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June 12 2009

Fun Fictional Worlds. AV Club writers ponder the question: "Which works of fiction create a world (or a version of reality) that you’d consider most enjoyable to live in?".

Some great stuff to read but only Zack Handlen provides the appropriate answer.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-06-13 05:12 ]

Yup. Firefly for sure.
I'd love to live on Serenity but I think I'd get killed pretty quickly.
Now I'm torn! Because yes, obviously, any part of the Whedonverse (except for Dollhouse) would be awesome...but then somebody had to go and mention Almost Famous. Such a hard decision!
I'd love to live in a time when space travel is accessible & normal, but really I'd rather live on Pern.
Ignoring the killrate, I'd love to:

1. Sit at that table in the Sunnydale High library and be a part of the scooby gang.

2. Sit at that dinner table in Serenity and be a part of that crew.

Other than that, fictional worlds I'd like to be a part of, would include:

3. Hogwarts. Seriously. Very Much. That'd be the best school going experience ever.

4. Attend the high school in Veronica Mars and have nice friends who can quip with the best of 'em and be incredibly rich. I'd also settle for having Veronica's dad.

5. Work at Bartlett's white house. Preferably as one of the big shots. I'd like to do some of the speech writing. Who needs a life outside of work, if your work can be like that? Also, I'd like to date Mary-Louise's character please.

6. Be a part of The Next Generation's Enterprise. Although the uniforms would start to annoy me after a while.

7. Work at Newsradio's WNYX. Who wouldn't want to work at that Jimmy James owned station? I'd take Dave's place in the whole thing, thank you very much.

8. Be one of the Friends in 'Friends'. I realise they do have jobs, but they're almost never there. All they do is hang out, have fun and drink coffee with a witty and fun group. It's the dream right there, man.

9. Be Bernstein during his work with Woodward on the watergate scandal. Can you imagine anything quite as exiting and rewarding? Wait, we said fictional right? Crap ;).

[ edited by GVH on 2009-06-13 01:27 ]
You know, one of the things that I have always found particularly endearing about the Firefly universe (unlike most other fictional planes like, for example, the Buffy-verse) is that you really get the sense that normal people could (and do) live in it. Yes, if you lived on a boat like Serenity you'd probably have a very short life-span, but that kind of life (crew of a mercenary vessel) is hardly the norm, even for their society. You just get the feeling that there are lots of worlds, moons, etc. out there where a normal person could settle and make a life for themselves and be happy.
I'd love to visit Middle Earth as it's so very pretty, specifically Rivendell or Lothlórien, or just hang out in the Shire with Bilbo, Sam and Frodo. A visit to Narnia is right up there, too, as is the world depicted by Enid Blyton- living in a simpler time and picnicing on jam sandwiches, cake and lashings of ginger beer! The Pushing Daisies world is so surreal, it'd be awesome to wear a frock, sit in the Pie Hole and chat to Ned.

Anywhere from the Firefly world (but not Miranda) would be cool but I think it would be funner just to hang out on the ship with the crew.
And of course I'd pay an overnight visit to the Dollhouse- do some yoga, have a communcal shower and settle into my pod for the night!
I wouldn't want to live in the Buffy or Angel world, because to me that's the real world, with extra danger. Firefly could be interesting, but probably not my first choice.

My number one choice would be Doctor Who if I could have my own Tardis (Travels through space, time, and is bigger on the inside? Sign me up.)

Pushing Daisies--life should be that colorful, and watching the show always makes me want to be fashionable rather than be the bland jeans and t-shirt person I am.

