The thing about stories is that they make room for the weird and (almost) impossible. We've met characters who push our imaginations to the limit and show us all the amazing things they can do. Towns are like that too. Fictional settings can be a little strange and "off." While they make look normal on the surface, there's usually something odd hiding underneath. Here are six fictional towns that re-define what it means to be weird.
SPECTRE (Big Fish by Daniel Wallace): Nothing too unusual happens in Spectre, but something about the town makes you pause and tilt your head. For starters, the town is hidden, so it's not meant for everyone to see. There's a reason you stumble upon Spectre and, as the reader/viewer, you feel wrong spying on these inhabitants who think they're completely isolated. The visual components of Spectre are pretty weird: everyone dresses in whites and yellows, people abandon their shoes to toss them up on a high wire, and alluring sirens creep around the river. Not to mention your name is already on an attendance list when you show up. Strange.
WINESBURG (Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson): Something about this town makes people act crazy. George Willard narrates the stories about Winesburg inhabitants and every single one of them does something weird. For example, a doctor obsessively keeps little handwritten notes in his suit pocket, a little girl demands to be called "Tandy," and one man who can only tolerate imaginary people. Despite everyone's own brand of crazy, all the characters feel lonely and isolated. These emotions are weaved into the framework of the town itself.
GOTHAM CITY (Batman): Gotham City is strange for its amount of violence. The statistics of murders and crime in that town must be incomprehensible. It has also attracted some of the strangest villains known to fiction: Poison Ivy, The Joker, Mr. Freeze, and The Penguin - to name a few.
DILLYDALE (The Mr. Men Show): A town comprised of people known only for their most dominant personalities is sure to be a little strange. The name of the town doesn't make too much sense. It was named by cavemen (the town's first inhabitants), but is now home to all Mr. Men and Little Misses. It's also somehow the Happiest City in the World. It's one thing to be known as Mr. Happy, but think of your absolute worst character trait and imagine being introduced to everyone by that name ("Hello, my name is Mr. Forgetful"). The strangeness is inevitable.
SUNNYDALE (Buffy the Vampire Slayer): We have Joss Whedon to thank for one of the strangest fictional towns around. Sunnydale, California is home to not only vampires, but zombies, demons, and the always inevitable apocalypse. This is because Sunnydale sits on top of the Hellmouth, where demonic activity is at its highest. Thankfully, Buffy Summers and her Scooby Gang are always around to save the day.
WHOVILLE (Stories by Dr. Seuss): Whoville is located on a speck of dust, so it's not really optimal living conditions. However, the little Whos of Dr. Seuss' imagination have somehow made Whoville their home. Whos are animal-like creatures with canine snouts and twelve toes. The Grinch also lives nearby, on the top of a mountain just outside of the town. Whoville is filled with warm and welcoming spirits - and houses shaped like miniature pumpkins.
Maria Vicente is a literary agent intern living in Ottawa, Canada. She likes coffee, books, snail mail, and magic. You can find her on Twitter (@MsMariaVicente) or check out her website (mariavicente.com)