Unreal Reality

I’m working on a piece about my Top 5 ‘secondary realities’ this week. Imaginary cities, invented worlds,  inspired gallactic vistas…from  Tolkien’s Middle Earth to  Asimov’s Foundation Universe, what are the most fascinating unreal realities and why?

I have some idea what my top five are (I’m not giving them away just yet) but I want suggestions for any particularly wonderous worlds of imagination that I might consider, the weirder, cleverer or just plain more escapist the better.

Any and all suggestions gratefully accepted.

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

4 thoughts on “Unreal Reality

  1. I’d argue Terry Pratchett’s world is pretty well-defined, even if it’s not particularly coherent. But as a reflection of various pieces of our world, it’s riveting.

    David Eddings did an awesome job at creating believable nations with distinct personalities, which makes its politics interesting because they’re effectively large groups of people writ small.

    I’m sure there are more. I know I’m missing some.


  2. My favourite fictional universes :
    – Dune
    – the Culture
    – Gormenghast

    but the most important has to be the warning of the universe of 1984


  3. I think I’d put forward two dying earth settings – M John Harrison’s Viriconium and Gene Wolfe’s Urth, in the Book of the New Sun. Probably because in fantasy settings these two in particular stand out as injecting the genre with rich literary qualities, showing just what is capable, and in essence reflecting much of our own world.



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