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Top 10 Fantasy Worlds In Literature

Throughout the history of English literature, hundreds of writers have created fantastic worlds for their plots and characters to play out in. This is sometimes done for reasons of satire (under oppressive governments) or just for outright pleasure. This is a selection of the ten best fictional lands in English literature.


H. P. Lovecraft

2394 Map

The Dreamlands is a fictional location in the Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft. It is also the setting for a number of pastiches written by other authors. The Dreamlands is a vast, alternate dimension that can be entered through dreams, similar to astral projection or lucid dreaming. Experienced dreamers are among the most powerful inhabitants of the Dreamlands and may become its permanent residents after their physical deaths. The Dreamlands can be entered in other ways, including physically. This usually requires passing through very dangerous areas of both the waking world and the Dreamlands. Consequently, real death becomes a risk. However, the visitor does receive the prolonged lifespan of a native of the Dreamlands, so the traveler’s time there is no longer limited to the duration of a night’s sleep on earth. Though the term Dreamlands typically refers to the dimension accessible by human dreamers, other inhabited planets may have their own dreamlands. Reaching these other realms from the terrestrial Dreamlands is possible but difficult. Time flows at a different rate in the Dreamlands — each hour on earth represents a week or more there. Consequently, a traveller can spend months in the Dreamlands during a single night’s sleep on earth. Fortunately for dreamers, inhabitants of the Dreamlands are either long-lived or immortal, provided they avoid injury or disease. [Source]


Edgar Rice Burroughs


Pellucidar is a fictional Hollow Earth milieu invented by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs for a series of action adventure stories. In a notable crossover event between Burroughs’ series, there is a Tarzan story in which the Ape Man finds his way into Pellucidar. The stories initially involve the adventures of mining heir David Innes and his inventor friend Abner Perry after they use an “iron mole” to burrow 500 miles into the earth’s crust. Later protagonists include indigenous cave man Tanar and additional visitors from the surface world, most notably Tarzan. Primitive people and prehistoric creatures, notably dinosaurs, populate Pellucidar. The region in which Innes and Perry initially find themselves is ruled by the cities of the Mahars, intelligent flying reptiles resembling pterosaurs with dangerous psychic powers, which keep the local tribelets of Stone Age human beings in subjugation. Innes and Perry eventually unite the tribes to overthrow the Mahars’ domain and establish a human “Empire of Pellucidar” in its place. While the Mahars are the dominant species in the Pellucidar novels, they seem confined to their handful of cities. Before their overthrow they use the Sagoths, a race of gorilla-men who speak the same language as Tarzan’s apes, to enforce their rule over the human tribes within the area which they rule. [Source]


J. M. Barrie

Disney Neverland

Neverland (also called Never-Never-Land, Never Land and other variations) is the fictional island and dream world featured in the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up by Scottish writer J. M. Barrie, his subsequent novel Peter and Wendy, and later works by others. While sojourning in Neverland, people may cease to age; therefore, Neverland is often seen as a metaphor for eternal childhood (and childishness), immortality, and escapism. The 1911 novel explains that Neverlands are found in the minds of children, and although they are “always more or less an island”, and they have a family resemblance, they are not the same from one child to the next. For example, John Darling’s “had a lagoon with flamingos flying over it” while his little brother Michael’s “had a flamingo with lagoons flying over it”. In the world of Neverland, they say either the Crocodile’s clock or the suns and moons tell that time. It is mentioned in the novel Peter Pan that there are many more suns and moons there than in our world. According to Peter Pan in Scarlet, Neverland resides in a sea known as the Sea of One Thousand Islands. In the book, Peter explores some of this sea, passing by islands of various sizes. The most amazing thing encountered on this adventure is Lodestone Rock: a magnetic rock that destroys the Jolly Peter and the SS Starkey along with it. [Source]


James Hilton


Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. In the book, “Shangri-La” is a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia—a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism of the Orient. The story of Shangri-La is based on the concept of Shambhala, a mystical city in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. There are a number of modern Shangri-La pseudo-legends that have developed since 1933 in the wake of the novel and the film made from it. The Nazis had an enthusiasm for Shangri-La, where they hoped to find an ancient master race, similar to the Nordic race, unspoiled by Buddhism. They sent one expedition to Tibet, led by Ernst Schäfer in 1938. Shangri-la is often used in a similar context to which “Garden of Eden” might be used, to represent a perfect paradise that exists hidden from modern man. It can sometimes be used as an analogy for a life-long quest or something elusive that is much sought. [Source]


C. S. Lewis


Narnia is a fantasy world created by C. S. Lewis as the primary location for his series of seven fantasy novels for children, The Chronicles of Narnia. The world is so called after the country of Narnia, in which much of the action of the Chronicles takes place. In Narnia, some animals can talk, mythical beasts abound, and magic is common. The series tracks the story of Narnia when humans, usually children, enter the Narnian world from ‘our world’, or Earth. According to the mythology of the series, Narnia was created by the great lion, Aslan, and is filled with talking animals and mythical creatures. C. S. Lewis may have taken the name from the Italian town of Narni, whose Latin name was in fact, Narnia. The landscape of Lewis’ native Northern Ireland played a large part in the creation of the Narnian landscape. In his essay On Stories, Lewis wrote “I have seen landscapes, notably in the Mourne Mountains and southwards which under a particular light made me feel that at any moment a giant might raise his head over the next ridge”. The world of Narnia is a flat world in a geocentric universe. Its sky is a dome that mortal creatures cannot penetrate. Narnia’s stars are burning humanoid beings. Its constellations are the result of a mystical dance upon the sky, performed by the stars to announce the works and comings of Aslan, Narnia’s creator. The stars also arrange themselves to allow seers to foretell certain future events. [Source]


St Thomas More


Utopia is a name for an ideal society, taken from the title of a book written in 1516 by St Thomas More describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean, possessing a seemingly perfect socio-politico-legal system. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempted to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature. “Utopia” is sometimes used pejoratively, in reference to an unrealistic ideal that is impossible to achieve, and has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia. The word comes from Greek: ??, “not”, and ?????, “place”, indicating that More was utilizing the concept as allegory and did not consider such an ideal place to be realistically possible. It is worth noting that the homophone Eutopia, derived from the Greek ??, “good” or “well”, and ?????, “place”, signifies a double meaning that was almost certainly intended. Despite this, most modern usage of the term “Utopia” incorrectly assumes the latter meaning, that of a place of perfection rather than nonexistence. [Source]


Gulliver’s World
Jonathan Swift


Lilliput and Blefuscu are two fictional island nations that appear in the 1726 novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. Both are portrayed as being in the South Indian Ocean and are inhabited by tiny people who are “not six inches high”. A channel separates the two eight hundred yards wide. The tiny people of Lilliput and Blefuscu contrast with the giants of Brobdingnag whom Gulliver also met. In the novel, Gulliver washes up on the shore of Lilliput and is ‘captured’ by the inhabitants while asleep. He discovers that Lilliput and Blefuscu are permanently at war because of differences over the correct way to eat a boiled egg – from the rounded end according to the Blefuscudians, or from the sharp end according to the Lilliputians. Additionally, Gulliver’s Travels also includes the land of Brobdingnag; the people of Brobdingnag are described as giants who are as tall as a church steeple and whose stride is ten yards. All of the other animals and plants, and even natural features such as rivers and even hail, are in proportion. The rats are the size of large dogs and the flies are the size of birds, for example. [Source]


The Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum


Oz is, in the first book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, distinguished from Dorothy’s native Kansas by not being civilized; this explains why Kansas does not have witches and wizards, while Oz does. In the third book, Ozma of Oz, Oz is described as a “fairy country”, new terminology that remained to explain its wonders. Oz is roughly rectangular in shape, and divided along the diagonals into four countries: Munchkin Country (but commonly referred to as ‘Munchkinland’ in adaptations) in the East, Winkie Country (called ‘The Vinkus’ in Gregory Maguire’s Wicked and its sequel Son of a Witch) in the West, (sometimes West and East are reversed on maps of Oz, see West and East below) Gillikin Country in the North, and Quadling Country in the South. In the center of Oz, where the diagonals cross, is the fabled Emerald City, capital of the land of Oz and seat to the monarch of Oz, Princess Ozma. Oz is completely surrounded on all four sides by a desert, which insulates the citizens of Oz from discovery and invasion. In the first two books, this is merely a desert, with only its extent to make it dangerous to the traveler. [Source]


Alice’s Worlds
Lewis Carroll


Wonderland (from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) is a strange and seemingly crazy world that is entered by dropping into a rabbit hole. Animals act as normal people. Physical size as well as time is relative. However, the story also partly takes place in our ‘real’ world, where Alice starts by sitting next to her sister, and wakes up in it. In the story, Wonderland is a dream world. However, thematically, Wonderland is not really another world. It is in fact our own world, only seen through the eyes of a child. The Looking Glass world resembles Wonderland. Strange creatures also inhabit it and weird things keep happening. This world can be entered by passing through the mirror above the chimney in Alice’s house. Therefore, everything in Wonderland is reversed; books are in mirror writing and when you want to go to a certain place, you have to walk in the opposite direction. The land is laid out like a huge chessboard, with little brooks to mark the edges of the squares. The rules of chess apply when the inhabitants try to move from one square to another. The creatures in Looking Glass world seem to be a little less crazy than the creatures in Wonderland. In the end, Looking Glass world turns out to be a dream world as well, and can also be seen as a metaphor for our own adult world.


J. R. R. Tolkien


Middle-earth refers to the fictional lands where most of the stories of author J. R. R. Tolkien take place. Tolkien’s stories chronicle the struggle to control the world (called Arda) and the continent of Middle-earth, between the angelic Valar, the Elves and their allies among Men; and the demonic Melkor or Morgoth (a Vala fallen into evil) and his minions, mostly Orcs, Dragons and enslaved men. Tolkien prepared several maps of Middle-earth and the regions of Middle-earth in which his stories took place. Some were published in his lifetime, though some of the earliest maps were not published until after his death. The main maps were those published in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Tolkien said that his Middle-earth is located on our Earth, but in a fictional period in the past, estimating the end of the Third Age to about 6,000 years before his own time. He was later to refute this notion, and state that Middle-earth was not at a physically distant time, but rather “at a different stage of imagination”. [Source]

Notable Omission: Discworld

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from the Wikipedia articles cited above.

Contributors: Beranabus, JFrater

Listverse Staff

Listverse is a place for explorers. Together we seek out the most fascinating and rare gems of human knowledge. Three or more fact-packed lists daily.

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  • Ghidoran

    I really think Alagaesia(from Eragon) and maybe some concept of the Other Worlds(from the Golden Compasses) should be in the list. I mean really, the Land of Oz? No matter how famous it is, I really don't think it's that great.

    Well, I saw Middle Earth coming. Knew it would be no.1.

    • pouring_rain

      yeah, I was looking for Alagaesia too…

    • Miss Pussycat

      Most people don’t appreciate the world of Oz for what it is, for it is stereotyped from the movie. But if you might read the 14 books, you might think that it is as wonderful as Narnia. Depending on the length & detail the author puts in about the land is what captivates our minds about it. For example Middle Earth & Alagaesia. These two books are much more in-depth than that of a mere children’s story. That is why they capture our imagination so much.
      Perhaps expand your horizon and read something about the Time Quauntum, like a Wrinkle in Time. It may not have a map, but it may capture your way of thinking.

    • Gary Shannon

      Alagaesia? Really people? Eragon sucked, the world was completely derivitive.

  • MPW

    I’ve heard of most of these, but I haven’t read many of them. Nice list. Good Job Beranabus and Jamie.

  • Thanks :)

  • stevenh

    Great concept, Great list.
    wonderful quote: “different stage of imagination”.
    Thank you.

  • warrrreagl

    I’ve always thought it was oddly coincidental that Utopia was created not long after Columbus’ voyage to the New World. Great list. Much reading still left to do…

  • Oh I like this list! I love fantasy books and have read books set within most of the worlds listed. Tolkien’s world is deserving of the No. 1 place I think :-)

  • downhighway61

    Love the list!
    Fantasy worlds are great…

    Looks like I have some additions to my “books to buy” list.

  • Alex

    now where the hell is Discworld?? :>

    • Anon

      Couldn't agree more, Discworld is one of the greastest worlds going!!!

  • Beranabus

    Down: Isn’t that list a bit long as it is? Were almost in the thousands, with the cost of books already!
    Anyhow I’m glad everyone likes the list, most of the credit should go to J, since he narrowed it down and did a lot of buffing. Congrats J! You’ve managed once again to amaze us all!

  • downhighway61

    Bernanbus- I’ve already read/own 5 of them.
    And my current list is at about 10.
    Not too bad.
    Remember, I’m gonna be making those Pounds soon :)

  • Andrey

    There is no Fearun.I am such a geek:))).

  • sue

    Nice list…..takes me back a few years..

  • Denashi

    Very nice list!

  • Jeremy Foster

    Where is Terry Pratchett’s Discworld? A world featured in 38 novels so far? I definitely support Alex (post #7) in his motion.

  • eiskewl

    Some honorable mentions could have gone out to Faërun from the Forgotten Realms/Dungeons & Dragons series.. unless it is just a continent on that world.

    Vegarth created by Mercedes Lackey for her series of books about Valdemar (see Mage Wars Trilogy, Last Herald-Mage Trilogy, etc).

  • Val

    What a fantastic list! ^_^

  • Chris

    I knew immediately tha Middle Earth was number 1, which is right where it should be.

  • ohrmets

    Good list, but I was hoping to see Gormenghast on there somewhere! Mervyn Peake’s creation in the series of the same name is really unlike any other fantasy world put to pen!

  • warningdontreadthis

    Nice list. And by the way I like the new front page it looks really good. This must have been the new changes you spoke of :D

  • evan

    dune’s arrakis?

