John Holbo over at Crooked Timber talks about how it's possible to reinvent African geography in ways you can't in America or Europe.
("Geographically absurd fabulations")
(via The Mumpsimus
With all due respect, I think he's not paying attention. The Man from UNCLE
, of course, never set an episode in a real country if a fake one could be invented. From Not-Argentina to Not-Iran to Not-Haiti, you name it, we faked it. Mission:Impossible
reinvented Europe (especially the Baltic states) 33 episodes a year. I imagine modern-day spy shows play similar games.I Spy
was kind of unique for setting stories in real places. And going there to shoot, even!
As for major American cities, Metropolis has moved from Toronto to the Midwest to the Eastern Seaboard, and let's not talk about Gotham as not-Chicago and not-Jersey City (I know there's some kind of official DC universe map these days, but it's not like historical consistency has even been a big worry for those guys.)
And where is Dr. Doom ruler of, again?
Then there's Ed McBain, who made an entire career writing in not-New-York. (It always kills me when his characters take off to New York or Boston.) Lilian Jackson Braun does indeed invent an American state, although she never names it. It's not-Minnesota, and it's not-Michigan either. With a little not-Wisconsin thrown in for good measure. And Steven King rearranges Maine any way he sees fit--and really, who better?
Why do we do this?
Well, writing in real places is a pain in the ass, that's why.