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Melissani Cave, Kefalonia, Greece

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World Map of literature

The Americas

Canada - Anne of Green Gables
U.S.A - To Kill a MockingBird 
Mexico - Pedro Paramo 
Guatemala - Men of Maize 
Belize - Beka Lamb 
Honduras - Cipotes 
El Salvador - Bitter Grounds 
Nicaragua - The Country Under my Skin 
Costa Rica - La Isla de los hombres solos 
Panama - Plenilunio 
Colombia - 100 Years of Solitude 
Venezuela - Dona Barbara 
Guyana - Palace of the Peacock 
Suriname - The Price of Sugar 
French Guiana - Papillon 
Ecuador - The Villager 
Brazil - Dom Casmurro 
Peru - Death in the Andes 
Bolivia - Bronze Race 
Paraguay - I the Supreme 
Argentina - Ficciones 
Chile - The House of the Spirits 
Uruguay - Soccer in the Sun and Shadow 
Cuba - Havana Bay 
Haiti - Breath, Eyes, Memory 
Dominican Republic - Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao 
Bahamas - The Measure of a Man 
Jamaica - A brief history of Seven Killings 
Puerto Rico - When I was Puerto Rican 
Lesser Antilles - Wide Sargasso Sea 
Greenland - Islands, the Universe, Home


Europe & Russia

Norway - Hunger 
Iceland - Jar City 
Sweden - Gosta Berling’s Saga 
Finland - The Unknown Soldier 
Denmark - Feeling for Snow 
Latvia - Nāvas Ena 
Estonia - Truth and Justice 
Lithuania - Black Sheep 
Belarus - Voices from Chernobyl 
Ukraine - Death and the Penguin 
Moldova - A Siberian Education 
Romania - Forest of the Hanged 
Bulgaria - Under the Yoke 
Poland - Pan Tadeusz 
Germany - Buddenbrooks 
Netherlands - The Discovery of Heaven 
Belgium - The Sorrow of Belgium 
Luxembourg - In Reality: Selected Poems 
United Kingdom - Great Expectations 
Ireland - Ulysses 
Czech Republic - The Good Soldier 
Slovakia - Rivers of Babylon 
France - The Count of Monte Cristo 
Spain - Don Quixote 
Portugal - Baltasar and Blimunda 
Austria - The Man Without Qualities 
Switzerland - Heidi 
Italy - The Divine Comedy 
Slovenia - Alamut 
Croatia - Cafe Europa 
Hungary - Eclipse of the Crescent Moon 
Bosnia and Herzegovina - Zlata’s diary 
Serbia - Dictionary of the Khazars 
Montenegro - Montenegro: A Novel 
Albania - The General of the Dead Army 
Macedonia - Freud’s Sister 
Greece - The Iliad 
Russia - War and Peace


Asia and The Middle East

Turkey - My Name is Red 
Georgia - Knight in the Panther’s Skin 
Armenia - The Fool 
Azerbaijan - Blue Angels
Iran - Shahnameh 
Iraq - The Corpses Exhibition and Other Stories 
Syria - The Dark Side of love 
Lebanon - The Hakawati 
Israel - Mornings in Jenin 
Syria - The Dark Side of Love 
Kuwait - A Map of Home 
UAE - The Sand Fish 
Saudi Arabia - Cities of Salt 
Qatar - The Emergence of Qatar 
Yemen - The Hostage 
Oman - The Turtle of Oman 
Kazakhstan - The Book of Words 
Turkmenistan - The Tale of Aypi 
Uzbekistan - Chasing the Sea 
Kyrgyzstan - Jamilia 
Tajikistan - Hurramabad 
Afghanistan - Kite Runner 
Pakistan - The Reluctant Fundamentalist 
Nepal - The Palpasa Cafe 
India - The God of Small Things 
Bhutan - the Circle of Karma 
Bangladesh - A Golden Age 
Myanmar - Smile as they Bow 
Laos - In the Other Side of the Eye 
Thailand - The Four Reigns 
Vietnam - The Sorrows of War 
Cambodia - First they Killed my Family 
Taiwan - Green Island 
Sri Lanka - Anil’s Ghost 
Mongolia - The Blue Sky 
North Korea - The Aquariums of Pyongyang 
South Korea - The Vegetarian 
Japan - Kokoro 
China - The Dream of the Red Chamber 
Malaysia - The Garden of Evening Mists 
Brunei - Some Girls 
Indonesia - This Earth of Mankind 
Philippines - Noli Me Tangere 
East Timor - The Redundancy of Courage


Australiz, New Zealand & The Pacific Islands

Australia - Cloudstreet 
Papua New Guinea - Death of a Muruk 
Vanuatu - Black Stone 
Solomon Islands - Suremada 
Fiji - Tales of the Tikongs 
New Zealand - The bone People


Africas

Algeria - The Stranger
Libya - In the Country of Men
Egypt - Palace Walk
Morocco - The Sand Child
Mauritania - Silent Terror: A Journey into Contemporary African Slavery
Mali - Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali
Niger - Sarraounia
Chad - The Roots of Heaven
Sudan - Lyrics Alley
Nigeria - Things Fall Apart
Cameroon - The Old Man and the Medal
Central African Republic - Batouala
South Sudan - They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky
Ethiopia - Beneath the Lion’s Gaze
Somalia - The Orchard of Lost Souls
Democratic Republic of the Congo - The Antipeople
Uganda - Abyssinian Chronicles
Kenya - Petals of Blood
Tanzania - Desertion
Angola - A Gloriosa Familia
Zambia - Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier
Mozambique - Sleepwalking Land
Zimbabwe - The House of Hunger
Namibia - Born of the Sun
Botswana - The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
South Africa - Disgrace

Take a trip to Navagio Beach

Navagio Beach, or Shipwreck Beach as it is known, is undoubtedly the most famous beach in Greece, and home to the wreck of a ship that ran aground here in 1980. It is only accessible by water, but is definitely worth the trip to see the beautiful cove and spend time on it’s white sandy beach. 