  • Ruairi

    Gormenghast…what a series

  • Mom424

    Beranabus, Jamie: Great concept, great list.

    I was disappointed to see no mention of “The Land” from the Thomas Covenant series by Stephen R. Donaldson. There are giants, stone folk, zombie like creatures, elves and of course Lord Foul. Complex mythology and geography similar to Tolkien.
    It sucked me in. Great series of books.

    Definitely worth an honorable mention.

  • Mom424

    Evan: Dune’s entire solar system. Great addition. Kudo’s for the mention.

  • DiscHuker

    i’ve never heard of discworld but it sounds like a wonderful place. :) i can’t believe it wasn’t included.

    narnia is my favorite listed

  • leonardomonkey

    What about Stephen Kings Gunslinger world(s)

  • Spocker

    Why does Gulliver’s World show an island group that suspiciously looks like Great Britain?

    • The lower island looks exactly like France too.

  • I will admit (with a little bit of pride) that I have read something from all of these worlds. It’s taken me fifty years, but I have done it. Discworld would be a great addition.

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned Harry Potter’s universe. The problem may be that it really dosn’t have a name. There is the world of the Muggles and the wizarding world that co-exists with it.

    If the list is limited to ten, which one(s) come off?

  • Brickhouse

    Love this list! I knew Middle Earth was number one and I love that Narnia is on the list, too. Great job! B)

  • Brickhouse


  • spleen

    are the ones fromm gullivers travels supposed to look like the britain and france?

  • Bandersnatch

    Who can forget Osten Ard from Tad Williams’s “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” series. Check it out if you haven’t already! All the “fantasy” cultures are based on real world ones.

  • J

    Discworld deserves at least a Bonus Mention. While it may not be the best, it is certainly one of the most creative.

  • LordCalvert

    HYBORIA by far the best of all fantasy worlds. Conan the friggin Barbarian for crying out loud!!

  • solensdrottning

    I was so sad not to see Robert Jordan on here! I think his fantasy series “The Wheel of Time” creates a world equally detailed and amazing as Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

    • DannyDirt

      I completely agree everything about Jordan’s creationm is equally indepth and detailed that you do believe that you are there. The Wheel of Time is deffinatley something that is a must read for any fantasy fan

  • Kiribub

    Ahem. Please do allow me to lend my support to the inclusion of Discworld.

  • gigs

    Arrakis (aka) Dune, from the Dune series should be on this.

  • Bob

    Great list, though of course I’d have placed Narnia further up in the list. You were dead-on with #1, of course. BTW, anybody really interested in Narnia and Lewis’s writings (i.e., not somebody who’s just seen the movies–I skipped PC after having seen the train-wreck [haha] that was LWW–and has no intention of reading the books) would probably be interested in Dr. Michael Ward’s book Planet Narnia, despite its abysmal title. Ward’s book shows the intricacy Lewis put into Narnia (despite the criticisms of Tolkien and his fans, Narnia is hardly a hodgepodge).

  • Blacknimbus

    “HYBORIA by far the best of all fantasy worlds. Conan the friggin Barbarian for crying out loud!!”

    That’s what I was wondering….where is Cimmeria?

  • warningdontreadthis

    Note to self: Must finish lord of the rings.

  • Cheeshygirl

    Awesome list! I love fantasy books and have read about several of these worlds. One of my favorites is the world of Krynn from the D&D Dragonlance series. I love high fantasy and this world has it all. Centaurs, minotaurs, and kender, oh my! :)

  • What I forgot to mention is that no modern sci-fi was included. This is more traditional literature – my own favorite :)

  • Bob: I thought Tolkien and Lewis were quite good friends?

  • James

    No Discworld = epic fail

  • Kiribub


    What I forgot to mention is that no modern sci-fi was included.

    Ah, that makes sense, then. Might you consider a follow-up list that encompasses more recent efforts?

    Again, Discworld deserves high marks and consideration.


  • Kiribub: absolutely: my reason for excluding them was that we can have a whole list of best sci-fi worlds, and another one of best game worlds. There is no point trying to make them compete against each other when all have merit in their own genre :)

  • Tiffany H

    Has anyone ever read “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman? I think London Below is a fantastic fantasy world.

  • JB

    Nice list

    but I also miss:
    Forgotten Realms (maybe the richest fantasy world with hundreds or maybe thousands of books placed in there);
    Ansalon or Krinn (from Dragonlance);
    Discworld (with Antuin the big turtle, the most hilarious one)

    #29 spleen : Cm on! what do you mean? that Jonathan Swift used sarcasm about French and English eternal wars? :P

    I’m a Lovecraft fan and is the first time I heard about Dreamlands. I shall find those books. Maybe Lovecraft New England false cities could be on this list also.

  • Quick fact…

    #5- There kinda was such a place but was not located in the Atlantic ocean. Utopia, Ohio was located on the Ohio River. Some guy was convincing that the years of peace were coming and people needed to start the trend and example. So he set up a community on the Ohio River for these Spiritualist to live. People were supposed to live peacefully and quietly and hamoniously so they could create the perfect Utopian society. The community disbanded a couple years later when people were starting to think he was a fraud because the oceans didn’t turn into lemonaid like he said. Then a second group of Spiritualist moved into the area and moved the town hall closer to the banks of the Ohio river. A couple days later the Ohio River flooded its banks and killed nearly all the people. They were in the town hall, either at a party celebrating or because they had no where to go because their houses were already flooded.

    Weird people

  • kowzilla

    Val (#14),

    I think that this list is actually intrinsically “fantastic.”

    But it is a very cool list.

  • Csimmons

    great list, I love fantasy books, I knew Middle Earth was gonna be #1 though.

  • kowzilla

    Tempyra, Tolkien and Lewis were friends. However, they were (like most men) rather competitive. My mother used to tell me a story about Tolkien was constantly encouraging Lewis to review and revise his work because he was upset by how quickly Lewis wrote.

    How true that story is I cannot say, but I still enjoy it.

  • A wonderful list Beranabus!
    Short on time this a.m., but I must say that, as a young girl, Alice in Wonderland and Through the LookingGlass were my favorite books (actually, I had them as a set in one volume, with the original drawings), and I read them so often that I could recite whole sections by heart, and can still recite most of the poems!
    Good lord, what a strange store house my brain must be.

  • Ravyn: wow – thanks for the extra bit of trivia – how ironic that their utopia was so crap!

  • oose85

    Pern by Anne McCafrey
    Midkemia/Kelewan by Raymond E. Feist
    A Galaxy Far Far Away – Star wars

  • Callie

    When I saw the title the only two I could think of were Oz and Middle Earth and I was thinking that the rest would be sci-fi stuff I’d never heard of. However, I’ve read most of these- and loved them. I’ve always thought of myself as a mystery gal but maybe I’m more of a fantasy nerd than I thought. Great list! Loved the inclusion of Gulliver. gotta love the yahoos vs. the whinnems (I don’t feel like looking the right spelling of that up. I think I could just tap letter out on the keyboard and come sort of close. Whyhunmomaas?)

