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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ship of Fools Map

If you flip through a high fantasy novel - that is, one that features sword, sorcery, barbarians, dragons, knights and princesses - there's a good chance that you'll discover a special treat: a map of the imaginary fantasy kingdoms described in the novel.

Though such maps rarely make any geographic or topological sense, they still perform an important function: they draw the reader deeper into the story. With such a map, one can follow along with the characters on their quest. Anticipation builds as you see journey's end grow closer, just as you would when consulting a map on any mundane vacation.

I'm no artist, but I do enjoy doodling from time to time. I drew the map above twenty years ago or more while planning an ambitious genre novel. Of course the project stalled once the map was drawn, probably for good reason; the original idea was pretty silly, as I recall - the story combined alternate history (hence the appearance of analogues of Germany, America, Italy, Japan etc. on the map) with high fantasy and movie westerns. It would have been a hot mess, I'm sure.

Of course I didn't draw the map in chalk; I used Photoshop's invert feature to create the white-on-black effect, mainly because I find it pleasing to the eye and it reminds me of two things: typing away on my old Atari 130XE, and Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, a show that mesmerized me as a child.

1 comment:

"The Jeff Of Gideon" said...

You need to send this to Strange Maps (Use "the term "Strange Maps" in the Google™ Search Engine and Feel Lucky).

I can only imagine what it would be like to be a citizen of a world borne purely from Earl's mindful meanderings, pondering of an alternate universe where one can vote Conservative and drink Pepsi during commercial breaks from a television that does not show 24/7 Star Trek.