Each Thursday, inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ we have in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.
This week we look at THE BIG CITY
There has to be somewhere in Fantasyland where everyone comes together. All roads lead to Rome after all. A place where traders prosper, politicians scheme, and criminals thrive.
Truth be told I wanted to focus on Anhk-Morpork and made up a topic that worked for my purposes.
Anhk-Morpork –Discworld – “There’s a saying that all roads lead to Ankh-Morpork. And it’s wrong. All roads lead away from Ankh-Morpork, but sometimes people walk along them the wrong way”
Know the largest Dwarf city on Discworld? No, not that one in uberworld it is actually Anhk-Morpork. A city that has not been defeated in recent memory (probably because they not only own all your weapons but are charging you interest on them). Ruled by a Patrician that is very democratic and a firm believer in one man, one vote (so long as the vote belongs to him of course).
With a river that doesn’t require a miracle to walk on (but may need one to drink from), a wizard’s tower with a bell that rings with silences, and a strict no mime policy it could be heaven on Discworld. That is not a very likely possibility, but it could be.
Sky –The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin- This is the floating city that acts as the head of the Arameri. It is home of the noble court, the ruling class, and a couple of enslaved gods. As would be expected of a floating island it cast quite a shadow in which the city has grown below. Not surprisingly this portion of the city is usually called Shadow.
Because that is how we name things around here.
Cool back ground info for sure but geography and location plays very little part of the books; relationships and awesome gods are what’s important so let’s move on.
The City – The City by Stella Gemmell – One time thriving city that has been stuck in an endless war at behest what appears to be an immortal ruler. Now it is a labyrinth of sub cities, built upon itself until each layer creates its own micro culture. As if growing on top of itself wasn’t enough it has sprawled for so long that cities have been swallowed whole by the never ending march of its walls.
I look through Goodreads and see a few people have read this but it didn’t really seem to take off like I hoped it might. But a quick search says a sequel may be in the works? I can only hope.
Perpetual Republic – Engineer Trilogy by K.J. Parker (Tom fricking Holt) – A city state at the center of this trilogy despite most of the action occurring outside of it. Obsessed with industry the entire city is completely departmentalized in order to bring about maximum efficiency. Plans are not to be deviated from, people are not to stray. Totalitarian? Sure, though it is surrounded by Monarchies and could actually seem like an attractive option…at first.
Of course its stranglehold on industry gives it certain advantages, as seen the very first time we see its military in action. Yikes. It would take a madman to actually go against this mighty behemoth…
Bulikov – City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett – Once the center of a godly Empire, and the seat of the five continental deities, the city of Bulikov is now just an impoverished colony of Saypur. (That was the first line of my review of the book too, way to reuse my resources, eh?) While the former religion is now outlawed there are still major repercussions for the death of the gods. Not the least of which is that the cities landscape was created almost entirely by magical means that no longer support it. A shifting has continued for years as the city tries to rearrange itself back to reality.
If one could get the clearance by far the best place to visit would be the warehouse where all the old relics are stored. I would read a book just highlighting the best relics still around; cabinets to nowhere and the like.
Join us next week as we look at MOMS
Everyone has a mother. Including people in fantasyland. Just in time to be slightly early for Mother’s Day.
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As always thanks for joining, feel free to join along at any time, and please check out my fellow travelers!