  • schiesl

    What about the “Four Lands” in the Shannarah Series? Its probobly going to be made into a movie soon.

  • oose85

    I don’t remember if the place was ever named but the universe from The Belgariad, etc by David Eddings

  • Mathilda

    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves…

    What a great list! I so loved the Chronicles of Narnia when I was younger; I really, really wished that I had a wardrobe or a picture or a hedge to climb through that would get me to a world of talking animals and magic! Of course, the fact that I might be a queen there didn’t hurt either. I still don’t know if I would choose Narnia or Middle Earth, if offered the choice where to live – and I still do have hope that someday it might happen. :)

  • Eve

    Wow,that list is wonderful. Dreamlands sounds great- it will be my holiday read! The world of Hogwarts is a truly magical one, too. So much colour and so many historical, cultural and mythological references plus breathtaking turns and revelations-I would have loved to see a female author on this list for a change…:)

  • Callie

    perfectionism got the better of me:


    I actually didn’t do badly with my hit the letters and see what happens strategy.

  • Angryfeet

    Tiffany H – I totally agree! One of the best books I’ve read.

  • Vera Lynn

    Callie (59) Yes. It’s the sound horses make. Better than “neigh.” You were good both times (54). Too funny, Swift.

  • nikki

    i always wanted to live in alice’s worlds or neverland. the world from artemis fowl seemed pretty cool, too. great list, too!

  • Callie

    No the Houyhnhnm’s are the horses. They control the Yahoo’s. All the characters are spelled strangely.

  • Elsa

    While this list does not include modern “worlds”, I think not all of the modern stuff should be moved into a “games” catagory.I lament the exclusion of the oft overlooked world of Xanth.Granted, these are light humerous stories for the most part, but the “world” Peirs Anthony has fashioned is well fleshed out and easily imaginable in one’s mind with little or no effort.
    So even though this is a “Classic” lit list, I would recommend it for someone’s reading list. Nice short reads in a humerous vein.

  • SocialButterfly

    Excellent list Beranabus, I was following closely as you developed it and I think it’s come along very well!

  • Madcow39526

    Well since Jfrater says there can be a sci-fi worlds list…my nomination goes to the ring world from the Gaean Trilogy by John Varley. The three books are Titan, Wizard, and Demon.

  • Randall

    Nice list…

    There were two books that covered this sort of thing, back in the late 70s/80s… “The Encylopedia of Fantasy” was one, if I remember the title correctly–although when I Googled that title, it only came up with a book published first in the 90s. Perhaps the one I’m thinking of is long out of print. The other was “An Atlas of Fantasy,” a copy of which I own… I’m not sure if this is in print any longer either–the one I found online didn’t look anything like the copy I own, which I bought back in around 1980 or so, I think. Many of the maps of worlds which are mentioned here do, of course, appear in that book.

    Middle Earth, of course, is the apex of imaginary worlds… I have a map, somewhere, in digital form, that superimposes modern Europe over the map of Middle Earth to indicate the locations of such places as the Shire (smack in the heart of the West country of England, of course) and Mirkwood (Lapland down to the Baltic if I recall) and so on. Check out the site “Strange Maps” at

  • LML

    Wonderful list

    Thank goodness for places like these where we can escape the everyday grind of mortal life and be swept away on a fantastic journey.

  • perun99

    What about Atlantis – though I guess that might not qualify as a “world”…

  • r3vc0

    What about Stephen King’s All-World? The land of the dark tower and the Crimson King?

  • jh

    This is a good list, but the omission of the world from Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time is a glaring one. It is more detailed and thought-out than most of the entires on this list, and more takes place there than any two other entries on this list!

  • Cedestra

    Wow, so many comments to comment on.
    First, this list was great. I was starved for some good writing. :)
    25. Spocker: LOL! Well, you’ve stumbled on to the big joke in that book. The “Bigendians” and “Littleendians” were actually a political statement on the war between the Protestants and the Catholics in Great Britain. They both had different ways of doing it, but in the end, they’re both worshipping God/Christ, right?
    41. Tempyra: Ah, but they were. CS Lewis loved Tolkien’s books, but Tolkien disliked the fact that Lewis just seemingly through whatever he wanted in there. There was no history to why centaurs lived near witches who lived near unicorns. In Tolkien’s world, he gave allusions to the hobbits being descended from elves; that elves in certain areas had different looks, society, crops, etc.
    56. oose85: I second that motion. That had such a detailed map and the whole series was strongly influenced by the regions. Read his book “Polgara” and you’ll see how strongly influenced she was by the warring states- I forget all their nanmes, but Mimbrate was one.
    67. Randall: I own the Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Wasn’t what I was expecting, but it’s nice nonetheless. I mention it because it was $90!!! Must be out of print or else amazon ripped me off.
    I would like to mention the island-world Melanie Rawn uses in her Sunrunner books.

  • eraserhead

    The right side of the map on #6 (Narnia) looks like a Gorilla’s head! HAHAHA!

  • Randall


    Interesting. That’s like a freakin’ textbook price. (I was bookstore manager once, many many years ago… both trade AND text books… so I know all the book scams the publishing biz has).

    They mention the Encylopedia of Fantasy in the *other* book, “The Atlas of Fantasy,” though, and that was published in the early 80s or late 70s. I dunno how it can be the same book, though, when online it says it was first published in like, 1993. This is a minor mystery I’ll have to solve.

  • This list really turned out great! Nice choice of photos representing each land too.
    It’s nice to see something that stated in the forums come to fruition.

  • longball321

    The world of Shannara in the Shannara series by Terry Brooks and Xanth by Peirs Anthony and Abeir-Toril (Forgotton realms) partially made famous by r. A. SALVATORE and his books about Drizzt Do’Urden should all be honorable mention at least…

  • jhm

    Good list. I knew middle earth was number 1 but it deserves it. Now i want to make my own.

  • Callie


    67. Randall: I own the Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Wasn’t what I was expecting,

    I don’t know how you meant that, but I read it dirty and laughed. I’m like 5 :)

    You know what I’ve always wanted that costs entirely too much money? A complete OED.

    Books shouldn’t cost so much. My college textbooks were always way over the top. Boo.

  • DK

    This list turned out wonderfully! If I had to choose one to live in it would certainly be Never Never land, I don’t wanna grow up.

  • Hans

    Redwall has a pretty intricate and detailed world surrounding it. I think it should be up on the list.

  • JayArr

    I would put Witch World in place of what’s in number 7. All in all, very decent list. I also agree that S.R. Donaldson’s world could easily make this list.

  • Cmdrfrog

    Azeroth bloody crushes every fantasy world on this list. Over 10 million people are actively paying 15$ a month to spend hundreds of hours of their time per month visiting Azeroth via world of warcraft. No other fantasy world even comes close, even if you think of the cumulative time and money spent in/on the others over the many years.

  • Izual

    Nice list, I agree with most of those, but I would have liked to see Westeros from George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series in there too. I think the series is fantastic and the level of detail written about the world and its inhabitants is great.

