Guest Posts,  Thoughts

[Guest Post and Giveaway] A Small Cartography of Maps by Fran Wilde

The first fantasy map I can remember was the one in Phantom Tollbooth. The Doldrums and an island named “Conclusions” (that you have to jump to) and other verbal puns come so alive on that first page, and throughout the book that I laughed with delight when I first encountered Jules Feiffer’s wonderful map.

Then there was Middle Earth, and Tolkien’s own map, with its regions and wonders, that has reappeared so gloriously lately in many different forms.




Later, Borges’ “On Exactitude in Science,” with its 1:1 map… a play on an earlier map by Lewis Carroll in Sylvie and Bruno Concluded charmed me some more.


(Blogger Jonathan Crowe, who ran The Map Room, has an extensive collection of map references, here.)


For my own needs, I sketched a map for Updraft that I didn’t plan for anyone to ever see. I didn’t set out to make it a real book-map; instead I needed one for the purpose of navigation as I wrote the story. I drew my map to keep the towers straight in my mind, and to play with windflow and light. I added a small compass rose to the original one as a joke, because I love compass roses. Later, I shifted that to an arrow, because there aren’t any sailors in Updraft.
The Arched Doorway is a great source of new reads and opinions, so I thought I’d do something special for you guys! … For the first time, I’m revealing a version of the final ‘sketch’ map for Updraft, never before fully seen in the wild (except in bookplate form) … :


Maps do things to stories. They ground them (literally) and allow the reader’s imagination to play against the guide. They help the writer too. For the map I made (a version of which I eventually cleaned up and distributed as one of the pre-order bookplates) I wanted to track several primary towers that are key to this story and the next.


The next map, for Cloudbound, will be much different again.


So! What are your favorite fictional maps?


Want your own copy of the map sketch above, signed by Fran Wilde? Enter our giveaway below!
Deadline for entry is 12am Tuesday, September 29th. Open to US and Canada residents only.

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FranWildeAuthorPhoto2015_credit Dan Magus

Fran Wilde’s first novel, Updraft, debuted from Tor Books on September 1, 2015. Her short stories have appeared at, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny Magazine, and in Asimov’s andNature. Fran also interviews authors about food in fiction at Cooking the Books, and blogs for GeekMom and SFSignal. You can find Fran at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.


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