Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Five SFF worlds I’d actually like to live in

So, one more obvious extension of the “five vacation spots idea.” Much harder to pick a place I’d actually want to move to permanently. Most or all of these places would be SF locations, because for cool stuff to be widely available to non-wizard-types, you generally need science fiction, not fantasy.

So-called utopian SF worlds frequently aren’t very utopian, but high on the list would be:

1) An Orbital, from Ian Banks’ Culture series. These are not exactly my favorite SF novels — I’ve only read a couple — but it seems to me anyone ought to be able to find a nice Orbital that suits them just fine. A world where material scarcity is a thing of the past? Sign me up.

2) The far-future solar system presented in John C Wright’s The Golden Age. This series is set ten thousand years in the future in, as Wikipedia puts it, “a voluntary anarchistic society spanning the Solar System called the Golden Oecumene. Technology makes nearly everyone immortal and tremendously wealthy, except those exiled from society or living outside by choice.”

Serious problems are encountered by the protagonist of the series, but for ordinary — or less ordinary — people living in The Golden Oecumene, the world is pretty close to utopian. I wouldn’t want to just step through a portal into that world, though. It seems like it would have a steep, steep learning curve for someone from our world.

3) Much farther from a utopia, nevertheless, parts of the universe presented by Becky Chambers in her space opera trilogy seem like they would be a great choice. Other parts, not so much, obviously. Still, if you got to pick the place and you stepped into that universe with a reasonable means of support, it could be a great place to live.

4) Similar to the above, if you start off with reasonable personal net worth, then KSR’s near-ish future solar system would be a good choice. I’m thinking specifically of the 2312 solar system, where there are great places to live on Mercury (!) as well as other planets that are perhaps more sensible choices.

5) Muna, in the Touchstone universe, after the trilogy is over. This is a very approachable world for someone from our reality, with technology that is less terrifying than in the Golden Oecumene, but a biiig step up from what we have here. Plus a great world to explore!

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4 Comments Five SFF worlds I’d actually like to live in

  1. Craig N.

    Solid choices, all. Immigrants to Muina should also develop psychic superpowers, just to sweeten the deal there. (Probably only minor ones, and if you get big time powers you’re in danger of becoming a protagonist.)

    Both the Culture and the Golden Oecumene are likely to assign an AI to assist a time traveler from the past in acclimating… which has plusses and minuses.

  2. Rachel

    More pluses than minuses, really. I would be happy to accept help to acclimate to a world that is, after all, substantially different and probably pretty alarming to try to navigate, at least at first.

  3. Mary Catelli

    I always ask, for these questions, what part of the world I would be living in, and whether I would be living as myself or as a native of the world. That makes such a difference. I don’t think there are any fictional worlds where I wouldn’t care where I landed.

  4. Rachel

    Mary, I was assuming, you’d be there as yourself. And yes, it matters a lot whether you would (a) land in the spot you would prefer; and (b) have a good means of supporting yourself once you’re there, presuming resources are limited. I guess it doesn’t much matter in the Orbitals, as you could always move to whatever Orbital you prefer and live a life of luxury there.

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