by Yvette Tan
Dorothy said it best. There’s no place like home. No farmhouses on this list though. What we do have is a list of fabulous, mind blowing, out of this world abodes whose moving staircases, time travel abilities, poles you slide down off of, and over all coolness that make you wonder why the people who live in them bother to go out at all.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
Harry Potter’s alma mater cannot be found by non-magical eyes. The castle that houses the school stands near the Black Lake and the Forbidden Forest. The lake is populated by merfolk, grindylows and a giant squid. How a squid manages to,live in fresh water is a magical thing in itself. The forest holds many dangerous things including centaurs, giant spiders, unicorns, and the occasional student. The rooms in Hogwarts never stay in the same place, and the staircases tend to move around, which one imagines results in a lot of students late for class and doors being opened to surprised students in compromising positions. Ah, youth. But yes, if you lived in a school where you had to learn stuff like Transfiguration (changing one object into the shape of another), Charms (incantations used to bewitched people, like that cute guy who plays quidditch without his shirt on), and Defense Against the Dark Arts (which sounds cool, period), Hogwarts is the place to be, never mind that 50% of what goes on inside it might very well kill you.
When asked to name the most awesome abode they can think of, the most people will immediately say the Bat Cave. After all, it’s a secret room under an eligible bachelor’s mansion (already a pretty cool thing in itself) that houses a computer so powerful that calling it a superercomputer is akin to patting it on the head and telling it to run along and play with the other kids. The Bat Cave also houses, among other things, a crime lab, a gym, a teleporter, parking spaces for various vehicles, the most famous of which is the Batmobile and incidentally, a colony of bats. With a high tech setup as this, one wonders why the caped crusader bothers to venture out at all.
The TARDIS (which stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) is Dr. Who’s spaceship/time machine that is currently stuck in the shape of a blue police box. The TARDIS is bigger on the inside than its exteriors suggests, and can take its occupants to any point in time or space, from Shakespeare’s England to when the Earth gets swallowed by the sun. But probably as important as its time and space bending abilities is that its small size makes it very easy to park, and its chameleon circuit means that it blends into its surroundings, thereby avoiding any unwanted tickets.
What’s not to love about the Ghostbusters’s HQ? What is fondly called a “big waste of space” sounds like a fun place to hold office in. You get to hang out around what used to be real working New york firehouse. When a job gets called in, you slide down a long pole and run to your car, and after the job is done, you head downstairs and deposit whatever spirit you’ve caught into the Containment Unit, a mini universe in itself, one entirely populated by ghosts. The only drawback to living in the Firehouse s that you have to share a room with everyone else, something that must be prove awkward on date nights.
Futurama’s drunken, debauched robot bender lives in an apartment that is roughly the size of an elevator, and a small one at that. The only other room in his apartment, is in his closet, which he sublets to his best friend, Philip J. Fry. The closet is about the size of, well a very big apartment, and might very well be the ultimate 31st century bachelor pad. it’s got a huge space, all the technological comforts of the 31st century (except a robot to clean up the mess because that would be beneath them), all attained on the salary of a delivery boy. What do you say to that, Mr. Inflation?
It’s every ten year-old inventor lad’s dream: to have a fully functional laboratory behind his room’s bookcase. Anything goes in the lab. Giant robots can be built, worlds can be saved with cheese omelets, and monkeys can be experimented on. The only problem is the the world’s greatest lab comes with the world’s greatest annoyance in the form of an older sibling who likes bunnies, unicorns and getting around the lab’s superior defenses. It just goes to show that even the world’s smartest ten year old can’t think everything, and that even the most high tech defenses fail in the wake of the color pink.
If you were conscious in the ’80s, you would not have missed The Flying House, a time machine in the shape of, well, a house, manned by the aptly named Professor Humphrey Bumble and his robot assistant SIR. Friends Justin Casey and Angela Roberts and her bother Corky stumble on the house when caught in a storm while playing hide and seek in the forest and a lightning strike causes them to go back in time to various parts of the Old Testament. Aside from being a time machine, the house never seems to run out of food, never seems to have a bad plumbing, and enables the kids to meet Jesus on an almost daily basis. Of course, the cartoon series stems from a simpler time, when it was all right for kids to play hide and seek in the woods, seek shelter in lonesome dwelling places and trust strange middle-aged men, even if said men did have cool robots.
You didn’t think I’d make a Wizard of Oz reference and not mention the Emerald City, did you? An overdose of the color green aside (though some of the books don’t describe the city as actually being green , though it does have a preoccupation with the color), wouldn’t it be lovely to control a whole metropolis, the capital of the land and all the people who live in and around it. via little box of controls hidden inside the castle that make you seem bigger and scarier than you really are? So yeah, the Emerald City gets a mention as an awesome place to live in, but only if you’re the Wizard.
Sandman fans and Neil Gaiman diehards know the The Dreaming as the place where Morphans, the dream king, lives. It is populated by all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures such as a talking raven and a scarecrow with a pumpkin for a head, and contains all sorts of mysterious places such as the House of Mystery and the House of Secrets, where brothers Cain and Abel live, respectively. In the middle of The Dreaming lies Morpheus’ castle, which contains a library that houses all the books that people have ever dreamed of writing, all of which can be read regardless of what language one speaks, or whether one can read at all. If you’re an explorer, you’ll never lack for places to see and things to do in The Dreaming. If you’re a reader, you can lock yourself in the library and spend eternity in book-filled bliss.
DANNY THE STREET
Doom Patrol’s Danny the Street is a home for restless wanderers, people who are too lonely or strange to live outside their own heads. As a street, Danny can teleport anywhere without seeming out of place geographically. He’s got a host of other talents, including the ability to communicate via signs and urban affectations. A street where the weary find rest, and one that moves around and talk to you to boot. Sounds like an awesome neighborhood to me.
Published in the March 2011 issue of UNO Magazine
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