Fiction has the power to take us to different worlds. Sometimes, those worlds look a lot like ours. But other times, they’re breathtaking new places that exceed our wildest imaginations.
We’re celebrating the most incredible literary landscape in fiction. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
Science fiction is full of awesome desert planets (even Star Wars has one) but Arrakis is the most iconic of them all. Dune is considered by many to be the greatest science fiction novel of all time, and it’s centered entirely around Arrakis. Arrakis’ deserts are fascinating because they are utterly endless – and hold the spice mines that make the planet so valuable.
Science fiction tries pretty hard to be realistic these days, and it doesn’t thrill George R.R. Martin. Martin, like a lot of us, longs for the days of crazy science fiction landscapes. Landscapes like Edgar Rice Burroughs’ version of the Red Planet, which is full of canals, alien civilizations, and other other cool stuff.
Middle Earth’s Mordor and surrounding mountains
Fantasy world-builders like George R.R. Martin owe a huge debt to the original master, J.R.R. Tolkien. Just about any spot in Middle Earth would qualify as a great literary landscape. We chose the dark, stormy, and stunning landscape of Mordor, which is bordered on three sides by enormous mountain ranges. Very cool.
Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series include mentions of neighboring lands, but it’s Narnia itself that seems the most beautiful. While its neighbors sometimes feature more extreme landscapes (one bordering land is very arid, while another is very mountainous), Narnia is described as having gorgeous scenery of its own. Lewis’ vision of was inspired by the scenery of his own home country, Ireland.
Neverland is Peter Pan’s magical world, and it’s got it all: pirates, mermaids, you name it. It’s a fantastic island with, of course, fantastic scenery. Grottoes, forests, lagoons: Neverland has it all!
In Hilton’s book Lost Horizon, Shangri-La is located in a breathtaking valley in the middle of Asia’s Kunlun Mountains. It’s a mystical place where people live peaceful and very long lives. No wonder “Shangri-La” has become a term for an earthly paradise! The image above is from the 2004 film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which made use of Hilton’s Shangri-La myth.
There’s some man-made wonder here, too: the super-cool castle with carved dragons on it. But you can’t ignore the awesome spectacle of the mountainous island. A Song of Ice and Fire has a ton of cool landscapes (and even more cool man-made structures), but this is probably our favorite.
The name says it all! Wonderland is one of fiction’s classic fantasy worlds. We’re particularly excited about the interpretation you see in the image above, because Tim Burton is bringing that world back to the silver screen with a sequel to his 2010 film Alice in Wonderland. Alice Through the Looking Glass will hit theaters in 2016.
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