Although you need to take your own amenities as there are no facilities… and the only little bit of shade you’ll find is in the shadow of the wreck. 

Got the travel bug? Discover more here.

How To Blend Cultures (Without Making Impossible Mixes)

This is a guide specifically about fantasy worldbuilding. WWC gets a lot of questions around “I’m mixing two cultures together, how do I do that?” and this is to explain both how to do that and when you very much should not.

For starters, you should avoid blending empires with their surrounding properties, especially if there is recent political strife along those lines. This is why Japan/China/Korea (or even China/Tibet) mixes should not be done. For more information on that, take a look at Research:Large to Small Scale, Avoiding Homogenizing East Asian Cultures, & Paralleling Regions Appropriately.

Next up, mixing Greece/Rome with far-flung cultures gets a little bit eyebrow raising. Unless it was a direct trading partner/conquered property, Greek/Roman cultures do not mix with non-European cultures. The Greek empire only went to the Northern regions of India at its very peak, and that is limited to the ancient world. Rome stopped in the Middle East, so, again, you don’t have the cultural backing for a mixing of anything outside of its borders. 

Depictions of Rome and Greece in ancient literature shows other ancient cultures found them quite backwards, and were adverse to mixing with them. By many standards they were very backwards, and it’s only Europe (and, as an extension, America) that revered them to the extent they do. Asia and Africa had no reason to see them as advanced, because they made many more technological advancements than either. North America and Oceanic cultures hardly interacted with either, and had both their own technological advancements+ cultures closer by to borrow advancements from, instead. 

Outside of that, cultures are born out of the environments that made them. As a result, places with wildly dissimilar climates and resources pools will not be able to blend harmoniously unless you’re taking a modern analogue society where globalism has happened. This is plain old because resources only travel so far, and people are more likely to build culture around resources they have easy access to (even well-established trade links can lead to people re-creating things: Han purple and Egyptian blue point to an ancient trade link, but they were made with local materials processed differently).

Roman architecture exists because the Romans had access to copious amounts of concrete materials/marble and lived in the Mediterranean, which got very hot summers, heavy rains, and not a whole lot of cold. As a result they created structures that worked for this, which included open airways, pillars, easy to clean floors, shade, and ventilation. Places that lack these resources will not be able to replicate Rome.

Their resource pool was very specific to their regions, and there’s a reason Rome had the rule that anybody who did’t live like Romans were slaves: it was really hard to live like a Roman, and they wanted their slave pool as large as possible. 

Different cultures with different resources formed in wildly different ways, and might not even have anything similar to Greece or Rome. Because of this, you need to look really close at why culture developed the way it did. If it’s because they had extremely dissimilar resources pools, it’s wise to not blend the cultures (or at least not think they’ll look anything like their original cultures) 

Which brings me to value systems. Cultures put value on different things. Each culture ends up with a base philosophy for what they esteem and how they use resources, which proceeds to influence how it develops. Architecture has meaning to it. So does what colours you use in different applications. Because these things are sacred and/or practical for certain social orders. “Sacred” in cultures ends up becoming a shorthand for “this ritual helps us survive.”

There is no such thing as “aesthetic” when you get down to the root of each single item, because that aesthetic has a practical purpose. There is also no such thing as a “solely religious reason” under the same logic. Cows have become sacred in most varieties of Hinduism— because cows (and oxen) have been the main farming animal in the Indian subcontinent for millennia. They provide milk for sustenance, power for ploughing fields, and dung, which can be used as a floor polish and, when dried, a source of fuel for fire that gives off a more even heat than wood. As a single provider for crucial elements of agrarian life, their sacredness developed from their practicality. Having cows roam freely meant absolutely everyone could have access to an efficient cooking fuel.

Chinese brush painting has meaning. Jade sculpture has meaning. Pagodas and sloped roofs and gates have meaning. The philosophy, environment, history, and present circumstances of a culture is built into every. single. little. thing. about that culture, meaning you cannot just change it out.

Unless you learn the very root of culture, their values and stigmas and honours and shames, you cannot modify it accurately. Cultures survive because that was the best way to respond to the world at the time. A long-standing culture such as China’s has to be functional and incredibly well suited for the environment, otherwise it would not have survived. There is something about Chinese culture that works extraordinarily well for it to perpetuate itself, and you cannot disrespect that.

Learn the “why” of culture. Learn how it came to manifest and the reasons behind its manifestations. Study the geography and resources available to the people at hand. Know a culture so well you can explain how it works in real life and how your world’s history parallels the circumstances that created a similar culture in fantasy.

Only then will you be able to pull it off with respect.

~ Mod Lesya