    Also I agree with Hans (79), I think the Redwall series created a very detailed and immersive world and is definitely worth a mention on this list.

    • DashyxCat

      I most certainly agree! I was scrolling through the comments to see if anybody had said anything about Westeros! Absolutely love it!

  • oose85

    72. Cedestra I have read Polgara as well as Belgarath, They lend very valuable fill-ins to the map. Thank you for your support

  • TDavis

    O.K. No modern Sci-Fi.
    Still…..Anne McCaffrey’s Pern!!!!

  • Ebony

    You guys are noobs. Where the hell is the Discworld?

    Best fantasy setting ever.

  • Anne O’Nemus

    I am outraged that Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is not included! There are dozens of countries, each with their own distinct customs, dress, vernacular, and five thousand years of history, cataclysmic wars, two thousand characters, several continents, and 50 or 100 major characters. The storylines are beyond complex, each weaving and making mention of the others. How could the Wheel of Time not be included?

    Even detailed are judicial/governmental systems, a religion, several other races, and different types of cuisine… come on now!

  • Wolve

    I’m actually very surprised that Tencendor wasn’t mentioned either..the world created by Sara Douglass is incredibly in depth, and the saga she weaves around this world is unparalleled in modern fantasy. Oh and 2nd on Pern.

  • TheShirt

    Yes, the islands in Gulliver’s Travels are supposed to look like Britain and France. If you read the story, you will discover that the entire story is a biting satire. Read A Modest Proposal as well, I’m sure you will love that.

    And as for Warcraft, the title of this article is “Top 10 Fantasy Worlds in Literature.”

  • ive yet to read 2 and 3 (the books, not the worlds)

  • dustin

    top five
    1) middle earth
    2) wheel of time
    3) discworld
    4) a song of ice and fire-land
    5) gormenghast

  • kris

    nice, but i spot a flaw to it: where’s terry pratchett’s discworld?

  • ohrmets

    Yes, Gormenghast!

  • 1Boatman

    Seriously where the hell is Prachett’s disc world?!

  • 1Boatman


  • Lindsay

    If there was a part 2 to the list, I’d recommend my more modern favorites from childhood (and now!)

    Discworld (Pratchett)
    Pern (McCaffery)
    Valdemar (Lackey)
    Xanth (Anthony)
    Redwall (Jacques)
    Dune (Herbert)

    I love the worlds on the list now too. So many fine worlds into which we can escape…

  • kris

    Nice list…. wanting me to read the all the books again..except shangri-la i have all the collections…

    Well right now I am busy ready Chicken soup books…

  • Cedestra

    79. Callie: LOL! Yeah, I get it- of course I wasn’t thinking that way, but yeah ::sheepish grin:: You silly perv you.

  • Laure

    The next list should be one of fictional cities, like China Mievilles ‘New Crobuzon’, Gotham city, Lovecrafts Arkham, the book im reading right now has a city called Ambergris (City of Saints and Madman, Jeff Vandermeer) which is fantastic

  • rushfan

    I’ve just recently gotten into the fantasy genre in the past few years, but my fave is The Land in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, as mentioned above, as well as Westland and the Midlands of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series.

  • ciunas

    Beautifully presented list — the illustrations bring it to life.

    I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan of pure fantasy, tho. Tolkien, IMO, is hugely overrated. I was so disappointed by the flat narrative of ‘LOTR’ when I read it in my teens. As for Lovecraft: he can barely write a coherent sentence.

    I reckon Swift should be #1 by a mile. Bowdlerized versions of the first 2 Books of ‘GT’ — about his voyages to Lilliput & Brobdingnag — are or were published for kids’ consumption, & I first read them when I was very young, 7 or 8, & loved them. (They were abridged for children because there is some 18th-century directness about bodily functions in them. In the originals, Gulliver goes into some detail explaining how the Lilliputians deal with his colossal turds, & mentions being used as a sort of sex toy by a maid in the Brobdingnagian court.) Swift’s powers of description are extraordinary — almost hallucinatory. As a child I appreciated Books 1 & 2 as strangely naturalistic fairy tales, I suppose. When I was older, & read & studied & wrote about the 4 Books of ‘GT’ & Swift’s other stuff, I could appreciate them as timeless satires too, & enjoy his insights into human nature & his attacks on hypocrisy. Plus, he can be as funny as hell. Swift is a great writer by any standards & ‘GT’ is a masterpiece.

    BTW, the few pages devoted to the Struldbruggs in Book 3 of ‘GT’ have gained a horrible extra relevance nowadays as science prolongs our lives. The Struldbruggs are immortal but they don’t cease aging. As they grow older & older, so they become more & more helpless & grotesque

  • Jack

    I have to agree with the 3 people (only 3?!) that were disappointed that Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time world was not included. I personally find it to be more enjoyable than Tolkien’s, despite the fact that Tolkien did develop an entire language (which, being a linguist, I find absolutely remarkable). But yes, the world in the Wheel of Time should definitely beat out Pellucidar, at least.

  • Zekk

    Nice list. I just wish discworld could have been included. Or, even better in my mind, is Amber from the Amber series by Zelazny. It’s a brilliant world!

  • Tom Wang

    For a minute I was saying to myself “Where is Brittania(Sosaria)?” Then I saw the ‘literature’ title. Recurrent fantastical worlds like those don’t come around too often. Loved the list though.

  • oose85

    103. Jack He created a 2 languages: Dwarvish, and elvish (Elvish has 4 dialects)

  • Sarah At The Disco

    I immediatly thought of Alice In Wonderland when I read the title.
    I think it should be number one, but hey, that’s just me :]

  • cgnaja

    Some honorable mentions could have gone out to Faërun from the Forgotten Realms/Dungeons & Dragons series.. unless it is just a continent on that world.

  • ellE

    I also loved the Redwall series. I read a lot of those books growing up. My favorite part was reading the story and stopping every chapter to see where in the map the characters were located.

  • ringtailroxy

    OMG! As soon as I saw the title of this list, my very 1st thought was “humph. bet the author forgot the Dreamlands of Lovecraft. I so loved the ‘Quest for the Unknown Kadath”

    imagine my squeal of surprise and joy at seeing it at #10! right on, Beranabus, JFrater!

    seriously. you have just increased your coolness factor by 1000%.

    yes. I did not think it possible. but now, I have just climbed out of my dark, dank attic with a rubbermaid box full of paperback books from my childhood and found my collections of H.P. Lovecraft works. It’s a stormy evening, the lights are out, and I am going to open the windows, feel the humid breeze and smell the scent of rain, and read Lovecraft by the light of a candle. talk about setting the mood!


  • dustin

    tolkein borrowed from welsh in alot of the languages he created

  • ringtailroxy: your description so makes me want to be there!

    Sarah At The Disco: It was until the last minute :)

  • diamond

    Great list!!
    Wish you could’ve included Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time world (post 33, i’m right with you)
    Looks like I’ve got some reading to do, number 10 sounds like it would be right up my alley in terms of sci-fi

  • bonzo

    No Flatland?

