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Reading Where it Happens

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message 1: by William (new)

William | 397 comments Have you ever read a book in the actual spot it happened?

I’ve had a few weird experiences, for instance I read the climactic scene of Mortal Engines while actually flying over St Paul's. I read some of The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter while sitting in a tea shop on Baker Street.

Today I read a key scene from Intervention (a life-changing favourite of mine) while sitting in the very spot it was taking place.

This got me wondering if anyone has had a similar experience? Please share.

PS: This is my first time starting a thread. I really hope I’m doing it right.

Intervention

Intervention

Intervention


message 2: by Alan (new)

Alan Denham (alandenham) | 137 comments William wrote: "Have you ever read a book in the actual spot it happened? ..."

Most of what I read takes place on different planets, either in SF or Fantasy - though I have read a couple of detective stories set in locations I know well, and I tried writing something in an identifiable location, but it is going slowly, and not well, so may get binned!


message 3: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8155 comments A few times in the past I’ve been reading along and suddenly encounter a passage that takes place where I am. It was always weird to read something that happens in Dayton, Ohio, because it always seems like no one knows about Dayton despite all of the world-famous celebrities and life-changing inventions from there.

The first time it happened to me was in Zelazny’s Damnation Alley when Hell Tanner “drove on into the afternoon, until he reached the Dayton Abyss.” Since Wright-Patt was a SAC base, Dayton used to be a prime target for Russian nukes. Periodically the newspaper would publish maps detailing the damage from an atom bomb explosion, so reading about an irradiated crater located where I was sitting added extra frisson to the text.


message 4: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8155 comments William wrote: "Have you ever read a book in the actual spot it happened?

I’ve had a few weird experiences, for instance I read the climactic scene of Mortal Engines while actually flying over St P..."


Did you listen to the podcast episodes where Tom talked about being in London while reading The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, and then having the same experience back home in L.A. when reading California Bones?


message 5: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3491 comments Mod
Unfortunately nothing in SFF has ever been written about my part of Oz :-(

Though it is a great idea for my next trip away, to take a book based in that area. I usually find I don't read while I'm away.

For non-fiction, I have read The Peaks of Lyell several times (including onsite) which is about the mine my family has been involved in since 1899 (and I worked at for 30 years).


message 6: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3861 comments ^ Welllllllll..Nothing, IF you discount the classic "Young Einstein." Featuring a frizzy-headed Einstein proclaiming, "Oim uh Tasmanian!"


message 7: by David H. (new)

David H. (farrakut) | 908 comments There's a short story in Kevin Hearne's Besieged & part of Scourged (in his Iron Druid Chronicles) that takes place in Tasmania, but it's mainly a brief scene about healing Tasmanian devils of their face cancer.


message 8: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8155 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Unfortunately nothing in SFF has ever been written about my part of Oz :-(

Though it is a great idea for my next trip away, to take a book based in that area. I usually find I don't read while I'm..."


I just remembered that I read The Darwin Elevator while I was actually on a plane to visit Darwin, Australia.


message 9: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3491 comments Mod
David wrote: "There's a short story in Kevin Hearne's Besieged & part of Scourged (in his Iron Druid Chronicles) that takes place in Tasmania, but it's mainly a brief scene about healing Tasmanian devils of their face cancer."

I'm happy to be proven wrong :-)
"The Iron Druid Chronicles" is a series I have thought about reading, but the sheer bulk of books available has scared me off starting.


message 10: by David H. (new)

David H. (farrakut) | 908 comments Even though they're not that "urban," they're written as if they were in the urban fantasy genre, so they actually read very quickly. The books I mentioned are the 8.5th & 9th books in the series, though (but it's a complete series now). I enjoyed them, a lot of fun use of mythology.


message 11: by Kev (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 639 comments I read a WW2 spy story set in my hometown in the midwest. That was fun. The author was a local history teacher; he obviously got the geography and history of the town correct.

A small part of E.E. Knight's Vampire Earth series takes place in and around (mostly around) my hometown.

