website which features maps of imaginary places from endpapers of books and they do have that lovely pencil drawn feel to them. I have not explored them, but there are a whole range the first are children's books:

These ones are adult books including some I have featured such as a different version of the map for George Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' and from 'Gulliver's Travels' even John Buchan's Island of Sheep which I have never seen despite enjoying the novel of the same title:

The home page is: The site is full of historic and literary maps and wonderfully evocative images of imaginary places. Excellent work and lots to enjoy.
Lands of 'The Golden Key'

This is a map from 'The Golden Key' by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Robertson and Kate Elliott (1997). I am not sure why all three of them came together to produce this lengthy fantasy novel (1,075 pages in the edition I have) as each of them is a successful author, all of them each with at least eight fantasy novels in their belt. It may have something to do with the book being in three distinct sections so it might have been a challenge between them or something. If anyone knows it would be interesting to find out. The world of the story is very clearly based on Renaissance Italy and loads of Italian words and phrases are used throughout the novel. The story mainly focuses on the country in the middle of this map the Duchy of Tira Verte and certainly in what I have read its historic relations with Tza'ab Rih (a state like those of North Africa at the time seeking a religious leader to restore the fragmented desert tribes' glories); Tira Verte (in the language of the world meaning 'Lands of Green') took the province of Shagarra from Tza'ab Rih and to a lesser extent the Kingdom of Prancanza. There is almost an inland sea and there are frosty northern territories (one imagines, as I have read no details of them) in Friesemark. This is not a vast continent and one guesses it is say the size of Italy and Tunisia. A nicely drawn map that fits the setting. Compare this with the one for 'Tigana' similarly modelled on Renaissance Italy. I should have persisted as a youth as I always wanted to do a fantasy novel in a quasi-Renaissance rather than quasi-Medieval style which seemed compulsory in those days. It does not have to be the case but the Renaissance seems to imply a greater opportunity for politics and intrigue. I am not a great consumer of fantasy novels but if I come across any other imaginary world maps I will be sure to share them.

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