  • Terry Finley

    Fantasy is great;
    it ranks right up
    there with realiity.
    thanks for sharing this

  • geyMatter


  • Geraint

    Discworld is certainly a sad omission

  • conundrum

    As much as I believe Discworld should be on the list, what about Lord Dunsany’s Pangea? Nearly half the list, including Middle Earth itself, would not exist without it.

  • Sunny

    Excellent list!

  • Okay – discworld has been added as a notable omission :)

  • Ravyn, I have read all about that Utopia in Ohio, also. So sad, what people will believe, will *do*, in order to grasp at invisible straws of happiness.
    Re: Middle Earth. When I first started Uni, there was a small club near campus named Middle Earth. The decor was exactly what you’d expect, with maps of Middle Earth hanging on the walls, which were made to look like the interior of caves and trees. The house band was, for a time, Iron Butterfly, but they made a record and became well known and someone else came in…I was long gone by the time any of this took place any way. I didn’t have time for clubbing.
    Still, the few times I did go, it was nice. Good memories…except for the last night I went there and left seconds before a police raid.

  • Master Polka

    Love the list, very orgional idea. I was sad that Discworld wasnt on the list (ive read all the books) but i can live with it being a noteable exceptoin. :)

  • warningdontreadthis

    Jfrater: I can’t be the only one who thinks Pullmans world in the “His dark materials” series was pretty nifty.
    Notable omission?


  • Polly Odyssey

    Great list!

  • Brian Moo

    Utopia looks a lot like modern China to me!

  • Spence425

    i haven’t seen it mentioned at all…but i would submit Fantasia from Michael Ende’s Neverending Story.

    when i was young, this was the the ultimate in fantasy stories. better than narnia by a long least in my mind.

  • Roman

    I agree with lenardomonkey and whomever mentioned All-world. The levels of the Tower definitely belong on this list. Not only do they incorporate all of the Dark Tower series, but also ‘Salem’s Lot, The Stand, The Talisman, It, The Eyes of the Dragon, Insomnia, Rose Madder, Desperation, The Regulators, Black House, From a Buick 8, Hearts in Atlantis, Bag of Bones, The Shining, Cell, The Mist, Everything’s Eventual, and The Little Sisters of Eluria in some way shape or form as some level of the Tower. I can understand if you want to put this in the Sci-Fi boat, but it definitely has a foot or so in the fantasy world.

  • Lawrence

    You missed out Discworld!!!! What’s more fantastic than a flat world balanced on four elephants who in turn rest on The Great A’Tuin.

  • Champiñon

    what happened with discworld¿?¿¿?

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  • Nejikun

    I was hoping to see the Wheel of Time world. Rarely have i encountered such a diversity of culture.

  • Mike

    I also expected to find discworld here.

  • Iain

    Jfrater – regarding your caveat about modern sci-fi. Robert E Howard was a contemporary of Tolkein – the first Conan story appeared in 1932 before the Lord of the Rings. So it should/could be on the list ( e.g. a lot better than the Narnia stuff in my opinion) or a very notable exception.

  • henry o

    Best-looking list on the site!

  • Annunnakike

    What a disappointing list! No Weis and Hickman?? WTF?? And come on, Tolkien is far overrated… It’s not like he’s THAT good. I’ve read better. I never understood all the fuss around him. He’s a real drag…. And discworld is a notable omission? phuh!
    Better choices next time?

  • dlomax

    Great list, well-presented. The most fun about things like this is to argue about what else should make the grade. I’d have loved to see Faerie (not anybody’s in particular; just the Faerie that any writer is free to go play around in), the Land from Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and the world of George R R Martin’s Fire and Ice books.

  • KC

    I couldn’t have asked for a better top three :D

  • Randall


    Let’s not forget, also, that there’s often a fine line between what is sci-fi and what’s fantasy. Howard’s stories are one case in point. There are many imaginary worlds that are clearly placed in sci-fi settings. But then again, where should we put Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter of Mars? These stories take place on an imaginary Mars, a fantasy Mars… are they sci-fi or fantasy? Or both? Tough question.

    But the Conan stories at least take place on a sort of fantasy Earth… sure, of the far-flung future, but then the Lord of the Rings takes place on a fantasy Earth of the far-flung past, one might say (at least according to casual statements by Tolkien… though strictly by looking at the material in the books, it’s at best arguable).

    Anyway, you make a good point, but it’s a tough question.

  • sherriant

    I totally agree with the above posters regarding The Wheel of Time series. Whenever I reread the books, it always takes me a while to come back to this world. Off topic, but does anyone know what’s going to happen to the WOT series now that Robert Jordan died?

  • dustin

    sherriant, with the help of robert jordans wife who was his editor anyways, brandon sandersons writing the last book

  • JayArr

    Hey Cmdrfrog (#83), since when was World of Warcraft LITERATURE???

    Anne (#88) – Wheel of Time was indeed a good world… could easily have made it into this list.

    cgnaja (#108) – as I recall, Forgotten Realms started as a game world and was later incorporated into fantasy novels; not sure if it qualifies (I’ve been known to be wrong before).

    sherriant (#138) – his wife and son(?) are finishing the last book in the series… not sure when it’s actually due from the publisher.

  • dustin

    jayarr, its not his son, its some up and coming new fantasy author

  • dustin if you want to read more about it

  • Carol

    Roman , I totally agree with you! I thought the list was great, it made me want to read all of these books (only read 2 of them) but I really miss The Dark Tower worlds in there =\

  • Algodon

    some other worlds that, i think, are worthy to appear on this list:

    DSA – das schwarze auge (the black eye): a rpg world from a group of german students… amazingly well thought-out

    Star Wars – no need to explain!!!

    discworld – mentioned before

    the world from lukjanenko´s night watch

    and many many others

  • JayArr

    Thanks Dustin… I guessed I was wrong on the ‘son’ part, but did not take the time to research. :(

  • Glitterina

    How about the Bazaar on Deva from the Myth Adventures?
    And I love Pern too, but is that really fanatsy, or is it more sci-fi?
    Oh yeah, and how about Tamora Pierce’s Tortall?

  • JokersAce

    #5… why? Utopia is fictional. But definitely not fantasy.

  • antmansbigxmas

    I definitely would have included Stephen King’s extensive universe, which not only covers the Dark Tower series but almost all of his books intricately woven together to form a singular mythology. Very cool.

    Also the Harry Potter universe, maybe Neil Gaiman’s Sandman universe, and Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth universe, if not for its popularity then at least for its complexity.

  • Adrianne

    discworld, the territories from stephen king’s the dark tower, and terry goodkind’s westland eastlant and dhara, jacqueline careys d’angeline empire, harry potter

  • Mr. Mojo

    ciunas (102) – Tolkien’s work does seem very dry compared to more modern books. You have to keep a couple of things in mind when reading something like LotR:

    1) There was nothing even remotely similar to Middle-Earth when the LotR series was written, that is why Tolkien is considered the father of modern fantasy.

