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Fictional country

Fictional countries were common in stories of early science fiction (or scientific romance). These countries are supposedly part of the normal Earth landscape although they are not located in a normal atlas. Later similar tales often took place on fictional planets.

Jonathan Swift's protagonist, Lemuel Gulliver, visited various strange places. Edgar Rice Burroughs placed adventures of Tarzan in areas in Africa that, at the time, were mostly unexplored. Isolated islands with strange creatures and/or customs were popular in these authors' times. When Western explorers had surveyed most of the Earth's surface, this option was lost. Thereafter utopian and dystopian societies have been usually placed on other planets, whether in human colonies in our Solar system or in societies on fictional planets orbiting other stars.

Superhero and agent comics and some thrillers also use fictional countries as backdrops. Most of these countries exist only for a single story, TV series episode or an issue of comic book.

Fictional countries are often made to resemble or even represent some real-world country or used to present a utopia or dystopia for commentary. Writers may create a fictional version of a specific country or, for example, a stereotypical "European", "Arabic", "Asian" or "Latin American" country for the purposes of their story. Variants of the country's name usually make it clear what country they really have in mind.

Modern writers usually do not try to pass off their stories as facts. However, in the early 18th century George Psalmanazar pretended to be a prince from the island of Formosa (what is now Taiwan) and wrote a fictional description about it to convince his sponsors.

Fictional countries include:

Books

  • Alberto Manguel & Gianni Guadalupi: The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
  • Brian Stableford: The Dictionary of Science Fiction Places

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