I want to send Meeghan a big shout out as well because all of these topics so far have been so much fun! And they’ve made me want to read more horror (although we’ll see how happy I am about that later on ;).
This week’s topic is top five spooky worlds. I love this topic, but since I haven’t read a lot of horror fiction, I chose to interpret it as “top five worlds that spook me” which made it a lot easier. Some of them are still plenty spooky in a horror sense, but all of them are worlds which I would absolutely never want to find myself trapped in. Real life is scary enough!
Top Five Spooky Worlds
Renthia – The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
This one might not seem all that spooky at first, and since this is a fantasy novel, you’d think I’d love the chance to live in a world of magical powers and enchanted spirits around every corner. And you’d be absolutely right; just not in this world.
Renthia is a place where everything – every tree, river, rock, and breath of wind – has a spirit. And those born with the ability to command the spirits can command the elements in some incredible displays of magic.
There is one catch however: every single spirit will absolutely try to murder you in the most horrific and vicious manner possible if given the slightest opportunity.
Not to worry though! The Queen of Renthia, of course, protects her subjects by keeping the spirits in line… until she dies. Then you better hope there’s another heir ready to immediately assume the throne before the murder-happy spirits start killing everyone in sight.
Oceania – 1984 by George Orwell
I think it’s safe to say that 1984 by George Orwell has been a major influence on dystopian fiction. Usually in these stories, we see the people fighting back, attempting – and often succeeding – to topple the evil empire and living out the rest of their lives free and happy.
Not in Oceania.
Not only are you essentially a mindless drone, endlessly serving the needs of the party with absolute dedication and devotion (or else), you must constantly demonstrate your loyalty to the government and their latest propaganda, and any action that could be considered to be even slightly against party policy will lead to you being sent to experience torture and misery on an unimaginable scale, your literal worst nightmares, until your spirit is broken.
There is no escape from Oceania; not to the outside world, constantly ravaged by war with the other totalitarian nightmare-countries out there, and not even in your own mind.
Westeros – A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
This world is a definite no from me. Mostly
because of Season Eight because Westeros manages to take all the very worst parts of living in a medieval society, and mixes them together with magical, murderous ice zombies to make this one of the worst living situations since the actual medieval times.
If you’re a peasant, your life is terrifying: you’re caught between two warring factions, each side fighting for control over the land, and neither seeming to care in the least that your home and family have been brutally murdered in the middle.
And if you’re a noble, you’re equally screwed: you’re trapped in a war that could end with your friends and family slaughtered for treason at any moment (and if you’re on the current ruler’s side you have to deal with Ceresi and Joffrey which is an entire, separate nightmare onto itself).
And that’s before we get into the dragons. And the army of the dead heading towards the ice wall, which is starting too look a little too melted these days for anyone’s safety.
Derry, Maine – It by Stephen King
I should never have been allowed to read It, unless it was all part of a diabolical plan by my parents to keep me out of Derry, Maine (and make me terrified of storm drains). In which case, it worked spectacularly.
I’m not sure what exactly cursed the state of Maine in Stephen King’s books to turn it into ground zero for horror, nor do I understand why anyone would continue to live there, but I wouldn’t stick around to find out. I’d be on the first plane heading off to the exact opposite side of the world and jumping at every shadow until I get there. Nothing good happens in Maine, but none that have terrified me more than that demonic clown, putting Derry at the top of my list of places to avoid.
Adults here can expect some of their worst fears to come to life: your children go missing without a trace, you desperately search for them only to slowly watch the missing posters vanish as everyone around you forgets they ever existed, only to slowly stop bothering to search as well. And by no means does being an adult save you from what lurks in the sewers.
And if you’re a kid…
Anything by H.P. Lovecraft
Want to go up against the unknowable horrors of the universe? Facing impossible odds and unkillable enemies and almost certainly losing your mind in the process? No? Too bad; you’re in Lovecraft country.
This one is the oddest one on this list, in that it’s been years since I read anything by Lovecraft and I didn’t particularly enjoy it when I did. Honestly, his writing isn’t to my taste, and the style distracted me from the actual horror the stories were trying to build. (There’s also the racism, but that’s another kind of horror entirely.) But despite that, the mythos that Lovecraft created is still deeply unsettling to me: there are ancient powers we can’t even fathom who can (and will) wipe humanity from existence without even trying, without even realizing we’re there! Your best option is blissful ignorance, and the worst is mind-shattering insanity when faced with the implications.
It’s a world where you are utterly helpless because, in the end, there is absolutely nothing you can do. There’s no fighting back, and no way to emerge unscathed once you discover just how small we are in the face of beings who consider you utterly insignificant.
I’m glad I’m ending this list on such an uplifting thought.
What are some of your favourite spooky/scary worlds? And more importantly, how would you make it out alive?! Let me know in the comments below.
Happy reading everyone!