A Very Deep Secret

Nat Case ncase at hedbergmaps.com
Tue May 22 12:26:45 EDT 2001

>On Tue, 22 May 2001, Nat Case wrote:
>>  1. It is possible to create independent, free-standing works of
>>  fiction in prose, in cinema, in theater, in various genres of
>>  painting. Is it possible to do this with cartography?
>Is the map allowed to include a dotted line bedecked with labels
>saying "This is where I slew the giant" and so on?

Yes, I can certainly see this in theory, but the sort of qualities 
that make a non-fictional map "work" make it hard to "make things 
up." I think modern maps are like dictionaries or directories: 
immensely useful tools that are intended to be used in reference to 
other things, and no to be a world unto themselves. I think Borges 
did some very interesting things with prose twisting the idea of a 
reference work around on itself, and others have done similar things 
with, for example the Gnomes field guide. To me a successful 
fictional map would either have to break the "rules" of map making by 
being internally self sufficient (i.e. you wouldn't primarily have to 
use it to get around a fictional world laid out elsewhere), or would 
somehow refer to our world with a fictional twist; a cartographic 
version of alternate-world fantasy, perhaps.

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