23 December 2007


It is obvious that in fiction-writing cognitive mapping plays an essential role. From the 1884 novel by Edward A. Abbot, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, which is literally about the dimensionality of space; to Mark Twain's placed-based works, set in California, Europe, or the American South; and Philip K. Dick's dystopian sci-fi novels and short stories (e.g., "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", which was made into the film Blade Runner)--all fiction, like history, must take place some place, even if the place is an entirely fictional landscape. Robert Louis Stevenson claimed that before writing his novel he drew a map of Treasure Island so that he could visualize the plot. Mississippian Eudora Welty said, in "The Writer's Craft," that, "One place comprehended can make us understand other places better. A sense of space [and place] gives equilibrium, a sense of direction" (my insertion). Spatiality is, as are the essentialities of matter and time, one of the attributes of the physical Universe.

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