Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mapping the Unmappable

I love maps and I keep meaning to post something meaningful about them (as far back as here), but there just doesn't seem time. However, Taranaich over on The Blog That Time Forgot has posted about Dan Meth's amazing Fantasy World Map, which I've included here:

The Fantasy World Map by Dan Meth.
 Obviously, it's not all of the fantasy worlds in literature, but it's definitely a fair stab at the genre. One of my few issues with it is that the worlds of Dr Seuss (another thing I intend to post about some time in the future!) go far, far beyond Whoville and Solla Sollew (although it's nice to see the latter get a mention as it comes from one of my favourite Dr Seuss books).

It also reminded me of this amazing second map, by Randall Munroe that was talked about recently in The Independent (Hughes, 2010). Basically, it's a Map of Online Communities (Spring and Summer of 2010), and is loaded with awesome coolness. I particularly like the Sea of Memes and the Plains of Awkwardly Public Family Interactions!

The Map of Online Communities by Randall Munroe.


Hughes, M. (2010, October 24). Mapping Cyberspace. Reprinted from The Independent in The Bangkok Post, Spectrum, p. 22.


  1. Maps are one of the things I've always really liked about fantasy books. OK, some are rubbish and hackneyed, but others are delightful vistas you can lose yourself in for ages.

  2. They're definitely one of the first things I look for in a fantasy book. In fact, they're probably the reason I started buying Lone Wolf gamebooks, I'm pretty sure! What would you consider good examples of fantasy maps done well?

  3. Maps are support to give some depth of field to a fantasy world, and with that a lot of credibility, they lend realism. Good examples are LotR and Earthsea ones. The Kakhabad one for Sorcery's epic by John Blanche is very good too ! It displays A lot of details not necessary included to the story.

    In other hand, maps for alternate history worlds are interesting too (KSR's Years of Rice and Salt, or Orson Scott Card's Seventh Son for example).

    By the way, maybe do you know the Cartographers' Guild. That'a community of fantasy and sci-fi mappers, with a lot of tutorials and original maps. ( )

  4. Hey Salla,

    Thanks for the link - amazing stuff!

    I love the Earthsea map to bits - it's a very evocative piece of cartography. A lot of the early FF maps, like Blanche's Kakhabad epic, are also good.

    I can see I'm going to have to get a proper map post up soon!



  5. These maps are fascinating, and enticing in their interrelationships...

    I hope you don't mind, but I've reproduced them in my own online journal

    Keep up the fascinating posts, gamebooks are still relevant...