Shared Worlds: Five Real Fantastical/SFnal Cities from Elizabeth Hand, Nalo Hopkinson, Ursula K. LeGuin, China Mieville, and Michael Moorcock


At Shared Worlds students create fantasy and science fiction worlds to fuel their creativity. As assistant director for Shared Worlds, I've written about it here before, but to recap: Shared Worlds is a two-week unique summer camp for teens ages 13 to 18, held at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. This year the camp runs from July 19 to August 2, with registration still open to the end of June. Creative and fun, Shared Worlds emphasizes writing fiction, game development, and creating art--all in a safe and structured environment with award-winning faculty. Faculty for 2009 will include Holly Black, co-creator of the Spiderwick Chronicles, Hugo Nominee Tobias Buckell, White Wolf game developer, Will Hindmarch, Weird Tales fiction editor Ann VanderMeer, and more. The camp is sponsored by Tor Books, Wizards of the Coast LLC, and Realms of Fantasy.

So in keeping with this week's The City & The City theme, guest blogger China Mieville has joined Elizabeth Hand, Nalo Hopkinson, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Michael Moorcock for a Shared Worlds feature naming real cities that seem fantastical or science fictional in nature. Mieville's choice? It'll come as no surprise--London.

"Because it is the triumph of a lack of planning –both for good and bad. It's chaos –and whether you say that with a gasp of despair or glee or both is up to you. Whereas Paris (certainly in the centre) is the success of a single overarching monomaniacal topographic vision, London is a chaotic patchwork of history, architecture, style, as disorganised as any dream, and like any dream possessing an underlying logic, but one that we can't quite make sense of, though we know it's there. A shoved-together city cobbled from centuries of distinct aesthetics disrespectfully clotted in a magnificent triumph of architectural philistinism."

Visit the Shared Worlds site for more from Mieville and the other participants. It's a fun feature for a good cause. Also check out the related SF Signal MindMeld.

What city would make your top five list?

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