Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by the Broke and Bookish

Top Ten Worlds I'd Never Want To Live In OR (since some of you might not read stuff with different worlds) Top Ten Characters I'd NEVER Want To Trade Places With.

Well this one is tough, there are so many choices. When it comes to otherworldly fiction, I have to say that there are probably many fewer worlds that I would want to try to live on than there are ones that I would rather give a miss. Just going with the obvious, I wouldn't want to live on any worlds that are being decimated by plague or war.  I wouldn't want to be the red shirt in any science fiction epic nor the innocent victim in a murder mystery. I wouldn't want to switch places with pretty much any character in a novel by Charles Dickens, and along that theme ...

The Stays from http://historyandotherthoughts.blogspot.com
1) Not quite a "world" per se but, as much as I love Jane Austen, I would not want to live in Regency England - neither the real one nor the versions invented by most authors (even Georgette Heyer).

I like modern conveniences like toilet paper and showers. I like jeans and tee-shirts. The clothing may have been better than earlier or later periods, but short corsets with stays and busks still sound uncomfortable!

I also really don't think it would have been much fun to be a woman then. Sure a few got to do something fulfilling with their lives, but most women's lives much have really stunk.

2)  Pretty much any world written by Phillip K Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, A Scanner Darkly, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. 

Major themes in his work are things like what constitutes reality, mental illness, and what being human means. That and the fact that there really are no heroes in any of his stories mean that they might be interesting to read about but would be horrible to experience. I would never want to get trapped in one of his worlds. 

3)  Most books by Connie Willis would be pretty lousy to get trapped in ... you get the black plague, bombing raids, and the occasional colleague who decides to be TSTL rather than helpful.

If I had a way to travel through time, I really doubt that I would spend all of my time trying to go places that would likely get me killed.  How about answering questions like - who was Shakespeare? What really was in the Library at Alexandria ?  Why were the Moai on Easter Island really built ? Scholarly questions with less blowing up and dying of disease.

4)  I am pretty sure that actually being a character in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide series would be really unpleasant.

The books are really funny to read, but if you think about what happens to the characters ... getting your planet blown up, getting shot at by sardonic cops, generally never knowing what is going on and having your meals introduce themselves would get rather wearing. Plus there is basically no chance of getting a good cup of tea.

5) I certainly wouldn't want to live in the world of A Handmaid's Tale. That would be unbelievably horrible.  No dystopian world would be a nice place to live, but this one for me is particularly distasteful. Just thinking about it makes me want to scream. Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison earns a special mention here too. 

6) And generally speaking, I would not want to live in any of the worlds created by Stephen King. So many ways to die horribly and so many more to live horribly. No thanks! In fact you can pretty much take it as a given that I would not want to end up in any world that is being overrun by zombies, goblins, ghosts, ghouls, deranged people with axes, vampires, alien slime monsters or anything of that sort.

Any such existence would likely be short and end unpleasantly. Even the idea of being the hero in such a world doesn't thrill me to pieces, since you would have to spend all of your time chopping virtually everything you meet into pieces, preferably small ones, before you jump on them and then toss them into a fire. All of Lovecraft falls into this territory as well. 

7) Now here is a puzzle ... what would it be like to go to Wonderland ?
I am not terribly sure that I would like to ... after all, everyone there is mad.

`In that direction,' the Cat said, waving its right paw round, `lives a Hatter: and in that direction,' waving the other paw, `lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad.'
`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'

And who can argue with that logic ?  :) Seriously though, it is a very disturbing place. Somehow I don't think it would be pleasant to live there or even visit if you have a more developed sense of awareness than Alice did.

8) I have been reading The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker and I have to say that I would not want to trade places with the Golem. Bearing in mind that I haven't finished the book yet so I suppose something drastic might happen to change her fundamental circumstances, the concept of being constructed solely to serve and to require a master to be whole is very disturbing to me.

One of my favorite books is Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett which also wrestles with the concepts of self and agency.  A golem is a construct, lacking agency ...

"'It is Frightening To Be Free ? '
'You said it.'
'You Say To People "Throw Off Your Chains" And They Make New Chains For Themselves? '
'Seems to be a major human activity, yes.'" 

When a mob is about to smash Dorfl ...
"I Am Worth 530 Dollars."
"That's all you things think about, money!"
"Money Is All You Can Think About When All You Have is A Price."

I would not want to be a Golem.

9) My daughter and I are pretty sure that we would not want to be Where the Wild Things Are.  She loves the book (I think I read it a record 8 times in a row before I gave out one night) but she doesn't want to be too close to the Wild Things - or Outside Over There either.  Too scary.

9.5) How could I have forgotten to include Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury They burn books! 

10) And as a generalization, there are way too many worlds that have been created by a myriad of authors where women are treated as objects or simply as devices to further the plot for the book's 'hero'.  Nope. No thanks. I don't even want to read those books, much less live in those worlds. Bleargh.


  1. You know, I actually came close to mentioning Jane Austen's worlds as well. They obviously aren't bad in a Handmaid's Tale kind of way but yeah, still not somewhere I'd like to hang out. And you make a very good point about Hitchhikers. Much more fun to read about those characters than it is to live in their world.

    1. There are lots of obvious answers (Hunger Games etc.) to this one so I tried to think a little outside the box to make it fun. I think that there are lots of books out there that are fun to read but would be terrible to experience probably.

  2. What wonderful choices! (Or terrible, depending on whether you're outside the worlds, or inside them.) For some reason, I stuck pretty much to fantasy/SF worlds, but you're absolutely right about the past not being a place I'd really enjoy living -- at least not if I remembered life here and now. I'm quite fond of plumbing, electricity, cars and airplanes, and the Internet -- not to mention antibiotics and other medical advances. (If it weren't for modern medicine, I'd be dead, and my daughter doubly so.) I'm also rather appreciative of voting and being able to own property, things I wouldn't have had as a woman in centuries past.

    And what you said about not wanting to be the victim in a murder mystery made me laugh. I've sometimes said that if I met the real Miss Marple (or any number of other cozy-mystery amateur detectives), I would run away for dear life. People have an alarming tendency to get knocked off in her vicinity. But I do love reading mysteries!

    1. Thanks! I also very much appreciate modern medicine, antibiotics and vaccines. Toothpaste is also on my list of things that I would rather not lose.

  3. I kinda think I would like Wonderland, as long as I could come back easily!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  4. Good list, I think Wonderland would not be a nice place because everyone's mad and most of them are mean to Alice as well and she's just a little girl so imagine how they'd treat someone a little older. I agree that I couldn't live in the world of Fahrenheit 451 because of the book burning as well.


Hi! I do read all of the comments and want to let you know that I really appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to leave a note. Work has fallen in on me and I have not had enough time to reply coherently lately so I apologize preemptively but still want to assure you that your comments are valued. I am using comment moderation to avoid using more annoying spam avoidance. Thanks for your patience.