Since I've moved to the Seattle area, I've read a couple things set in and around Seattle as well. If I recall, those didn't really get the feel of the area correct. Mostly just mentioning obvious landmarks or things you could find on wikipedia about the area.


message 12: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2230 comments I spend a lot of time reading books set in my home state of New Mexico and I especially enjoy those titles set in the community I reside and locales I'm familiar with. There are many science fiction, fantasy and horror books set in New Mexico. I started adding books to a Goodreads list and discovered that I can only add 100 books to a list. I guess I'll have to start a second list, because I think I can add at least another 100. Unless you would like to help :-)

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...


message 13: by Phil (new)

Phil | 1134 comments There's been a couple books I've read that include Vancouver (where I live) as a minor location. like Ready Player One, but he made up some street names that don't exist here.
The only ones I can think of that use the Vancouver area as the primary setting are by Spider Robinson and they're pretty accurate since he lives here.


message 14: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3861 comments ^ My uncle lived in Key West for 10 years. He says the later Callahan books set there are dead on.


message 15: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1528 comments The closest it has come for me so far was the comic book series Revival, Vol. 1: You're Among Friends. It is set about an hour away from where I live, but since I used to work up there I know the area fairly well. The author, Tim Seeley was/ is from the area, so that helped, but the artist wasn’t, so on a rare occasion he’d get something a little off. It was still cool to read.

Kevin J. Anderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and John Jackson Miller are all from/ have lived in the area, but as far as I know none has written fiction set in the area, they tend to set there stories in places much further away.


message 16: by Themcbays (new)

Themcbays McBay (countdemoney) | 9 comments It has only happened to me once, while listening to Ender's Game on Audio. Ender spent some down time relaxing on Lake Brandt in Greensboro. I looked up and realized I was driving on Lake Brandt Road and had just passed the location where that scene took place.


message 17: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2446 comments Not for S&L but quite often I will look up locations in crime/detective novels. Google street view is great for that.


message 18: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 101 comments Not reading there per se, but I used to live in Maine. One day I was driving by Lisbon Falls and I saw an old abandoned factory and a dilapidated Moxie store. It was IDENTICAL to the King's description of these places in 11.22.63 and it freaked me out, so much so that I had to pull over and pinch myself.


message 19: by Trike (last edited Jul 31, 2018 11:03AM) (new)

Trike | 8155 comments I just want to note that this thread has caused the song “The Room Where It Happens” from Hamilton to run through my head on a loop the past couple days. Which is a good one, as far as earworms are concerned.

https://youtu.be/WySzEXKUSZw

Naturally my brain has altered the lyrics to

I wanna read
The book where it happens
The book where it happens

😄


message 20: by Kat (new)

Kat | 37 comments There is a huge fandom for "local thrillers" in Germany. If you like detective stories and gruesome murders to solve, you can buy a wagonload of them taking place in pretty much any local place you want. There are island thrillers, black forest thrillers, Berlin thrillers, Cologne thrillers, Hamburg thrillers - north, south, east, west, slap-bang-in-the-middle....

Obviously I own a small shelf of these taking place where I grew up and where I live now. And they're often even pretty good! I recently read one where the author got all the local family names exactly right, I felt like all the characters could be cousins or in-laws of actual people I know.


message 21: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1269 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Unfortunately nothing in SFF has ever been written about my part of Oz :-(

Though it is a great idea for my next trip away, to take a book based in that area. I usually find I don't read while I'm..."


While it’s not SFF you could read Death of a River Guide while rafting down the Franklin 😆


message 22: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1269 comments Kat wrote: "There is a huge fandom for "local thrillers" in Germany. If you like detective stories and gruesome murders to solve, you can buy a wagonload of them taking place in pretty much any local place you..."

Sounds like fun. The best I could do we’re the Jack Irish books (Bad Debts) in Fitzroy. Been to few of the cafes and pubs in the book.


message 23: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2446 comments Kat wrote: "There is a huge fandom for "local thrillers" in Germany. If you like detective stories and gruesome murders to solve, you can buy a wagonload of them taking place in pretty much any local place you..."

Those sound interesting, I lived in Germany for 11 years, specifically Frankfurt and Cologne. Any recommendations for those cities or anywhere in Bavaria? (They don't necessarily have to be translated into English.)


message 24: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2693 comments Trike wrote: "I just want to note that this thread has caused the song “The Room Where It Happens” from Hamilton to run through my head on a loop the past couple days. Which is a good one, as far as earworms are..."

OMG SAME.


message 25: by Joseph (last edited Jul 31, 2018 08:58PM) (new)

Joseph | 2245 comments I lived in Eddi McCandry's apartment from War for the Oaks.

Well, not really, but the building I was living in was at the intersection of the two streets that were named when describing Eddi's apartment's location.


message 26: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4117 comments Dara wrote: "Trike wrote: "I just want to note that this thread has caused the song “The Room Where It Happens” from Hamilton to run through my head on a loop the past couple days. Which is a good one, as far a..."

