If you’re like me and you read a lot of fantasy novels, then you know how cruel the world can be. Most contemporary novels are fluffy or thrillers, but ultimately they are our world and we already live in it, like it or not. Science fiction and fantasy? Those are dark places, more often than not. And while a lot of us would love to go to Hogwarts, I’m sure there are places we can all agree we’d rather not go to.
The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass, The Wind Through the Keyhole, Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, The Dark Tower
As much as I enjoy The Dark Tower series, I’ve got to give a hard pass to Midworld. When Roland says “the world has moved on,” he doesn’t say so lightly. The beams are breaking and the world is literally falling apart. Through the ka-tet’s travels, we see the extent of this chaos. Lud, where the city has fallen and a mad mono messes with their minds. Topeka, where the mutated influenza virus has wiped the land clean. Even on the western shores, where the lobstrosities will eat you if you can’t stay clear and kill them. Noooo thank you.
Post-Apocalyptic United States
The world in Wonderblood is one of the darkest, creepiest I’ve ever seen. There are blood rains, murderous carnivals, and everyone is looking toward the sky to see if the spaceships will return and save them all. People carry around magicked heads to protect themselves. Like… human heads that they keep in boxes and replace the eyes with precious gems. Disgusting.
The Domed City
In this universe, in order to maintain the population, everyone is euthanized humanely at the age of 21. Within the walls of the domed city, I am a dead girl walking, yipes.
The World Through the Window
When the five siblings fall into this world, it seems like there’s possibility for potential. Like Narnia! But as we continue forward, we see a place where people are so obsessed with their appearance that they would hunt and kill children to learn the secrets of their perfect faces. Not to mention, even when they get to some form of sanctuary, it’s very controlling and sexes. Women can plant flowers and let the men be important. Pfft.
A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance of Dragons
I feel like the Song of Fire and Ice series is mainstream enough these days that I probably don’t have to go into details, but Westeros is a big solid NOPE for me. Any George R. R. Martin book gives you about a 3% chance of survival… lower if you have plans to attend any weddings. If I’m going to live in a fantasy world at all, I want to be able to experience it for a couple minutes before I’m brutally murdered.
Besides, winter is coming. I live in New England and I’ve had enough of that, thanks.
I’ve got to give a hard pass on M. T. Anderson’s Feed Earth as well… but the Vuuv invasion sounds like a really bad time. Unless you are super useful or had the money to get in on the ground floor when it all began, this invasion has widened the gap to Rich and Slaves. Even with initiative, it’s very difficult to make your way and earn a living here and I think our world if difficult enough now.
Mars Invasion Earth
War of the Worlds
Okay, but given the choice between the Vuuv and H.G. Wells’ Martians… I’ll take the Vuuv. At least they let the humans live! Wells’ Martians are bent on one thing – destroy all humans. Is there much wonder why everyone panicked back in 1938 when Orson Welles broadcast a radio play version? Can you imagine just tuning in after lunch and hearing that London was in flames and to stay away from the cities because the Martians were killing on sight? Geez….
When Hitler Won The War
The Big Lie, The Man in the High Castle
One of the most often discussed uses of time travel that I’ve heard was to use it to go back in time to kill Hitler before he was able to do what he did. Now step back and imagine a world where somehow, someway, Hitler and the Nazis won. I do not want to live in that world.
Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies
I think it’s all quite lovely that the Bennett girls have been trained in the fine arts of zombie killing, even if it isn’t quite ladylike. What I am most frankly against is the existence of the zombies in the first place. I’d prefer to live in a world where if there must be undead, they behave like proper, civilized people. Like vampires.
This is our world right now and it isn’t right. If you’re like me and the world of The Hate U Give is one you’d rather not live in… be active in trying to change it. Educate yourself, educate others, and be kind. Don’t steal the spotlight away from important issues, and support those voices that tend to get buried. Be the change you want to see in the world.
What are some bookish worlds you wouldn’t want to live in?
How would you survive if you were thrust into them?
What would you do to change the bad ones?