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Top10: Fictional universes you wish were ours

Movies, television, video games, books—they’re all ways for us to escape our mundane, everyday lives and enter the sphere of the fictional, fantastic and exciting. The best escapism takes place when our chosen forms of entertainment transport us to a completely different universe. Here are the top 10 fictional universes you wish you lived in (or at least could travel to).

Note: I’ve left out some fictional universes that I think are worth visiting—the ones from Fringe, Brave New World and Courage the Cowardly Dog, for example—in favor of less frightening and life-threatening ones.

  1. The Wizarding World, Harry Potter:I’m not talking about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter down in Universal Studios Theme Park (I’ve been there; three rides hardly constitute a universe). I’m talking about leaving the Muggle world forever and becoming real live witches and wizards. We all waited for our Hogwarts acceptance letters when we were 11, so we cannot deny that we’ve always wanted to ride broomsticks, speak Parseltongue and light up hallways with our wands. I’d even be willing to listen to Snape’s droning potion lectures if I could just find out what my patronus is.
  2. The Land of Ooo, Adventure Time: The post-apocalyptic Earth does not seem so scary to Finn and Jake, the main characters of Adventure Time. Although a quarter of the planet has been taken out by a nuclear warhead, the continent Ooo looks like a pretty fun place to live. I would love to have talking pieces of candy as my mutated friends, spend my days exploring and relaxing in a tree house and battle an ice king who is nicer than he thinks he is.
  3. The Universe of Toy StoryYoung adults like us grew up alongside Andy from the Toy Story trilogy, but we never lucked out like he did with his childhood toys (as far as we know, anyway). Not only were Woody, Buzz and the gang all sentient beings, they were also so loyal to their owner that they would find him whenever they got lost. I had my own Toy Story toys when I was little, and I used to imagine they were alive, too—but if I really lived in Andy’s universe, I’d still know where they were today.
  4. The Islands of Gulliver’s TravelsGulliver’s Travels is quite older than any of my other choices, but the islands in this book are places I wish I could visit on vacation. For those of you who don’t know, author Jonathan Swift had Gulliver visit places like Lilliput, an imaginary island where the inhabitants were less than six inches tall. I wouldn’t want to be imprisoned by this tiny race, like Gulliver was, but it would be nice to be the big fish in a small pond for a while.
  5. Middle-Earth, The Lord of the Rings:The real-world shire can be found in New Zealand, where the movies were filmed, but I would rather travel to Middle-earth to spend time with real hobbits—not actors. Middle-earth is a place where you can meet elves, fight wars from atop an elephant and watch a firework show put on by Gandalf. (And really, I swear, I only want to try the ring on for a minute.)
  6. The Pokémon Universe: The world of Pokémon allowed young children to capture and train monsters with supernatural abilities—and have them fight each other in the wilderness and in arenas. What other way is there to spend your time as a 10 year old, really, and who wouldn’t want tiny pocket monsters as pets and bodyguards? Instead of saying I could beat someone up, I wanted Pikachu to do the work for me.
  7. A Galaxy Far, Far Away, Star WarsI’d give almost anything to fight evil and destroy the Death Star with Harrison Ford (when he was not cryogenically frozen, of course). While Episodes I, II and III are a bit too political and slow-moving as movies, the action-packed original films in a galaxy “far, far away” are infinitely more exciting. I would trade my suburban lifestyle to shoot at space rats on the planet Tatooine with Luke Skywalker, followed by drinks at the alien-filled Cantina bar after.
  8. Oz, The Wizard of OzAlice’s Wonderland, Peter Pan’s Neverland and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory fit under this category of fantastical places as well. All four places were the ultimate escape from reality for children when we were young—especially if you did not want to deal with growing up, like me. These amazing worlds would have allowed us to make some new interesting friends, try some unique snacks and learn about ourselves.
  9. The Mushroom Kingdom, Super MarioJust last week, I spent the majority of an afternoon babysitting discussing how the Mushroom Kingdom’s methods of travel are far better than our own. Mario and his friends have access to pipes instead of plain old stairs, and they can get rich quick on their way to a destination by grabbing at coins. While the life of an ordinary plumber may bore us, Mario and Luigi’s adventures make up for all of that and I’ve always wanted to tag along.
  10. Bikini Bottom, Spongebob SquarepantsNo list of fictional universes would be complete without mentioning our little yellow friend and his “pineapple under the sea.” We’ve seen that Sandy the squirrel has a hard time living underwater, but that’s a risk we may be willing to take in order to befriend a group of sea creatures and a whimsically naïve sponge who works as a fry cook. We would just need to stay away from Spongebob when he is behind the wheel of a boat mobile or we’ll be in trouble (“My leg!”).
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Top10: Fictional universes you wish were ours