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There's a Place for Us

Jim Walsh

Amanda Halperin

Two weekends ago, the 41st annual Minicon at the Sheraton Bloomington attracted some 600 sci-fi and fantasy fans. We took the opportunity to ask a few Miniconners the question: Since Earth is such a

mess right now, what world would you rather inhabit?

Troy Paton, Stillwater The Star Trek world—Earth or any of the major developed Federation worlds—would be good, because you've got it made. You go to your living room and have anything you want cooked up. You have yourself teleported halfway across the planet. I'm thinking about conveniences, here.

Marty Byers, St. Paul Mars. It's close to what we've already got, and there's no one there to screw it up. We get there, we set up our own community, get some better people runnin' it, and...smooth sailing. And after that, we move to Io. It's a moon of Jupiter, from 2001: A Space Odyssey: "Io is not ours."

Alison Sommer, St. Peter Alderaan, before it blew up. It's the imaginary planet from Star Wars. It's peaceful; they have no weapons.

Ethan Sommer, St. Peter Vulcan. Because they're very logical there and I would seem really creative in comparison.

Shari Mann, St. Paul Pern, a world created by Ann McCaffrey and her Dragonriders of Pern series, where humans left Earth and populated this new planet and kind of lost touch with Earth. One of the things that appeals to me is that it's got dragons. We don't have them here. We don't have anything that's quite that big and different. The biggest things we've got are whales, and we don't get to see them too often. If you've got dragons flying around, you don't have to put on special scuba equipment. You just look up and there they would be.

Amanda Halperin, Walnut Creek, California I just read Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin. There, they have a whole International League that's kind of like Star Trek but a little more practical. They run their government more like evolution runs. You'd think by now that if evolution worked the way it's supposed to work, everything would be perfect. So it's the opposite of Machiavellian. The means justify the ends. The way you do it is the important thing, and not the ends. I like that because I don't really like the ends justify the means so much.

Nathan Skerbinc, Minneapolis Discworld from Terry Pratchett is one of the funnest ones: flat planet, bounce on the back of four elephants, ride around on the back of a giant turtle floating around space. A world like that existing is a million-to-one shot, but as any good wizard will tell you, a million-to-one shot happens nine times out of ten. I like the concept of someplace where what you believe in is what will happen to you.

Carolyn Brust, Minneapolis Amber, from The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. I like the idea of being able to transfer through shadow, to make a world exactly what you want it to be, and to be able to want changes and go somewhere that fits your current want.

Benjamin Gardner, St. Paul Early-on Gallifrey. I'm an old fan of Dr. Who. I'd like to visit a place where you can get vacation trips to anywhere in the universe, including Earth, and see Shakespeare in the original.

Robert Yeo, Laurium, Michigan Mars. The first science-fiction book I read was The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, and it sounded like a good place. "We are the new Martians," it said.

Pat Scaramuzza, Sioux Falls, South Dakota The later Star Wars movies were kind of crap, but the home of the Republic in its height, before everything went to hell, was pretty nice. It looked like everyone was rich and everyone lived in these wonderful penthouse apartments. They also seemed whole. It wasn't just capitalism or politics. They had religion. It seemed to have everything. It was a deep planet.

Brianna Bowen, Minneapolis Definitely the Star Trek Next Generation world. Gene Roddenberry just had this awesome vision of the future. It was so hopeful and humanity straightened itself out. We didn't ruin our planet. And then we started finding other things and trying to get everyone to get together and talk and be friends.

Jim Walsh can be reached at 612.372.3775 or [email protected]

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