Throughout this book, I have been primarily concerned with the literary mapping of real spaces, or, to mention once more the tripartite division of types of space in Edward Soja's theory of spatiality, the mapping of real, imagined, and real-and-imagined spaces. Yet all of these remain situated more or less under the sign of realism, inasmuch as even the fictional or imaginary places are understood to be ways of representing the personal and social spaces of our real world. In this conclusion, however, I want to examine those other spaces which are not usually associated with mimesis, realism, or the real world, but which also maintain a profound influence over literary cartography and geography. In particular, these are the places and spaces presented in the fantastic mode, broadly conceived and encompassing such particular genres as utopia, science fiction, and fantasy. As becomes clear immediately, however, the distinction is rather unstable, oscillatory, and subject to reversals, as the most fantastic literature may also have clear, “real-world” effects, and the most realistic works can often mask the false or misleading truths behind everyday appearances. Fantasy might be all the more147 useful for thinking about the real spaces of the world. As the British fantasist and theorist China Mieville has pointed out,

In a fantastic cultural work, the artist pretends that things known to be impossible are not only possible but real, which creates mental space redefining—or pretending to redefine—the impossible. This is sleight of mind, altering the categories of the not-real. Bearing in mind Marx's point that the real and the not-real are constantly crossreferenced in the productive activity by which humans interact with the world, changing the not-real allows one to think differently about the real, its possibilities and its actualities.

(Mieville 2002: 45-46)