Star Trek. Not my favorite fiction (though TNG was my first scifi show), but I don't want my life to be too interesting. A world where you don't have to worry about hunger or poverty sounds pretty nice.
I think the real question is, would you want to live in that world as yourself. Anything Whedon, probably not since I'm pretty sure I'd be killed pretty quickly and have absolutely no brilliant lines. Now, IF you could be a main corrector and have abilities that really no one in real life possesses (which is why they're shows and not r/l) then anything Whedon would be a very cool place to live. Then I'd just have to worry about dying when I find true love. And isn't that just a perpetual bachelor metaphor anyway?
Pushing Daisies--life should be that colorful, and watching the show always makes me want to be fashionable rather than be the bland jeans and t-shirt person I am.

Yes, please. Good call! Oh, now I'm sad again. Why must all of Fuller's masterpieces get cancelled?

Be a part of The Next Generation's Enterprise. Although the uniforms would start to annoy me after a while.

But they don't let you sit down while you work. :)

And it's definitelly life on a Firefly class transport ship for me. Life has pretty much turned me into Malcolm Reynolds anyway.

[ edited by Tycho on 2009-06-13 03:07 ]
Live: Star Trek TNG. Holo deck, Ten Forward, any food I wanted and no dishes to clean afterwards... easy living. I'm in.

Visit: Serenity. In a heart beat! I'd even bring some fresh fruit. (From the replicator on the Enterprise, of course. ;) )

Vacation: TARDIS. Honestly, I don't think the good Doctor would bother having me around after just a few days. All the screaming... I'd get on his nerves.

Winter home: Middle Earth. Even having everything handed to you on a nice clean sterile ship gets a bit much. Of course, I could just create Middle Earth as a holodeck program... and watch the battles from afar.
I'd have to choose the Marvel Universe; so I can see Thor fly by swinging his hammer like a helicopter propeller.

And why not the DCU? Because the DCU is a scaaaaary place.
Honestly, any Whedonverse would suit me - simply because almost everyone in them seems to be an excellent conversationalist.
You wouldn't want to go to Hogwarts in the 7th book.
Ah, the Pushing Daisies verse sounds wondrous. I would also be there with the hope of eventually stealing Chuck away from Ned.

Mine is an evil laugh. *ha*
I feel like if I were in the Buffy/Angelverse, I'd live out a normal life until I suddenly got killed by an angry demon, an apocalypse or turned into a vampire, at which rate my unlife would span a total of 2.5 minutes (2 minutes to dig out of my grave, 28 seconds fighting a Slayer, 2 seconds looking confused as I turn to dust).
A Serenityverse existence would be much more normal, with the exception of space-travel, making it look very appetising (barr Reavers).
I can imagine living in a Terry Pratchett Discworld world be fairly cool; the very fact that assassins can climb walls by climbing so fast Gravity doesn't notice always seemed an ideal world to live in.
Star Wars 'verse would be awesome, except for the fact its seemingly wracked by religious wars between two mystical factions who use some sort of 'force' every few years.

Lost would be terrifying. Smoke Monsters, Hostiles and Incidents? No thanks.

Whedonverse worlds would be... an interesting experience. Probably more fun than ours, but with a seemingly higher mortality rate. Then again, if I stay away from Sunnydale (or heck, California in general), or being with some outlaw smugglers, things could be good. Unless I get the PAX tested on me, and I go all dead, or crazy.

Oh, and I'd hate to be in the Potterverse. A bunch of magic folk looking down on me, messing with my mind? No thanks. Not to mention I'd hardly want a bunch of people who are too dumb to simply shoot a man they want dead (if not with a gun, then with a arrow) instead of waving wands at them.

And it is maybe because I'm so rabidly pro both Star Wars and Whedon, but did the first and last authors seem way to 'Well I'm not that big a fan, but...' 'This part sucks, but...'. Either man (or woman) up and be a fan, or don't. Don't be all wishy washy about it.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-06-13 07:08 ]

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-06-13 07:08 ]
Firefly/Serenity universe would be fantastic as long as you weren't a Browncoat. Otherwise, you'd have to be darn good and lucky to survive with folks like Mal and crew.
SteppeMerc, I think someone with a wand could easily defeat anyone with a gun or bow and arrow, so there'd not be much point in trying either ;). As for the 'why don't they use guns' question, the same can be asked for much of Buffy. Debilitate a vamp or demon with an uzi and then kill them the mythical definite way, seems like a much easier proposition than what they're doing now.

