Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
CASEY N. CEP has a New Yorker blog post about the relationship between fiction and maps. Lewis Carroll, C. S. Lewis, Robert Louis Stevenson, George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Ursula K. Le Guin, and J. R. R. Tolkien were all, in one way or another, inspired by maps.
From the article:
Maps are a standard of adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Treasure Island” did not begin with Billy Bones or Jim Hawkins, but with a map. Summering in Scotland, in 1881, Stevenson entertained his twelve-year-old stepson by painting when the rain and cold kept them indoors. Stevenson writes, in an essay: “On one of these occasions I made the map of an island; it was elaborately and (I thought) beautifully colored; the shape of it took my fancy beyond expression; it contained harbors that pleased me like sonnets; and with the unconsciousness of the predestined, I ticketed my performance ‘Treasure Island.’ ”
Not only did the map give Stevenson a setting; it shaped the novel’s narrative and characters. Stevenson wrote that, when he “pored upon [his] map of ‘Treasure Island,’ the future characters of the book began to appear there visibly among imaginary woods; and their brown faces and bright weapons peeped out upon me from unexpected quarters, as they passed to and fro, fighting, and hunting treasure, on these few square inches of a flat projection.” The map printed in the novel’s pages was not some final flourish but a record of its very origins.
Illustration by Roland Chambers, from Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians.”