Array of radiotelescopes in front of a mountain

Imagined worlds: Out of the corner of your eye

Tonight I watched Miyazaki's Laputa, a Studio Ghibli animated movie about the adventures of a young girl and boy and their quest to find a flying city. Miyazaki's plots are so wonderfully and wierdly different to anything else on the screen, but what I love most are his fantastical cityscapes and industrial depictions. I would love to have a model railway layout that depicted on of his towns, love to see it with my own eyes even more. You have the distinct feeling that places like that exist, should exist.

I feel the same way about the incredible imagined Australia in Terry Dowling's Tom Tyson/Rynosseros series. I can see his towns, desert landscapes, his sandships travelling across the Ab'O states out of the corner of my eye, hear the sounds of the belltrees in my mind. Dowling imbues Australia with a history that is most noticeable by its absence in reality.

I wish these places existed. Sometimes I overlay echoes of Dowling's Australia atop real places. At breaklight this evening we were walking along the promenade of my Twilight Beach, Botany Bay, towards my Gaza Hotel, the Novotel at Brighton Le Sands. But there was no Mayan Quarter, no firechess, too much shatterwrack on the path. Instead of sandships leaving the Sand Quay there were aircraft taking off from the airport, but then there were the kites of the paraskiers too. If only there were bells and windchimes on the groyens reaching out into the bay, intelligent belltrees along the promenade. I can see them out of the corner of my eye.