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Here Be Dragons: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings

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Winner of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies (2016) Fantasy worlds are never mere backdrops. They are an integral part of the work, and refuse to remain separate from other elements. These worlds combine landscape with narrative logic by incorporating alternative rules about cause and effect or physical transformation. They become actors in the dr Winner of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies (2016) Fantasy worlds are never mere backdrops. They are an integral part of the work, and refuse to remain separate from other elements. These worlds combine landscape with narrative logic by incorporating alternative rules about cause and effect or physical transformation. They become actors in the drama--interacting with the characters, offering assistance or hindrance, and making ethical demands. In Here Be Dragons, Stefan Ekman provides a wide-ranging survey of the ubiquitous fantasy map as the point of departure for an in-depth discussion of what such maps can tell us about what is important in the fictional worlds and the stories that take place there. With particular focus on J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Ekman shows how fantasy settings deserve serious attention from both readers and critics. Includes insightful readings of works by Steven Brust, Garth Nix, Robert Holdstock, Terry Pratchett, Charles de Lint, China Mieville, Patricia McKillip, Tim Powers, Lisa Goldstein, Steven R. Donaldson, Robert Jordan, and Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess.


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Winner of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies (2016) Fantasy worlds are never mere backdrops. They are an integral part of the work, and refuse to remain separate from other elements. These worlds combine landscape with narrative logic by incorporating alternative rules about cause and effect or physical transformation. They become actors in the dr Winner of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies (2016) Fantasy worlds are never mere backdrops. They are an integral part of the work, and refuse to remain separate from other elements. These worlds combine landscape with narrative logic by incorporating alternative rules about cause and effect or physical transformation. They become actors in the drama--interacting with the characters, offering assistance or hindrance, and making ethical demands. In Here Be Dragons, Stefan Ekman provides a wide-ranging survey of the ubiquitous fantasy map as the point of departure for an in-depth discussion of what such maps can tell us about what is important in the fictional worlds and the stories that take place there. With particular focus on J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Ekman shows how fantasy settings deserve serious attention from both readers and critics. Includes insightful readings of works by Steven Brust, Garth Nix, Robert Holdstock, Terry Pratchett, Charles de Lint, China Mieville, Patricia McKillip, Tim Powers, Lisa Goldstein, Steven R. Donaldson, Robert Jordan, and Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess.

30 review for Here Be Dragons: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nancy White

    I read this book as an academic text whilst writing my dissertation this year. For that reason, it was an absolutely perfect book that I got my hands on at the best possible time. The subject matter is extremely closely linked to the essay part of my dissertation - I basically could have said "for further information, read Here Be Dragons: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings". In terms of recreational reading, Here Be Dragons might be a bit too academic for most people. However, there are some re I read this book as an academic text whilst writing my dissertation this year. For that reason, it was an absolutely perfect book that I got my hands on at the best possible time. The subject matter is extremely closely linked to the essay part of my dissertation - I basically could have said "for further information, read Here Be Dragons: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings". In terms of recreational reading, Here Be Dragons might be a bit too academic for most people. However, there are some really interesting facts and figures throughout the book. I think that it would be interesting to anyone who is an avid reader and/or a writer of fantasy texts.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    This is a solidly academic investigation of the topic, and I am about twenty years out of practice at reading academically! Nevertheless, I enjoyed exploring a range of topics close to my fantasying-reading (and -writing) heart, in looking at maps, borders, cities and realm-linked rulers in fantasy more broadly. (Honestly, I expected this to be more about maps, but given that the broader setting-exploration chapters were full of chewy and fascinating things, I was not at all disappointed!) As alw This is a solidly academic investigation of the topic, and I am about twenty years out of practice at reading academically! Nevertheless, I enjoyed exploring a range of topics close to my fantasying-reading (and -writing) heart, in looking at maps, borders, cities and realm-linked rulers in fantasy more broadly. (Honestly, I expected this to be more about maps, but given that the broader setting-exploration chapters were full of chewy and fascinating things, I was not at all disappointed!) As always with nonfic, I didn't speed through the last quarter; there are 70-odd pages of methodology appendices, notes, and index at the back!

  3. 4 out of 5

    James

    For a book about maps I was expecting more than just one full fantasy map. I did learn some terminology that I didn't know before though and it had a lot to say about Tolkien's works that I enjoyed as well. For a book about maps I was expecting more than just one full fantasy map. I did learn some terminology that I didn't know before though and it had a lot to say about Tolkien's works that I enjoyed as well.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gevera Piedmont

    Dnf So boring

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elise

    Easily one of the best academic studies of fantasy fiction that I've read so far - and about an entirely new subject that (as the author observes) has barely been studied. I especially enjoyed the study of specifically fantasy maps, and the (brief) discussion of fantasy maps as paratext and/or doceme. Easily one of the best academic studies of fantasy fiction that I've read so far - and about an entirely new subject that (as the author observes) has barely been studied. I especially enjoyed the study of specifically fantasy maps, and the (brief) discussion of fantasy maps as paratext and/or doceme.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Crowe

    “Ekman has done something rather new here. His analysis does not plumb the depths of the subject as deeply as I would have liked, but what he does do has not been done before, and represents the necessary first steps toward a proper critical understanding of fantasy maps.” From my review posted on my website. “Ekman has done something rather new here. His analysis does not plumb the depths of the subject as deeply as I would have liked, but what he does do has not been done before, and represents the necessary first steps toward a proper critical understanding of fantasy maps.” From my review posted on my website.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  8. 5 out of 5

    lewis warburton

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shepirate

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Allen

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brittani Ivan

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jason Stewart

  13. 5 out of 5

    John

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  16. 4 out of 5

    Monica

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marita Arvaniti

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rui Mateus

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jml

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Feeck

    Thoroughly interesting discussion of common traits in fantasy settings.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Blanding

  23. 5 out of 5

    JG

  24. 4 out of 5

    Martynas Bielinis

  25. 4 out of 5

    Donald

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stentor

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leah Phillips

  30. 4 out of 5

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