Figured that worldbuilding could be an interesting topic to discuss, both within the world of interactive fiction and (why not?) outside too.
Fictional worlds: I think we all have our favorites, be a completely separate planet or just our own reality touched by supernatural forces. What are yours, and why do you like them?
I rather not turn the opening post in a long, dry list, so I will just pick two examples, one from a CYOA and another from a novel:
Tower Behind the Moon: Normally I don’t enjoy settings in which magic is too abundant or mechanic, because it tends to make the fantasy mundane. The merit of this genuinely insane game however is that despite being everywhere, magic is anything BUT mundane: Microscopic portals in the surface of the eye to avoid the maddening aura of an ancient dragon, would-be world conquerors turned into castellans, heavenly and hellish hierarchies extending towards infinity in fiery ranks, and the absolute madness that is the final act… There is very few worlds like it, that embrace the impossible with so much glee.
Urth(Book of the New Sun): Gene Wolfe was a puzzling genious, and each one of his works can be read several times without ever running out of new meanings and mysteries. What makes the post-post-post-post apocalyptic world of his magnum opus so good, howeveer, is that even largely sticking to the rules of sci-fi Wolfe creates an almost post-human future with purpose, with ethos, in which all its crazy, seemingly random and anachronistic elements fit in a greater, divine design. Is a world of re-encarnating inca deities, of eldritch abominations leading totalitarian states, of alien gardens filled with flesh automatons, of knights that ride carnivore horses, time-travelling houses and even shape-shiting angels… And it all somehow makes sense without losing a single shred of wonder or meaning.