    2) Tolkien was extremely intelligent and creative. People don’t speak “proper” English as a general rule anymore, so some of the words he used are unfamiliar. To make matters worse, he invented languages for his characters and the meaning of the words isn’t always apparent.

    I love the LotR series and The Hobbit but I found Tolkien’s other works to be too dry. Even LotR is heavy reading for me. I have to have a quiet, calm place where I can concentrate to read it.

    Also, put me down for another vote in favor of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Tolkien set the standard, but Jordan went further than any other author to date. The series consists of (currently) 11 books, a prequel, a short story or 2, and an encyclopedia type reference. I’ve read every book at least 4 times, and I still find new details every time I open one. There is so much information crammed into the books that it is impossible to catch everything on the first time through, or even the second. Jordan also had a habit of leaving hints to upcoming events in earlier books, so you may think an event is inconsequential filler in an earlier book, only to find out several books later that it was a key turning point or fork in the story. Jordan also created at least a skeleton of a language…the “old tongue”, as well as multiple highly detailed civilizations which interact with one another in depth. I’ve never read a fictional book as creative as the Wheel of Time series, and I recommend it to everyone.

  • lizzie

    Great list, though I, too, am disappointed that Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series didn’t make the list. I love re-visiting his world and have re-read each book many times. I love the detail, and the characters and none of it ever gets boring to me. It’s such a pleasure losing myself in his world. :D I hope whoever finishes off the final book can do it justice.

  • Docskeezer

    Would Fantasia from The Neverending Story qualify for this list?

  • helguson

    great compilation. one glaring omission, though. why is discworld not mentioned?

  • Anne O’Nemus

    Well then we should do a list: The Top 10 Most Amazing Attributes to Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. Any takers?

  • Carol

    Docskeezer I forgot about Fantasia! It really is a great fictional world, with the deserts of colored sand and all its creatures ^^

  • Cubone

    Great list, but I like El Dorado.

  • Cubone

    . . . or was that French lit?

  • infallibleangel


    For lists like these… because they are so relative… I wish that instead of making a “top” list… you would just compile a list of Fantasy places in literature. It would be much more entertaining just to read them, and then no ones’ favorites would be left off.

    I think this is a great list… but there are a few others that ought to be on here too, if you ask me. Like Fantastica, from Neverending Story… and (my personal favorite), Lyra’s Earth, from His Dark Materials… and (arguably) Arthur Dent’s adventures from Hitchhikers Guide. Maybe that could be narrowed down to Magrathea?

    Fantasy especially is relative and easier to disagree upon. Just to have them all listed there would have been wonderful.

  • Elizabeth

    What!? No Discworld? For shame!

  • ciunas

    Mr Mojo: Actually, what I recall enjoying about ‘LOTR’ were the appendices in which he discusses the fictional languages. I don’t know whether this is what you mean by the book’s (or the books’) dryness. I think I’m right in saying that the whole elaborate enterprise was created as a kind of justification for his philological concerns.

    I remember enjoying ‘The Hobbit’ when I was a kid, but the trouble with ‘LOTR’, IMO, is that Tolkien isn’t a resourceful enough narrator to sustain a story of that length & scale. The characters are undeveloped & aren’t placed in any real jeopardy during their adventures. You rarely get a sense of how they feel. The quest-style plot is dully linear & lacks twists, reversals, surprises, &c. We are just given around 1,000 pages of more of the same with no tension or narrative drive. (Plus — & this, in a general way, is what doesn’t appeal to me about fantasy at its purest, while presumably being exactly what attracts others — it isn’t about anything except itself.)

  • Professor

    I have to add my vote: Terry Pratchett’s Discworld definitely belongs on the list, not just as a “Notable Omission” but as a fully fledged member! Perhaps the contributors need to expand their reading horizons?

  • Teapixie

    I must agree with every person who has mourned the exclusion of Discworld. Who hasn’t wanted to do a walking tour of Ankh Morpork. Well, me for one, sounds hideous. But that aside, shame on you. You have made me a little bit sad.

  • mallory

    what about Kubla Khan’s Xanadu??

  • DJ

    This was awesome. I want to go to Shangri-La now! it looks beautiful!

    if your not old and you have mysopace add me. and join me on Mafia Wars. or just chat wich ever.

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  • chemical_echo

    I’m shocked there’s no Wizard’s World from the Harry Potter series.
    That world had everything: Wizards, Witches, Dragons, and (the best of all) Quidditch

  • Mr.Graves

    I hate to break it to you but you are sorely missing ‘The Prince of Nothing’ series. Written by J. Scott Bakkar, he has literaly recieved reviews that, and I quote’ Bakkar manages to out Tolkein in the depth and cultures, the intricracies of individual languages and the conflicts betweeh the nations and warring religions.

    Enter Kellhus; A Dunyain. Bred from birth for perfection; those Dunyain who who fail are put to the sword-0r even wrose, There is no room for mercy; no room for compassion. The Dunyain live for one purpose- to complete their missions as warrior monks with complete pefection. Remorseless, they make no compunction whether killing toddlers or the
    demons come to wreak the second apocalypse up upon them.

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  • LunaLeo

    I believe I am the only to mention this so far, but what of Earth Sea?

  • Cloud

    What about the Twelve Related worlds of CHRESTOMANCI! (crest – o – man – see), portrayed in a series of books by Diana Wynne Jones (also the author of Howl’s castle, not to mention a student of both C.S LEWIS and TOLKIEN.)

  • JOSH

    Slightly dissapointed the Planet of Krynn and mostly the continent of Ansalon from the dragonlance series didn’t make the list. With over 190 seperate novels printed about this world, figured it would be on here. If you have never read any, I strongly suggest it.

  • spongebabe

    what, no wizarding world from harry potter?

  • Glowbug

    I’m sure others have said this, but I have to put in my two cents – I was badly disappointed to see that neither the Discworld, Faerun, Hyperboria nor Krynn made at least honourable mention. For any Canadians out there who’ve read them, the Earth of the Fifth Millenium novels also deserves honourable mention, in my opinion. Great list, though.

  • jess

    I think that the Kingdom of Wisdom from The Phantom Tollbooth, one of my favorite books of all time, should have made the list. Great list, though.

  • leanne

    what about harry potter?!

  • Pernille

    A little disappointed that the wizarding world of Harry Potter is not here.. other then that, pretty good!

  • leesh

    great list but i thought there would be harry potter by j.k.rowling(im a big fan!!!)anyway well done!!!



    8 yrs old


  • RJ Vaughn

    where is the wheel of time world, seriously the whole place doesnt have a name but it is one of the best fantasy worlds, as well as alagaesia, and harry potter world is not a world, its england go stare at a map of englang and ull get the same shit minus the actual locations of hogwarts, and by the ways there was never a map in any harry potter books, yes earth sea too

  • chaos

    I can’t believe Harry Potter’s wizarding world isn’t on here.

  • Em


  • Monkey222

    What about Alagaesia? from the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini?

  • Mememe

    Ok, this pisses me off.

    In all the lists about Fantasy or Sci-Fi I’ve never even once seen any reference to Barsoom, E.R. Burroughs’ Mars.

