Which real world locales would you use in sci-fi/fantasy?

Which real place names conjure up sci-fi vistas or fantasy settings for you?

My two favourites are:
Uranium City, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Blackskull, Co Down, Ireland.

Neither of these towns seem to be especially significant but their names bring to mind a futuristic dystopia and an evil wizard’s lair respectively.

You might find the recent GQ thread “Fantasy-land style place names in real life” of interest. It offers page after page of Doom Lakes and Devil’s Whatsits in the real world.

I find The Devil’s Backbone pretty evocative.

One of these days, I’ll figure out a way to use Mount Thor in a story…

Well…I’m writing a story right now that involves a side-trip to the Great Pyramid…

I was driving to Flagstaff, Arizona, and passed “Devil Dog Road.” That’s just such a wide-open invitation to a fantasy story!

Ever walked through a burned-out oak forest? The ruins of ancient trees, blackened and charred, the silence, the ashen reek. Maybe, if you’re there a few weeks later, the first little sprigs of green coming up, as life tentatively re-establishes itself? The experience is very “fantasy/fantastic” in tone.

Sea caves also always do it for me. A world that has sea caves cannot be wholly without magic!

Most of rural New Zealand would work out well.
Picher, Oklahoma
Hanford, Washington
Wittenoom, Australia


Picher - http://www.nbcnews.com/id/24555711/
Hanford - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanford_Site
Wittenoom - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wittenoom,_Western_Australia

Thanks for that, not sure how I missed it! :smack:

I’m going to take a different tack with the OP, and suggest filming locations I’d use in scifi/fantasy on film, or locales I’d base a print location on.

First up, the Giant’s Causeway, Ireland.

For a similar geological formation in the US, you could film at the Devil’s Postpile or Sheepeater Cliff

What’s the name of that town in Australia where most homes and businesses are mostly underground? I think it was used in a couple movies, but for the life of me I can’t recall it’s name. They do opal mining.

i gotcha all beat!
we have a mysterious earthen-works “fort”, built by a lost civilization, that the local Indians avoided, believing it was cursed, & which may have been constructed to keep Evil Spirits in, rather than mortals out.

Genties & Ladelmen, I present to you The Old Stone Fort.



Peter Jackson seems to think so! It looks quite lovely in all his Tolkien movies–with a touch of “difference” for this American, at least…

It wasn’t until after I watched, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, as an adult that I realised Devil’s Tower, Wyoming was a real place. I completely thought it had been made up just for the movie.

I’m currently watching the first two series of Game of Thrones and its a bit odd to see local areas used as locations, I nearly spit my coke out when I realised that the Dothraki homeland was a heavily CGI’d version my own homeland, Glenariffe:

Although I have to say I don’t think it has as many horses.

Ah, I googled and found it! Coober Pedy, the name is supposed to mean, in the aboriginal language, “white man’s hole”

There is a list of movies that have been filmed nearby, including, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.


The Hopewell Rocks, especially as the tide comes in – they’re on the Bay of Fundy, so you can actually see the tide rise and fall.

Well, it could certainly be one of those sci-fi post-apocalyptic wastelands…

I’ve used Two Sisters Pass and described the actual location in a MUD (Dos Hermanas, Navarre).

When the first LotR movie came out, a sunday mag ran a piece showing movie locations side-by-side with Spanish ones. There was no byline, but I have reasons to suspect the author was an old classmate of mine who works for that editorial house: 3 out of 8 pics were from Navarre. Several of those could easily have used locales in neighboring provinces.

Arches National Park in Utah. They used several shots from there in the opening scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which made me react when I first saw it – I’d spent the two previous summers hiking through it, and knew exactly where those shots were taken.* I believe that several of the driving-through-the-sandstone-formation shots in Thelma and Louise that are ostensibly in New Mexico were also shot at Arches.

But there are other arches and formations I’d like to see, especially Delicate Arch, which is awesomely picturesque, features on commemorative Utah license [plates, and has already been used on at least two different SF/Fantasy book covers.

*For instance, the very first shot is Courthouse Towers. Although it looks like the middle of nowhere, that scene is shot from the paved road running through the park, and if there had been any traffic on the road it would have been seen in the background in one of the gaps between the sandstone cliffs. Also, they clearly removed the barriers down below meant to keep hikers off the cryptogamic soil, right where they show the trail burros going…

Bryce National Park. The guy who discovered it: “A hell of a place to lose a cow.”

Meteora, Greece. How the hell did they build monasteries on the tops of those rocks?


Good one.

How about The Mayan ruins of Tikal. It was used as a filming location for one of the Star Wars movies. It’s a pretty cool place.