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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The Newly Updated and Expanded Classic
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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I was intriqued by the concept. A book that catalogs all of the places mentioned in other books. What I got completely amazed me. Not only were the places cataloged and indexed by book and by place, but the descriptions were long, even better they included maps.
The people who put together this book understood that the reason people would buy the book was not because they were looking for a one line definition but because they were looking for information about the places themselves. For example, for the definition of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, it would have been easy to write a one line definition stating that this was the school that Harry Potter attended in the Harry Potter series. Instead the book has a definition several pages long including a drawing and also explains everything that has so far been written about the school including the moving staircases and the portraits on the walls. That is just the beginning thousands of places are included in the book, and all are given as much attention in their descriptions as the authors took to explain the locations in the original works of literature.
So enjoy this book, it will make you want to read about places to help you to figure out if you want to read the books that created them.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
I recieved this book for Christmas from my paternal grandparents, who always give me tight stuff. I was crazy about this book, which covers every imaginery place in any book from Prospero's Island in "The Tempest" (great play, by the way) to Thomas More's Utopia. It was an amazing book. If you have ever loved any fantasy book, get this book! It has something to satisfy every interest.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Somewhat disappointed with this "newly updated and expanded" edition. Some entries that appeared in the original are omitted from the new edition. For a book on imaginary places, it's surprising how little space was allocated to Fairyland, especially when compared with the several-pages-long entry on Hogwarts.

Maps are everything when exploring imaginary places; they provide atmosphere as well as information. The maps in this book are generic line drawings, informative but unenchanting, and I can only guess that the authors were unable to negotiate reprinting permissions.

We suggest buying a copy of the original 1980 edition along with the current one; the older book may not have Hogwarts, but it casts its own spell. Also get a copy of An Atlas of Fantasy by Jeremiah Post, which is devoted to reproductions of authentic imaginary maps. Fairyland is documented with Bernard Sleigh's wonderful "Ancient Map of Fairyland" in a two-page spread, Tolkien's famous maps and some private conworlds and con-countries such as Thomas Williams Malkin's "Allestone" are included.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed "The Dictionary of Imaginary Places" very much, and found it an interesting source for maps and summarized information on fictional places. There were some places that I felt should have been mentioned in the Dictionary that weren't, although there are certainly a great number of entries already. One problem I have is that the map of Tolkien's Middle-Earth is not entirely faithful to the original (most likely due to the difference in page dimensions). On the whole, though, this is a wonderful book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
A trove of wonders, many familiar, many not. It's still nice to browse through the various lands of Oz (with an excellent map to guide me), or to refresh in my mind where the Tombs of Atuan lie in the Islands of the Earthsea Archipelago. It's also wondrous to find Selene, the city of the Vampires where I "without fear, must sprinkle them with vampire's heart-ash; the vampires will then explode in a bluish flash." This is not, and cannot be, a comprehensive encyclopedia of all lands fantastic, but it is an extensive collection of wondrous places. Of note, readers of Science Fiction will find no familiar planets to peruse. These are the locales of Terrestrial imagination, of Middle Earth and Narnia and Atlantis and their ilk. My only personal complaint and frustration is how difficult it will be to retrieve many of the source works used by the authors. Paul Feval's LA VILLE VAMPIRE (Paris, 1875) is typical of the kind of treasure I would like to read in full, but can only find a couple of French language copies at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library. Alas, I'll settle for a fantasy of escape to Iffish, that quiet island in the Earthsea Archipelago where if I'm very still, I might catch a view of a rare harrekki, chasing wasps and foraging for birds eggs. Wistful sighs all around.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
This is the perfect companion for anyone who loves to daydream and go to imaginary places. The Abbey of the Rose would easily be the setting for a great romance and one of my favorites is Exopotamia, that vast deserted land "that because of the total lack of air, the atmosphere seems very healthy." Cloudcuckooland is another fav, a place I know well in my daydreams. Buy it, read it, over and over again. Sheer pleasure!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book, which has places from Lovecraft, Tolkien, Baum, and nearly every other fiction writer, is really a gem. It has cross references between related locales, bibliogaphic data for research papers and the like, and maps and pictures. You can look up virtually every allusion there is to made up places, and tourist information is included if you somehow manage to get to any of them. I recommend this book heartily, and have enjoyed it constantly for the nearly 10 years I've owned it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I first came upon this book during my studies of medieval travel literature in Oxford. It was a large, older, hard-bound edition, which gave the fantastic lands inside it almost a magical flavor. I knew then that I had to have a copy of my own.

Though only a reference book, this book should be read as anything but. Each entry is a small vacation from this planet, to a place often eerily similar. The destinations described are gathered from throughout the world of fiction and make-believe. This compendium contains all the "never-neverlands" and the land of "OZ" and "Xexotland", complete with illustrations, yet fails to mention small things such as Massachusetts.

The creators range from the medieval comic-grotesque to the latest political cynics of our day.

As amusement and as a literary reference, this book is worth it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
I thought this was a wonderful book, both for reader and for writers. I am going to buy one for my brother now! And as for the imaginary places they left out, my guess on that would be that the people who own the copyrights on those imaginary places would not allow the author or publisher to include them in this book. I noted that although Xanth is not there (Piers Anthony), Neverwhere is (Neil Gaiman); they are both contempory authors and I think that just boiled down to permission. It seems that everything that is no longer copywrited is included.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
To find out what kind of places exist in other people's imaginations turn to this book. There are maps and guides. I enjoyed studying the map of Oz. Who knew? This is a welcome addition to the bookshelf for anyone who enjoys fantasy/sci-fi. Each name is given a complete explanation. Helpful.
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