“At Shared Worlds students create fantasy and science fiction worlds to fuel their art and writing projects. But even the strangest made-up place can have some real-world spark. Our own planet is often surreal, alien, and beautifully strangeâ€”and cities tend to focus our fascination with these qualities. Sometimes the exoticness comes from finding the unexpected where we live, and sometimes it comes from visiting a place thatâ€™s foreign to us.” – from the article
Post our link on your site or blog, pose the question “What city would you choose?”, and help one of the most unique teen “think tanks” in the country, now in its second year. Video from last year’s camp.
Now sponsored by Tor Books, Wizards of the Coast LCC, and Realms of Fantasy magazine!
Shared Worlds is a two-week unique summer camp for teens ages 13 to 18, held at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
This year the camp runs from July 19 to August 2, with registration still open to the end of June.
Creative and fun, Shared Worlds emphasizes writing fiction, game development, and creating artâ€”all in a safe and structured environment with award-winning faculty. Participants in this â€œteen think tankâ€ meet like-minded students and learn how to work together and be proactive on their own. The first week, the students form teams and create their own worlds; the second week, they create in them. Faculty for 2009 will include Holly Black, co-creator of the Spiderwick Chronicles, Hugo Nominee Tobias Buckell, White Wolf game developer Will Hindmarch, Weird Tales fiction editor Ann VanderMeer, and more.
I will also be there, as the camp’s assistant director.
Also, exclusive to Ecstatic Days, I asked past and present faculty for their thoughts on the idea of real cities with a fantasy/SF flavor. (There’s also a MindMeld on the subject from the nice guys at SF Signal–thanks!)
Tobias Buckell: I’ve always found Singapore to the be something a fantastical city. Not that I’ve ever been there myself, but from what I’ve seen it’s wild. It’s a city that’s an island that’s a country, kind off, as if Manhattan formally declared it’s independence. It has fusion elements of the pacific, asian, and western cultures, architecture, practice, and people. It has a complicated history, a vibrant present, and there are a lot of nooks and crannies that just look fascinating. I’m not the only one who thinks Singapore fantastical, when Audible.com made the cover art for Metatropolis, featuring a novella about the future of cities in it along with stories by John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, Karl Schroeder and Jay Lake, the designer used a shot of some of the iconic Singapore business district skyline…
Will Hindmarch: Look at Edinburgh and you’ll see multiple cities, tangled and overlaid, from the soot-blackened medieval metropolis at the feet of a castle built atop a dead volcano to the abandoned warrens tucked under old bridges, where a city’s worth of people died. Coming up out of the train depot, the first thing you see are lovely grim spires looming, encrusted below with next-gen tech and glowing logos, European futurism weaving through breaks in the old stones like glass threads. It’s a beautiful anachronism. The future keeps coming to Edinburgh, like any other city, but there the past refuses to budge.
Ekaterina Sedia: I would definitely suggest Chicago. I was lost in its business part one winter Sunday night, and it felt like something out of “Dark City”.
Jeremy L. C. Jones: I’d been living in a fishing village 300 miles due west, off the road system, on Bristol Bay with a mere 200 people or so. I had a bad case of cabin fever and was dressed for waist-high snow and Syberian blizzards. We flew through winter twilight. The mountains were bright and sharp and looking out the airplane window I could tell the air outside was crisp and sweet. The mountains were so close I could almost reach out and touch the peaks. The airplane flew over an ice-packed inlet and bumped and bounced over Fire Island with its vertical wind currents.
Coming from a village of one-story, wind-swept cabins, Anchorage seemed to stretch higher than the mountains behind it. Everything shimmered in the blue moonlight of the 24-hour night. Everything was big and open. I could go anywhere and do anything. There was that tugging joy of… infinite possibility.
The building were spaced apart like statuettes spread out on a blanket at a yard sale. Air Force jets thundered over-head and cut contrails in the cloudless sky. People wore fur hats and business suits under brightly colored parkas.
But… it was all an optical illusion, a trick of a feverish mind, a product of contrasts.
Today, I look at photographs of Anchorage and I see a small city with tall-buildings, mountains, ice, and brown slush. But then… a 20 year old fresh from the Bush… it was the most wonderful place in the world.