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Articles in Imaginary Geography

Geography and Science Fiction: the Creation of Realistic Alternative Worlds

By Martin W. Lewis | January 2, 2012 | 19 Comments
Star Wars, Hoth and Tauntauns

(Note to readers: As GeoCurrents is technically on vacation, it seems like a good time to explore an issue that falls outside of the blog’s basic field of concern. For the next week, posts will focus on speculative fiction, culminating with the free release of my own science fiction novel, Terranova: The Black Petaltail, on this website. Regular GeoCurrents posts …

The Elaborate and Curious Geographies of Frank Herbert and J. R. R. Tolkien

By Martin W. Lewis | January 4, 2012 | 24 Comments
Bird's Map of Middle-earth Transposed on Europe

According to most sources, the best-selling science fiction novel of all time is Frank Herbert’s Dune. When it comes to fantasy literature, nothing compares with J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Both works build intricate worlds, giving obsessive attention to detail. Such elaboration proves compelling to many readers, providing what seem to be fully realized alternatives to …

Speculative Fiction, Imagined Geographies, and Social Alternatives

By Martin W. Lewis | January 7, 2012 | One Comment

People are drawn to history and geography for various reasons. For myself, the major appeals have always been variety and complexity. I find variations in physical environments, social organizations, and belief systems intrinsically interesting. Obscure cultures, places, and times have particular appeal, as they help break the spell of the commonplace. It is all too easy to assume that one’s …

Afterword to Terranova: The Black Petaltail; Imagining an Alternative World

By Martin W. Lewis | January 9, 2012 | 5 Comments
Terranova The Black Petaltail by Martin Lewis

(Note: Regular GeoCurrents posts will begin again on Wednesday, January 11.)
Note:  The full text of my science fiction novel Terranova: The Black Petaltail can now be downloaded here, and will remain freely available on this website. This long post is designed as an afterword to the novel, explaining the manner in which I have constructed an alternative world and crafted …

Visualizing California’s Soggy Past

By Nicholas Baldo | June 29, 2012 |

A previous GeoNote highlighted a collaborative effort to map historical changes in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin RiverDelta. In a similar spirit, the fantasy satellite map shown at left, created by Central Valley geographer Mark Clark and noted by Frank Jacobs, imagines what the entire state might have looked like in 1851. Perhaps the map’s most salient feature is massive Tulare Lake, …

Some Strange Fantasy Maps

By Martin W. Lewis | March 28, 2013 | 3 Comments

The world of science fiction and fantasy is an excellent place to find strange maps, and few are stranger than the Drenai map posted here. David Gemmell’s Drenai series has prompted a number of fans to map the world depicted in the novels. Most are rather straightforward pictures of the author’s fantasy realm. One amateur cartographer, however, decided to map …

Questions for Readers Regarding Biblical Ethnography

By Martin W. Lewis | November 14, 2013 | 40 Comments

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am now devoting most of my attention to the book on Indo-European origins that Asya Pereltsvaig and I are writing. I am currently working on a chapter that recounts the intellectual history of the Indo-European concept, which is a fascinating and complex topic. Right now, I am perplexed in regard to an issue …

The Fantasy Political Maps of DeviantART

By Martin W. Lewis | October 17, 2014 |

When looking for specific maps on the internet, I often come across bizarre examples, such as a map of Novorossiya that depicts not southeastern Ukraine but rather northwestern North America. This fantasy political map, like many others of its ilk, can be traced back to a website called DeviantART, Inc., described by the Wikipedia as “an online community showcasing various …

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