Plus: At Hogwarts, you'd get to live at a school filled with fun people who are learning magic. Honestly can't think of a more fun place to live and learn. Although FaithsTruCalling is right, you wouldn't want to be there during book 7. But before or after that, is fine living indeed :).
If anyone has ever seen the shonen anime One Piece you can see why I'd love to live there. An actual world, with large pasts and thousands of people. I wouldn't care if I was a little kid in the East Blue living on an island overrun by pirates or a crewmen in a pirate ship with a respectable bounty in the grand line. The world is so vivid and spectacular, its awesome.

Sky Island would be immense.

If I had too choose a non-animated 'verse, I'd probably go for the Firefly 'verse. Be, like, a middle-class guy, rather than travelling at the end of the worlds. Love me some holographic paper. Shiny. A little town in the Star Wars 'verse sounds cool. Or, the world in JJ's Star Trek, before Kirk goes into space.
I would love to be in the Buffy/Angel world, just think maybe getting to cuddle with Spike.ha
I always want to join the Torchwood crew, love their "office" with very big bird flying around waiting for someone to have barbecue sauce poured on them..hmmm Lunch great.
Harry Dresden's world for me. Not that it's particularly safer than anywhere else I could choose, but certainly interesting (and I'd could steal Mister and Mouse from Harry). I'd actually run like hell from the Whedonverse, though. Too high a mortality rate, and you can forget about having a steady significant other. Firefly would be tempting, but I have an extreme adversity to getting shot.

Congrats on the promotion to blue, Sunfire (though I'm not sure what that means yet, I'm sure it's something good). :)
The Jossverse is my favorite place to go in my head, but odly enough, wouldn't want to live there.

Almost Famous for me, no contest. With regular recuperative retreats to Rivendale and Lothlorien.

SciFi wise the "world" I'd find most interesting to actually experience wasn't on the list - Babylon5. You'd still get to be part of a bunch of rebels, but not all the planets would be dry, dusty and full of cowboys.

ETA: I adore Firefly and Serenity. Just dry, dusty planets and Frontier towns, not so much.

[ edited by Shey on 2009-06-13 15:29 ]
As far as the Whedonverse goes, I'd be delighted to spend time with the characters from any of the verses, but not so much to live in their worlds. I'd certainly have to wait to join the Buffy crowd in season 4- nothing would be worth going through high school again- I would rather fight actual demons, given the choice.

And, as others have mentioned, I'd have to be a lot stronger than I am to survive in any of them- serious enhancement, if not superpowers. It's the characters that attract me...their worlds are interesting places to visit, but.....the real world is more than dangerous enough for me.
I showed my age:

Edgar Rice Burroughs's Pellucidar, some of SM Stirling's alternate histories, especially New Virginia from _Conquistador_., some of the nicer colony worlds form Poul Anderson's Future History, during the early phase of the Polesotechnic League or very much later during the Commnalty, Gordon Dickson's Chidle Cycle after the end of the books, not during, maybe, maybe Narnia.
Andre Norton's worlds were like somebody described Tim Burton's, too claustrophobia-inducing. So was Burroughs's Barsoom.
The Buffyverse is just here and now with demons; I'd still be 53 living in an $80-a-week room sleeping with a stuffed dog and my only friends on TV show fansite posting boards, just with vampires to worry about too. I have a Mary Sue in my fanfiction, but he isn't really who I am.

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2009-06-13 18:27 ]
Yeah, all the Whedon-verses are hard places to live. No sci-fi for me--I'm not even fond of many forms of advanced tech available today!

No fantasy either: too many rules, demons, bad guys, other people with magic. I wouldn't mind having magic or a magically-bonded-to-me horse/dragon/other, but the responsibilities and rules are dullsville.

