Atlas of Imagined Cities: Who Lives Where in TV, Books, Games and Movies?

Atlas of Imagined Cities: Who Lives Where in TV, Books, Games and Movies?
Atlas of Imagined Cities by Matt Brown

We all know that Sherlock lived at 221b Baker Street. But who were his fictional neighbours?

A new book, co-authored by Londonist's editor-at-large Matt Brown, maps thousands of locations from movies, TV, novels, video games and other fictional works. It's the sequel to 2021's award-winning Atlas of Imagined Places, and started out as a Londonist project.

Atlas of Imagined Cities takes 14 world cities, including London, and plots the homes of hundreds of fictional characters — from Del Boy and Rodney to Count Dracula to Mrs Dalloway. The maps also pinpoint dozens of famous fictional organisations and businesses — Central Perk, Ghostbusters HQ, Torchwood, Cyberdyne Sytems, Sterling Cooper, Tyrell Corporation, to name just a few of the more famous examples.

Fictional Manhattan
A sneak peek at part of fictional Manhattan

The maps also include fictional infrastructure, such as the great sea wall round LA from Blade Runner 2049, and the anti-Kaiju wall of Sydney from Pacific Rim. You'll also find the routes of fictional car chases, speedboat pursuits in Venice, the pilgrimage path of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and much more.

Fictional London mapped

A map of fictional inner london
Inner London

Perhaps the most densely populated map is London. Whole fictional boroughs such as Walford (Eastenders) and Canley (The Bill) are served by fictional tube stations such as Hobb's End (Quatermass and the Pit) and Vauxhall Cross (Die Another Day). A constellation of famous characters fill in the gaps. Spies James Bond, Alex Rider and George Smiley all inhabit the same cluster of Chelsea streets. Phileas Fogg could pop across the road into Grace Brothers, and dalmatians Pongo and Perdita could easily be spooked by the Invisible Man.

Atlas of Imagined Cities started out as a Londonist project. Back in 2019, we published a map of fictional London called Unreal City, plotting over 700 fictional locations onto a map of London. It's now blossomed into a whole book covering 14 cities on five continents. London remains at the heart of the project, with hundreds of fictional places spread over four pages.

A map of fictional outer london
London has so many important fictional characters that the map is spread over four pages. Here we see Outer London

Besides the city maps, artfully drawn by illustrator Mike Hall, the book also includes plenty of mini-essays exploring the fiction of the 14 cities. These explain how the authors sleuthed their locations. Often, it's obvious from the source material, but sometimes a bit of detective-work is needed to pinpoint a fictional home, business or event.

A full index is included, so it's easy to look up your favourite films or novels and see how they're mapped. The real joy, though, is simply to browse the maps and make your own connections between very different works of fiction. Who knew that the apartments from Friends are right next door to the block from Rear Window? Or that two major characters from Doctor Who and Star Trek lived in the same small part of San Francisco?

A map of fictional Tokyo
Fictional Tokyo is as densely populated as real Tokyo

The 14 cities covered are Berlin, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Paris, Rio, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo, Venice and Washington DC.

Atlas of Imagined Cities: Who Lives Where in TV, Books, Games and Movies. by Matt Brown, Rhys B. Davies and Mike Hall is out now from Batsford.

Last Updated 13 October 2023