The map is not the territory, as they say. But what about when the map describes a place without any territory at all? Does the map become the territory? Here’s an exploration of maps of imaginary places via Philip Athans at the Fantasy Author’s Handbook:
Maps have been appearing in fantasy literature going back—how long? I’m not even sure. At least to Tolkien, yes? Homer? Maybe—some editions, at least. There are ancient maps of Atlantis, which we’ll go ahead and assume is not a real place. Maps of Dante’s vision of Hell date back at least 540 years….
My love of maps might have something to do with so very many hours spent playing Dungeons & Dragons, Traveller,and other role-playing games—all known for their maps. I particularly love the poster maps of the classic Judges Guild world. I adore them all out of proportion. In this detail of the Elphand Lands from Fantastic Wilderlands Beyond(Judges Guild #67, 1978) we see this part of the world broken down into hexagons each five miles across.
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