Over the past few weeks I’ve been helping to edit the fourth book in Wanda Wiltshire’s Betrothed series and I’ve loved getting lost in the universe of Faera. In fact, I’ve been immersed in the world for so long that the place feels as real to me as Earth. In celebration of Wanda allowing me to share in her fantasy realm, as well as the impending release of the third book in her YA fantasy series, Confused, I’ve decided to share with you my favourite fantastical worlds of literature.
#1 Faera from Wanda Wiltshire’s Betrothed series
After that introduction I had to begin with the amazing world of Faera. Faera is the sort of utopian world I dream of escaping to—where people (or rather, fae) live in harmony with one another and nature. It’s a world where you can choose to do whatever you want, where food and clothing are given freely to all, where homes are burrowed in river banks or wound into the cavities of ancient trees. But not everything is perfect either, there are fiery, all-powerful kings, places where it’s dangerous to tread and deathly creatures lurking in the forest come nightfall. It only makes the world more interesting though—plus you get wings the colour of your spirit, which is a little bit awesome.
‘What lay below was a never-ending wilderness. There were no signs of habitation—no buildings, housing, roads or even walking tracks. Though admittedly, the lush canopy of gleaming green was so profuse that, save for an occasional glimpse of woody ground cover, it was impossible to see what lay hidden inside of it.’
#2 The Wizarding World from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series
Even though I am way past school age I am still waiting for my acceptance letter to Hogwarts. I want Hagrid to take me to Diagon Alley, to get my wand from Olivander’s and find an owl like Hedwig.
‘And the fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the lake, which was as smooth as glass. Everyone was silent, staring up at the great castle overhead. It towered over them as they sailed nearer and nearer to the cliff on which it stood.’
#3 Wonderland from Lewis Carol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
I often feel as if I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and find that nothing makes sense, so I’m pretty sure I’d feel at home in Wonderland. In fact, I recently went to a talk about Lewis Carol and his fictional world and won the trivia quiz. Also the Queen of Hearts is my spirit animal in the mornings…
‘The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her, and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything: then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves: here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed: it was labeled “ORANGE MARMALADE” but to her great disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar, for fear of killing somebody underneath, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.’
#5 Animalia from Graeme Base’s Animalia
Graeme Base’s books were a staple of mine as a child and I absolutely loved Animalia because, well, I was obsessed with animals. I desperately wanted to lounge with lazy lions in the local library, zigzag with zebras in zinc zepplins and save Kitty Koala from being kidnapped by gansters Kid Kookaburra and Kelly Kangaroo.
‘Within the pages of this book, you may discover, if you look, beyond the spell of written words, a hidden land of beast and birds.’
#5 Narnia from C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia
Who hasn’t secretly checked the back of their wardrobe for an entrance to the world of Narnia? In fact as a child growing up in Australia—where there is really no snow—even just this aspect of the landscape seemed magical enough in itself. My other favourite part of the world (aside from Aslan and the other talking animals of course) were the stars—the burning humanoid beings who arrange themselves so that seers can foretell the future.
‘The castle of Cair Paravel on its little hill towered up above them; before them were the sands, with rocks and little pools of salt water, and seaweed, and the smell of the sea and long miles of bluish-green waves breaking for ever and ever on the beach.’
According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power that sunk into the ocean around 9600BC after a failed attempt to invade Athens. Since then scholars, archaeologists and occultists have tried to find the lost city. Many claim it’s part of the island of modern day Santorini—crescent shaped after the centre of the island sunk into the sea during a violent volcanic eruption. Fiction tells us the city and its people are still living under the waves. Either way I think I’d like the place.
‘But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.’
#7 Dreamlands from HP Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle
The Dreamlands is a vast, alternate dimension that can be entered through dreams—astral travel and lucid dreaming. Experienced dreamers are the most powerful in the fictional world and can live there once they die in the real world. You can enter the realm physically but it’s much more dangerous and most dreamers are long-lived or immortal.
‘And it was under a horned waning moon that I saw the city for the first time. Still and somnolent did it lie, on a strange plateau in a hollow between strange peaks. Of ghastly marble were its walls and its towers, its columns, domes, and pavements. In the marble streets were marble pillars, the upper parts of which were carven into the images of grave bearded men. The air was warm and stirred not. And overhead, scarce ten degrees from the zenith, glowed that watching Pole Star.’
#8 Neverland from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan
Never growing up and being able to fly with just a sprinkle of fairy dust sound dreamy. I also like the 1911 novel’s explanation that Neverlands are ‘always more or less an island’ found in the minds of children. This means our own Neverlands are individualised from one person to the next. John Darling’s ‘had a lagoon with flamingos flying over it’ while Michael’s ‘had a flamingo with lagoons flying over it’.
‘Peter was not with them for the moment, and they felt rather lonely up there by themselves. He could go so much faster than they that he would suddenly shoot out of sight, to have some adventure in which they had no share.
He would come down laughing over something fearfully funny he had been saying to a star, but he had already forgotten what it was, or he would come up with mermaid scales still sticking to him, and yet not be able to to say for certain what had been happening. It was really rather irritating to children who had never seen a mermaid.’
#9 Dinotopia from James Gurney’s Dinotopia
I was thinking of Jurassic Park originally because I love those stories, but in the end I settled on Dinotopia because, well, it’s dinosaur utopia. On the island—which is lost to the rest of the world because of storm systems and dangerous reefs that make it nearly impossible to leave or discover—the humans and dinosaurs work in harmony with one another and the Earth itself. I also love the idea that humans who arrive to the island are brought their by dolphins. Similar to Faera in the way that necessities, like food for example are provided at no cost, but citizens take only what they need and leave the rest for others. Therefore stealing and other crimes mostly brought on by desperation are virtually non-existent.
‘Survival of all or none.
One raindrop raises the sea.
Weapons are enemies even to their owners.
Give more, take less.
Others first, self last.
Observe, listen, and learn.
Do one thing at a time.
Sing every day.
Eat to live, don’t live to eat.’
#10 Middle Earth from J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings
Specifically the Elvish Halls of Rivendell. Also the Fangorn forest so I can make friends with the Ents.
‘For a while the hobbits continued to talk and think of the past journey and of the perils that lay ahead; but such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.’
Which are your favourite fictional worlds of literature? Which would you most like to visit? Let me know in the comments.