Glancing thru my books, I realized, hey, I would kill to live in Wodehouse's Bertie and Jeeves universe! 1920s England, everybody I know is deliriously living off their trust or family wealth, people writing silly books or musical comedy for the theater, beautiful dresses and men in tuxes, gorging on dinners at the Ritz and traveling to palatial country houses for parties, endless flirting! I know that Evelyn Waugh's version is more faithful to real life, but I'd much rather live in Wodehouse's fluffy world than his satirical one.
GVH, I totally get not using guns, because they are lame compared to medieval weaponry. However a proper longbow (composite bows are by far superior, but they tend to be rare in England) can hit someone at at least 100 meters away. That is far longer range than a wand.

That is one thing about Buffy that confused me... they never used crossbow at range. Sure it is less likely to hit, but you can fire a lot more bolts rather than just one (then get the crossbow knocked out of your hands).
Other than Whedon-y goodness (all of which I would glady live in) I would have to go with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as long I got to live/work in or even just visit the factory every now and then. Well that or The Mighty Boosh. Also Kingdom Hearts or maybe Pushing Daisies... I should probably stop now.
I love Joss, but actually living in any universe he created would suck beyond the telling of it. As far as TV universes, I'd choose Pushing Daisies, or anything Fuller-created, or Doctor Who. If I had to choose a book universe to live in, I think David Eddings' The Belgariad would be perfect.
The Magic Kingdom in the Terry Brooks series for me. It would be fun to meet Abernathy. Also, I'd still be able to visit home if I wanted. But Pern is good,too, or Avalon, but then some people think that was real. Got a book about that somewhere.
A world with spaceships (Serenity? Sure, why not be part of a generation that continues what Mal and his crew helped do? Expose the evil corporate types). But I won't wear a red shirt or take any job that would go anywhere near Bug Planet or Reavers.
SteppeMerc, fair enough. Still, I think with proper magic, you could turn those bolts into something else, etcetera. The only real way to fight magic is with more magic. Although typing this, I'm not quite sure how explicit they ever made that kind of stuff in the Harry Potter novels.

Still, I'm sticking to it. I'd love to live in Hogwarts ;).
Let's be honest here. Whedon loves to kill people, and not just main characters for fun. He kills people to move stories along and to make us worried.

We'd be cannon fodder in any of his universes. We'd be Sunnydale students who "die mysterious deaths" and ruin the football team's chances of winning the championship. We'd be meat for vamps, or target practice for the outlaws of Firefly/Serenity. Dollhouse is basically our world already, right?

ALthough I'd take my chances in Firefly than Buffy/Angel. I mean, my god, Once More With Feeling had a guy burst into flames all for Xander's sick joke.
Hmm. Favorite fantasy LIVE in. That is the kicker, isn't it? The WHEDONverses do have great people but they are too dangerous for the likes of me. I'd end up a redshirt or a munchable.

I love the worlds created by Jo Clayton in her books but they do seem to be a places where everyone is very much out for themselves... Tanya Huff's "Summon the Keeper" worlds could be fun... and Hogwarts IS terribly cool. Narnia... I use to obsessively draw pictures of my favorite places when I was a kid. And I love Discworld TM!

BUT, I think I'll have to go with Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next world. It's a place where literature is the ultimate entertainment and primary topic of conversation, and where the preservation of Jane Eyre becomes an emergency of national importance. (Not to mention a lucrative tourist business...) Yeah, that's MY kinda place. Plus you know, Dodos! Hamlets! And Miss Havisham!
I'd go to Buffy season 3 so that I could steal Willow's heart before that damn Wesley came along
Some of the fantasy worlds that were brought up in the article would be cool, aside from not having proper health care. Though I suppose mastering healing magics could fix that. Middle Earth from The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings and Prydain from author Lloyd Alexander, who I'm surprised to see brought up and would love to see a TV series or film adaptation for (Disney's The Black Cauldron doesn't count). He's far beyond C.S. Lewis in terms of children's epic fantasy literature, yet for some reason less well known and not as highly regarded. Oh and as for Narnia...yeah, but it depends on which period of that world during which book and, although Aslan is a nice guy, I don't like the part about being near-brainwashed into Christianity every time he speaks, touches me, or I hear someone say his name (the kids always get the shivers, or feel a sense of warming calm, or are in god-fearing awe in those instances in the books).

