Science Fiction in your neighborhood

Discussion in 'SFF lounge' started by Tau Zero, Jun 19, 2007.

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    Tau Zero

    Tau Zero I'm on Earth? Not again!

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    I am currently reading "Dies the Fire" by S. M. Stirling. I am enjoying the book very much and Stirling is an author i also like very much.

    The curious thing is that the book takes place in my neighborhood, i.e., the Willamette Valey of northwest Oregon. It's odd (to me) to have a book take place in your town and the environs you're familiar with. The map in the book is simply a map or the area around Salem (where i live) and north to Portland.

    Has this ever happened to you? Other writers have used real locations for their stories. It just strikes me in an odd way; maybe it's just me...:rolleyes:
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    Briareus Delta

    Briareus Delta Misunderstood

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    Must be an odd feeling. I can't say I've ever experienced it as far as books are concerned. But I do live in Cardiff where Doctor Who and Torchwood are filmed. It's good fun trying to spot the locations - especially when they're pretending that Cardiff is London!!
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    The Ace

    The Ace Aye fur Alba

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    Yeah, when I lived in Glasgow we used to do the same with, "Taggart."
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    that old guy

    that old guy New Member

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    The town I grew up in in Massachusetts (Natick) is mentioned several times in Zodiac by Neal Stephenson. He gets just about everything wrong. :p
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    Ian Whates

    Ian Whates Author and Editor

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    I remember reading Christopher Priest's Fugue for a Darkening Island only to discover that much of it is set around the area in Hertfordshire where I grew up, which was an odd feeling. More recently, Peter F. Hamilton's 'Greg Mandel' novels (Mindstar Rising etc) are set in an area close to where I live presently, though I didn't have the same reaction to reading these as with Chris Priest's book for some reason.
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    Vladd67

    Vladd67 Stake Holder

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    I used to live in Milton Keynes and watching Superman 4 was distracting as a lot of 'Metropolis' looked very local.
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    suupaabaka

    suupaabaka New Member

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    Not exactly science fiction, but I got some kicks out of watching Jackie Chan run around in some of my old favourite hangouts here in Melbourne. :D

    Mr. Nice Guy was the name of the movie.
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    dustinzgirl

    dustinzgirl Mod of Awesome

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    Yay OREGON! WHOOO HOOOO

    There is someone else on the planet from OREGON!

    Um, but there are few books that take place in Douglas County that I've heard of, which is sad because the Umpqua Forest has a rich history.
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    littlemissattitude

    littlemissattitude Super Moderator

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    Oh, sure. One of Clive Barker's books uses the place where I grew up as one of its locales (although he got the geography all wrong, so much so that I couldn't read the book).

    One of the locations of Greg Bear's The Forge of God is about is about ten minutes' drive from where I sit as I type this.

    Part of one of Tim Powers's books takes place about three blocks from where I used to live in L.A. County. His research was so good that I could picture the area in my mind as I read.

    Those are just the novels; I can think of several non-fiction books that are related to places I know well.

    Oh, and the big funny-looking glass and metal building in The Puppet Masters? That's the city hall here in Fresno.

    The list would be even longer if you wanted to expand beyond science fiction and fantasy. :eek:
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    Lenny

    Lenny Edit Ninja In Training

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    Can't really say there's any SFF references to my area... there are a couple of interesting things, however:

    - The town in The League of Gentlemen is based on the town a mile from where I live: Bacup.
    - Tim Burton considered using streets in Bacup to film parts of the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film (Johnny Depp), but decided against it as it was far too dirty and realistic for what he had in mind. :rolleyes:

    I suppose Lancashire is famous for its witches, which feature in many books, if that counts?
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    Who's Wee Dug

    Who's Wee Dug New Member

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    Robert Rankin's Brentford series is in West London, although post code wise it's Middlesex. And he only changed the name of one pub.:)
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    chrispenycate

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

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    Over in "critiques", Phil Brown has been posting excerpts of a story set in CERN. on the other end of the number nine bus route. I have to hold myself back from commenting on the setting rather than the writing.
    But he's not intending to blow me up until 2012 (and then he's doing the rest of the universe, as well)
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    The Ace

    The Ace Aye fur Alba

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    Including Magrat Garlick.:)
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    steve12553

    steve12553 The Enigma of Steel

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    I've never seen a genre story that I could relate to in that way but the comedy A Christmas Story is based on Jean Sheperd's book of short stories , In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. The stories and the movies were centered in Northwest Indiana where I was born and grew up although it took place a decade or so before I was born. The feel of the area was similar and some of the landmarks were still there when I was growing up. He intentionally changed some names and left some the same. Just enough to be irritating.
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    Rawled Demha

    Rawled Demha New Member

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    i could say we londoners are famous throughout the world, but then id say the we south londoners are unknown throughout the world....i know, my book'll be set in south london!
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    Culhwch

    Culhwch Not actually a dinosaur. Staff Member

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    On the movie front, such masterpieces as The Phantom and Inspector Gadget 2 were filmed in and around Brisbane, sadly. Possibly the best parts of either film.
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    Tau Zero

    Tau Zero I'm on Earth? Not again!

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    Yes, the Country Faire is less than a month away! I WILL be there, with my horns and wings...
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    Anthony G Williams

    Anthony G Williams Greybeard

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    It is interesting to read books set in places you know. A couple of detective series I follow (Rankin's Inspector Rebus books, set in Edinburgh, and Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti books, set in Venice) are in places I have explored on holidays, which adds to the enjoyment of reading them.

    I find it very hard to understand authors who write about real places and get them wrong: you should either do your research, or be sufficiently vague about the location that it can't be identified (or simply make all the places up, as in the last crime novel I read). I don't live in London (although I visit frequently) but I set several scenes of my novel Scales there. So on one of my visits, I checked out all of the locations I intended to use, including taking a bus trip along a route I wanted to include.

    One point for aspiring writers to bear in mind; it can be a good move to set your stories at least partly in your own area if you can. Not only because you know it, but because it is far more likely that local booksellers will stock a book by a local author featuring the local area, and will be willing to host signing sessions - local papers/radio are also likely to feature it. So it can help to get sales off the ground...
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    K. Riehl

    K. Riehl FrogSqrl

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    I lived in L.A. for, thankfully, a short time and was able to watch a couple of movie productions being shot just down the street. The motorcycle/semi chase from Terminator 2 was in the concrete lined river basin next to my apartment in Reseda. Waking up to fireball explosions is always fun. It's a part of living in L.A. that everyone just kind of takes in stride.

    LittleMiss- I remember the City Hall in Fresno.We used to call it the chrome Darth Vader helmet.

    I enjoy reading the books by David Brin where he uses Oregon as a background for several stories.

    There is a large group of Northwestern authors that often set their stories in the Northwest area. Damon Knight, Kate Wilhelm, Ursula LeGuin, Kelly Link, Neil Stephenson, John Varley, Octavia Butler, Greg Bear, and several others.
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    lin robinson

    lin robinson Science fiction fantasy

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    I used to live a block from Frank Herbert's house in Seattle and the area has a few footnotes.
    Nearby Enumclaw, with it's cheese company, was a model for Santaroga, according to Herbert.

    And Dune, he said, was inspired by his excrusions on the Olympic Peninsula. As in "Olympic Rain Forest National Park". I always thought was kind of interesting.

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