    Although they have tons of flaws and numerous plot-wholes or repeated forced coincidences (they were pulp-style, after all) the books were tremendously important to the future of fantasy/sci-fi because they preceded most of what you know today and had a tremendous influence in future sci-fi writers.

    The first book was written in 1912, people – it set a precedent and helped, if not singlehandedly forged the entire fantasy/sci-fi genre.

  • Parker


  • XC

    harry potter can’t be here because he lives in London, people…
    it’s not a different world, it’s here, on earth, in england.

    & even if there’s no “modern sci-fi” Pern could definatley still be here, because it’s a little of both, no?

  • Szme

    Wow, great collection!

    But I think Earthsea from Ursula K. le Guin’s books should be listed here also.

  • TonyK

    As a child I read a book about 2 English children (a girl and a boy) who discover roman coins in an old well by a castle. They fall in when their parents are away and discover a tunnel which leads to a cave and eventually an underground civilization and even an underground train. They get on the train and travel for miles and eventually disover the Roman empire didn’t die and Latin was not a dead language. It was a compelling story that captivated the whole class as the teacher read a portion of each day. Probably one reason I became such a reader. Does anyone know the title/author of this book? I’ve searched and searched and no plot like the above.


    Carmel, CA

  • Mark

    What? Not even a mention of Midkemia or Kelewan? That’s a bit frustrating I always loved Feist, oh well, your list I guess.

  • Devi

    The Realms from Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy?
    Beautiful, if a bit complex.

    And Edding’s worlds both in the Belgariad/Mallorean and the Elenium/Tamuli.

    And, repeating everyone else, yes. Discworld.

  • Dedmo

    No Discworld? No way, incomplete list!

  • Darkbane

    What no mention of Heaven? That has to be the top Fantasy World ever created…. Or at least the best known.

  • bolanka

    When I was a child I read Gulliver. It was very nice. Before 4 years I read Lord of the rings. Its

  • bolanka

    When I was a child I read Gulliver. It was very nice. Before 4 years I read Lord of the rings. Its amazing

  • DaBigHotChocolate

    Hmmm… Good list, with an omission I find notable: Riverworld. Anybody ever read that series of books?

  • siliaris

    Why is Tolkein always top…I want to see elric’s world, and also toril (forgotten realms).

  • jeff

    what about Feist’s world of midkemia? the man is one of the best fantasy authors out there today?

  • Rowena

    I was not surprised by any of the top 6. They all deserve a place.

    However, if you haven’t yet, make a list of more recent ones!

    My suggestions:
    1. Discworld (Terry Pratchett)
    2. Midkemia/Kelewan (Raymond E. Feist)
    3. the world from the Belgariad etc.
    4. Earthsea
    5. Alagaesia
    6. Pern

    These suggestions are ranked, and are not actually in order of the awesomeness of the books, but of the worlds, in my opinion.

  • vergil

    hey, where is the Pokemon world?

  • Krystle

    Great list but severely disappointed that the Discworld is not featured.

  • roy

    You forgot John Norman’s Gor.

  • sdasad

    Warcraft, Warhammer, The Elder Scrolls, Lord of the rings

    anything else can go fuck itself

  • Kuban8r

    Not sure if it would bump any of the ten, but my honorable mention goes to the Four Lands from the Shannara series. Great books

  • bart

    kudos to all mentions of discworld by pratchett, earthsea by guin and dune by herbert
    to all harry potter mentions – this one does not belong here, rowling puts the action in ENGLAND for crying out loud! and as great as the whole wizard/muggles opposition in this series is, it is not a ‘fantasy world’ as such, compared to the other titles in here

  • emma

    Ok so where was 'Discworld' ? That should have made it into this list!!!

  • John

    The person who made this list is my hero for including Lovecraft's Dreamland.

  • elvislees

    Discworld by Terry Pratchett should have been there…seriously

  • Danny

    Why is Stephen King's Gunslinger's world not included herein?

  • diziizle

    I don't remember if the place was ever named but the universe from The Belgariad, etc by David Eddings Dizi izle

  • Haven't actually read of many of these lands, but I would have had Discworld and the Edge from the Edge chronicles in there too.

  • Mia

    Panem-the hunger games by suzanne collins :)

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  • Tony

    Why the Discworld omission?

  • Mo

    Westeros & Essos, the main settings for George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire, definitely deserves a mention. Another list, perhaps?

  • Jami

    Good list, but the world in The Neverending Story is too awesome to be omitted.

  • Andrea

    I would add the Kingdom of Wisdom (The Phantom Tollbooth). A personal favorite. :)

  • KLP

    This list is missing Fionavar. From Guy Gavriel Kay’s ‘The Fionavar Tapestry”, published in the mid-80’s.

  • Vicky

    should have included Azeroth & Draenor (outlands) from World of Warcraft… If you think I’m referring to the game here then you should read one of the several books that have been written by various authors, most notably Christie Golden & Richard Knaak

  • FantasyFan

    This is notably missing Westeros of the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by: George R. R. Martin

  • Sugarloaf

    Discworld deserves a far higher ranking on this list. At least in place of Shangri-la. Pratchett has described Discworld in such immense and entertaining detail that there’s no way that some of these worlds can trump it.

  • Stefan B. Gudnason

    you guys forgot “Nangijala” from “The Brothers Lionheart” by Astrid Lindgren…. Shame on you… otherwise great list

  • Boloduro

    Where is Xanadu by Coleridge?

  • Alex

    What about Harry Potter :(

  • Where is Westeros from A Song of Ice and Fire?

  • direchef


  • Melissa

    I agree with Ghidoran; saw Middle-Earth coming.

    But where is Game of Thrones with The North(Kings Landing and the Wall) and The South(Kings Landing)??

    • Melissa

      aka Westeros???

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  • Gygax

    midkemia/kelewan created by Raymond E,Feist should be there since theres a hell of a lot more than 7 books
    same for the discworld by Terry pratchett
    and Abeir-Toril settting of Forgotten realms?

    or the warhammer world(s)??

    all are quite possibly a hell of a bigger in scope than some of the ones on your list and better known to younger people than bloody Tarzan!!

  • James

    Where the hell is the world of Westeros from the Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones)???!!! That should at least be number 3 on the list, seriously! This is why I normally don’t read these kind of posts, because there is not enough research done before hand.

  • NatalieRfd


  • grace pinto

    ah i like your top 10 fantasy literature

  • My

    I just about to have a minor heart attack when I read about Dreamland because a few months ago I wrote a story inspired by the thought of dreams as a seperate world, where I named that world Dreamland. How one is able to travel to dreamland is through dreams and you are a permanent dreamer when you die. The difference is that they are practically gods in dreamland, able to do whatever they want. Though I have never heard nor read of Dreamland by Lovecraft.

  • HannahJxn


  • greenhoood

    The problem with this list is that it doesn’t include The world of A Song of Ice and Fire’s Westeros and Essos, sure Game of Thrones had not aired yet but still, terrible.

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