Would stay far, far away from the Jossverse, if we're going with me being me. If I was some powerful god or demon or whatnot, maybe I'd venture a trip to the Buffyverse, but as we saw, even those beings could fall and even sometimes the human-friendly versions of them.

Firefly is just society as it is now with more gadgets (potentially a plus or a minus), legal prostitution across the board instead of just in some countries(plus), and potentially even more shady governments than we have right now in real life. Plus miner's lung disease and shitty mayors on certain poor planets. And pompous customs came back in style in a big way on certain others (ie Persephone in "Shindig"). And Reavers. And scary ebola wands wielded by freaky blue hand men. The planets are terraformed and seeded with whatever came from Earth, so you're not likely to get anything looking especially new, alien, or interesting (aside from rock formations). Might be fun to have dinner with the crew of Serenity, but beyond that, it's not so welcoming. It being more grounded sci-fi (aside from a psychic/semi-telepathic) is part of what makes it great TV/movie material, but if I'm visiting a fictional space-set 'verse, give me Star Trek instead.

Probably some cartoon's universe would be safer, but I can't think of one in particular at the moment.
I'd live in the Serenifly 'verse if I could be Inara and have her shuttle.
You cool with the whole prostitution gig?
Lovely thread!

The West Wing seems perfect, working at Bartlett's white house would indeed be wonderfull, but even if you don't get to you, you'd still live in this world only with a truely brilliant US president.

The Harry Potter world appeals to me too, though it would have to be the evil wizardry free version I imagine there was pre and past Voldy. Also you'd have to be a wizard or atleast know some, since it's the magic that makes the world so appealing.

Doctor Who is another great suggestion. Love to travel with the Doctor, but even if you don't get to a world were the Doctor is out there just seems kinda nice. (You would get attacked by Daleks every year, ofcourse, but atleast the Doctor would save you.)

A Groundhog Day experience could be fun if you already know the rules (f.e. that it will end when you get the day perfect & that nothing you do has any consequence). As long as it doesn't take you too long to get that perfect day and you don't have to get stuck in the middle of nowhere or go through that silly groundhog ritual, that is.

[ edited by the Groosalugg on 2009-06-14 14:33 ]
I'd love to live in Iain M. Banks' Culture. Galactic socialism and Special Circumstances just in case things get boring.

As an alternative I'd suggest John Varley's hippie-feminist solar system stories of the 1970's!
I would love to stay in Thomas Hardy's Wessex for a bit, just to participate in that life and all of the awesome loneliness and beauty all around it, but I wouldn't want to live there past the point where it was no longer romantic but just sad and hard.

I considered and crossed out Susanna Clarke's Magical England, Herbert's Arrakis, and The Matrix and it's real world because I loved those places but they seem waaaay too hard or weird. Groundhog's Day might be fun if it was Groundhog's week and could escape it whether or not I learned piano and caught the kid falling from the tree.

Final answer to live, I think, would be Dream's Kingdom in Gaiman's Sandman because it would be endlessly new, terrifying and awesome and would pretty much encompass every fictional universe ever created. Only with the power of Dream himself though because man.. would I hate to get stuck in that place.
I think the world of Dragon Quest VIII for me or Final Fantasy XII.
Just remembered Zelazny's Amber. But I'd want major powers.
I'd even be willing to walk The Pattern to get them - in fact, that would be half the fun, acquiring your powers through a legitimate test of will. ;)

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