SF Signal – What Places Inspire Your Worldbuilding?

The fine fellows over at SfSignal invited me to participate in another one of their Mind Melds.

This weekend when I visited the cheery and freshly-scrubbed young folk at at the Franciscan University of Steubenville I was surprised to discover not one but several questions I was in no wise qualified to answer.

I call it a surprise, because both my lawyerly training and my years as a newspaperman allowed space to editorialize on the editorial pages not to mention my freewheeling impulse as a fiction writer have equipped me with that one skill so valuable in the modern media-soaked age, the ability to bloviate with bloated recklessness on every and any topic, and to wax indignant over issues both freshly minted and utterly invented, and to be an expert on a topic of which the writer knows nothing before the short interval measured between question mark at the end of the interrogatory and open quotes marking the advent of his answer.

Here again I was taken by surprise by a question on which I have no opinion and no qualification to answer. Did that stop me? By Saint Thomas More, patron of lawyers, and Saint John, patron of writers, and Saint Frances de Sales, patron of newspapermen, it did not!

Here is the question:

Places. Be it distant cities, or even beyond Earth entirely, strange, unusual and beautiful places can inspire creativity and ideas for stories and novels. What places, on Earth or beyond, inspire worldbuilding in your writing? What appeals to you about them? Share!

My answer, along with those of Elizabeth Moon and other fine practitioners and devotees of the sciencefictioneering craft, is here: