Shared Fictional Universe:
“A fictional universe is a self-consistent fictional setting with elements that differ from the real world. It may also be called an imagined, constructed or fictional realm (or world).”
I love anthologies. In one book I can find many stories of which I can pick one that I will be able to read and finish before I have to do actual work. Like the apple or bar of chocolate you sneak in between meals.
It was through an anthology that I have just been introduced, and by introduced I mean stumbled upon and now must investigate, the realm of Shared Fictional Universes. I had never encountered a collection of stories by different authors writing in the same imagined universe until I picked up Welcome to Bordertown from it’s shelf at the UConn Co-op. I had picked it up because Holly Black, one of my favorite authors, was the editor and I just adore urban fantasy. Welcome to Bordertown is a follow up on The Borderland series, about a land bewixt the Elvin Realm and the world of mortals. All of the short stories and poems in this tome took place in the same setting, Bordertown. The writers even featured characters from each other’s stories, like the tavern keeper Farrel Din. The sharing of one parallel universe by several authors gives a palpable sense of community that makes it all the more real to the reader, just as if you were to collect stories from people in your own town where you would find overlapping places and acquaintances mentioned. If you haven’t been you must go, Bordertown is lovely this time of year.
A class mate just lent me a copy of The New Cthulhu, which is another compendium of short stories by several best selling authors. As a part of the Cthulhu Mythos, another shared fictional universe, all the stories are about H. P. Lovecraft’s mythical Cthulhu. And after my enthusiastic race through Bordertown, I’m intrigued to see what this new shared universe reads like. Any one care to join me?