This week’s Time Magazine features an article about the Stephanie Meyer novels, and the phenomenon surrounding her books, Rowling’s, and the other fantastical YA novels that seem to have spawned entire societies of fans.
The article, written by Lev Grossman, made one point that jumped out of the web page and smacked me on the nose:
“There’s no literary term for the quality Twilight and Harry Potter (and The Lord of the Rings) share, but you know it when you see it: their worlds have a freestanding internal integrity that makes you feel as if you should be able to buy real estate there.”
True that, double true. But it’s happening repeatedly, this desire to immerse oneself in a world created in a book, be it urban fantasy, science fiction, or paranormal romance, and it fascinates me. There are books I think about often (damn you Black Ships, quit following me around) and books I enjoy over and over just to visit the characters and their world, but I don’t know that I’ve personally read a book, that had such deft worldbuilding that I wanted to set up a yurt and move in for awhile.
However, and I’ve had to recognize this strong preference on my part recently, I’m a historical romance girl all the way. I like urban fantasy, I like paranormals, contemporaries, a mix of the three, science fiction, fantasy, whatever you name it. I dabble in everything but I love me a straight up historical romance. Considering my personal preference within the context of world building makes me wonder, though – can establishment of a historical setting be considered “world building,” or is it more “world reconstructing?” And do I prefer the historical because the same “world” is accessed by so many different authors using the same researched elements of long-past societies and countries? I must ponder this one further.
So who builds great worlds for you? What world from a book would you want to camp out in for awhile?