Ditto.

I enjoy reading books set in my favorite cities, including London & Boston. I think I'd like a book set in Sydney, too, but I haven't read one! ;)


message 27: by David H. (new)

David H. (farrakut) | 908 comments Despite living in a big city, I haven't read that much SF/F set in Washington, DC. However, it was fun to read John Grisham's The Pelican Brief and realize that one of the "seedy areas of DC" that was mentioned was (at the time I read it) had a giant Barnes & Noble.


message 28: by terpkristin (last edited Jul 31, 2018 03:55PM) (new)

terpkristin | 4117 comments David wrote: "Despite living in a big city, I haven't read that much SF/F set in Washington, DC. However, it was fun to read John Grisham's The Pelican Brief and realize that one of the "seedy areas of DC" that ..."

I try to avoid books in DC. Probably because I strongly loathe it. ;) But also because most books set in DC are clearly written by people who've never been to DC. I remember reading the opening chapter of a Dan Brown book where he mentions seeing the Washington Monument as he came in for a landing at Dulles from Boston. It hurt. :P

I will say that the books I've read and enjoyed set in London and/or Boston, it's clear that the author has spent a reasonable amount of time there...


message 29: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4117 comments The same book had the protagonist getting from IAD to downtown DC in 15 minutes. That also hurt.


message 30: by David H. (last edited Jul 31, 2018 04:05PM) (new)

David H. (farrakut) | 908 comments Oh, I'm an idiot, I forgot about John Scalzi's Lock In books, which are SFF books set in DC. He did live out in Fairfax so he at least knows the city a bit (and he was making fun of the HHS building on Independence in the apartment hunting scene).

And Kristin, my wife still cracks up at some old black-and-white movie which involved the main actor apparently jumping his motorcycle from the Capitol... all the way to the Monument, which is like... a mile away?

And Dan Brown wouldn't be anyone's litmus test for accuracy. :D


message 31: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3861 comments Can't say I can join in this particular set of fun except for some mysteries my wife read set in Burbank, where we lived when she read them. That, and seeing Burbank exteriors and restaurants on CSI, where "Vegas" looks a whoooooole lot like the area around the studio.

I wanted to do a flip remark about looking forward to reading a book in orbit once we get there, which reminded me of the ol' Boston Museum of Science. We had annual passes and it was a great place to send two kids back in the 70s. Right off the trolley, easy walk in, leave the parents alone. My sister and I played in the Apollo lunar module mockup regularly. I suppose that's the closest I'll get to orbit, but still, as playthings for a geek kid get, that's among the coolest.


message 32: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1528 comments John, have you read the Sandman Slim books. I’ve only read the first two, I don’t remember one way or another if Burbank is brought up, but I remember a lot of stuff in and around Hollywood, and downtown LA.

So Kristin it sounds like DB had IAD and Regan messed up. When the winds are right that flight into Regan can be dramatic enough in real life that I’d think someone would prefer to write about that. The tight turns, and following the Patomac in while passing over the city at low altitude. And that’s before the fog sets in. Had one pilot have to pull up at the last second and bring it back around there, that got everyone a little shook up.


message 33: by Richard (new)

Richard | 99 comments I listened to the episode of Reading Glasses where they discussed travel tips, and one suggestion they made was to, when travelling, take a book to read that takes place where you're going. So when I head to Tybee Island near Savannah this next weekend, I'm packing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.


message 34: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4117 comments John (Nevets) wrote: "So Kristin it sounds like DB had IAD and Regan messed up. When the winds are right that flight into Regan can be dramatic enough in real life that I’d think someone would prefer to write about that. The tight turns, and following the Patomac in while passing over the city at low altitude. And that’s before the fog sets in. Had one pilot have to pull up at the last second and bring it back around there, that got everyone a little shook up."

It's possible but I have my doubts. ;)

David wrote: "And Kristin, my wife still cracks up at some old black-and-white movie which involved the main actor apparently jumping his motorcycle from the Capitol... all the way to the Monument, which is like... a mile away?"

Hehehe.


message 35: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8155 comments David wrote: "And Kristin, my wife still cracks up at some old black-and-white movie which involved the main actor apparently jumping his motorcycle from the Capitol... all the way to the Monument, which is like... a mile away?"

Kind of like car chases in San Francisco. The trolley car part of the chase scene in the Eddie Murphy movie Metro looks like it covers several miles, but it’s actually just a couple blocks that you can walk in like 15 minutes. After my first time there I asked, “How do they have car chases in this traffic?!”

