Fantasy maps still awesome

The New Yorker's Casey N. Cep on the "allure of the map", a form of storytelling in its own right.

Writers love maps: collecting them, creating them, and describing them. Literary cartography includes not only the literal maps that authors commission or make themselves but also the geographies they describe. The visual display of quantitative information in the digital age has made charts and maps more popular than ever, though every graphic, like every story, has a point of view.

Did you know that Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea was inspired by its own map? A favorite example of mine is Titan (from the UK's Fighting Fantasy series), which would be among the more forgettable fantasy worlds were it not for the wonderfully evocative maps that came with the literature. Above, Port Blacksand, the City of Thieves.

Previously: Fantasy maps are awesome

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  1. The Tombs of Atuan .... LOVED that map.

  2. The map of Sanctuary from the Thieves' World series - that was my jam when I was ... fifteen? sixteen?

  3. DevinC says:

    Seeing that picture, I was salivating even read the headline. I always had a love of city maps - the way each of them was individual, different, showing the character of the people that built it.

  4. The map most I love is the 3rd Edition's Forgotten Realms, huge, detailed, colourful, and full of useful info. I started using it the day I opened the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting in 2001 and I'm still using it 13 years later. It has coffee and water stains, a few pencil specks and a few tears; but those are things that only make it more valuable for me, a map is something to use, to fondle, to love, and I love it a LOT...

    Click Map for Awesome Enlargement of Elmister

    I also have the 2nd Edition one, even huger, but not nearly as detailed as the 3rd one. But it came with a cool transparent sheet designed to track travel times.

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