Ditto Boston. Ditto Chicago. Ditto Atlanta.


message 36: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 1616 comments Dara wrote: "Trike wrote: "I just want to note that this thread has caused the song “The Room Where It Happens” from Hamilton to run through my head on a loop the past couple days. Which is a good one, as far a..."

Same with me!

I never read any SFF in its setting - maybe because I did not read urban fantasy often or travel much abroad.


message 37: by David H. (new)

David H. (farrakut) | 908 comments Trike, the car chase in the old Barbra Streisand movie "What's Up, Doc?" had my SF-residing sister so confused for its geography (though it's a funny movie).


message 38: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2693 comments Nothing happens in Pittsburgh. I've never read a book set here though I'm sure they exist. I don't travel a lot so I've never had the opportunity to read something where it takes place.


message 39: by David H. (last edited Aug 01, 2018 06:55AM) (new)


message 40: by Trike (last edited Aug 01, 2018 10:42AM) (new)

Trike | 8155 comments Dara wrote: "Nothing happens in Pittsburgh. I've never read a book set here though I'm sure they exist. I don't travel a lot so I've never had the opportunity to read something where it takes place."

Christine by Stephen King and The Two Georges by Turtledove and Richard Dreyfuss feature P-burg.

Edit: Oops, just read David’s link. Consider this a Department of Redundancy Dept. post.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2833 comments The first one I really remember was reading Off-Season: Discovering America on Winter's Shore by Ken McAlpine. He travels up the east coast during the winter. I was in Newport, RI in February, and brought this book with me to read. I saw snow on sand for the first time in my life. I traveled out to Block Island which he specifically mentions. And froze! :)

But I do this on purpose all of the time, but rarely with swords or lasers. One exception was bringing The Family Plot by Cherie Priest with me to Chattanooga and reading about the same exits I was taking, OH and saving the last Area X book by Jeff VanderMeer to read in the swampy beach area of Florida. :)


message 42: by Alex (new)

Alex | 30 comments On holiday a few years ago I took a trip to Devil's island and happened to have Pappilon on my ereader. Reading that story and being in a place with that history is pretty depressing. Which make being on a lovely remote island on an amazing day very weird.


message 43: by Kim (new)

Kim | 477 comments I read Jurassic Park while staying on the coast of Panama near an island that is pretty much the inspiration (there's no large islands off the west coast of Costa Rice).

Read multiple books set in the Seattle-Portland area.


message 44: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8155 comments Alex wrote: "On holiday a few years ago I took a trip to Devil's island and happened to have Pappilon on my ereader. Reading that story and being in a place with that history is pretty depressing. Which make be..."

You win the thread.


message 45: by Kev (last edited Aug 04, 2018 12:54PM) (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 639 comments Kim wrote: "Read multiple books set in the Seattle-Portland area.."

Any good S&L ones?


message 46: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1269 comments I read Angels & Demons at CERN. Still haven’t found the underground hangers 😹

Complete an utter tosh.


message 47: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (spriggana) | 86 comments What about trhe super batteries used for powering portable antimatter containers? They should be worth a buck or two ;-)


message 48: by ladymurmur (new)

ladymurmur | 148 comments Joseph wrote: "I lived in Eddi McCandry's apartment from War for the Oaks.

Well, not really, but the building I was living in was at the intersection of the two streets that were named when describi..."


I first read War for the Oaks shortly after moving to the Twin Cities, and life kept taking me to various settings from the book.


message 49: by Joseph (last edited Aug 04, 2018 09:12PM) (new)

Joseph | 2245 comments ladymurmur wrote: "I first read War for the Oaks shortly after moving to the Twin Cities, and life kept taking me to various settings from the book."

Pretty much on a weekly basis I go to Acadia (in the site of the old New Riverside Café) to sit, drink a couple of beers and read my Kindle. Now I'm thinking I should reread War for the Oaks soon, and make sure to do at least part of it there.

Also, a guy named Tim Cooper Kickstarted/self-published a book called The Reader: War for the Oaks that's basically a collection of pictures of people reading the book in front of locations mentioned in the book.

Can be ordered at: http://www.tiredtapir.com/?p=44


message 50: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8155 comments So this site lists books set in specific cities.

https://www.destinationreads.com/#cities

Random clicking reveals the Jack Finney book Time and Again set in NYC. I didn’t see any other SFF novels, but still, interesting.


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