Geoffrey Taylor
Geoffrey Taylor

8 Fictional Places (That Sound Real)

Geoffrey Taylor
Geoffrey Taylor

Science fiction and fantasy stories can inhabit worlds that we are familiar with, even though they have no basis in reality: Narnia, Middle-Earth, Westeros, Tatooine, etc. Then there are fictional nations inserted into movies, TV, comics, and other pop culture media that are vaguely reminiscent of real places, but the name is made up to avoid offense. You might remember a few of these.

1. Freedonia

In the 1933 Marx Brothers’ movie Duck Soup, the character Rufus T. Firefly (played by Groucho) is made dictator of the nation of Freedonia in order to secure a substantial loan from a society matron who fancies him. However, the name Freedonia was in use before the movie, as a euphemism for a free nation, often the U.S. It was also used afterward for an experimental micronation in the 1990s.

2. Lower Slobbovia

Al Capp invented the nation of Lower Slobbovia in 1946 for his comic strip Li’l Abner. Meant to be a euphemism for Siberia, the inhabitants of that arctic region lived in waist-deep snow at all times. In the years since, Lower Slobbovia has come to mean “any place considered to be remote, poor, or unenlightened.”

3. Moronica

In 1940, the Three Stooges parodied Adolf Hitler in the short You Nazty Spy! Moe, a handyman, became the dictator of a country called Moronica. Moe dons a greasepaint mustache and takes over the country.

4. Starvania

Moronica is part of Starvania, which is an entire fictional continent, featured again on a map in the 1949 Three Stooges short Malice in the Palace. As you can see in the map above, it has plenty of nations, each one named with a joke in mind. In this version, Moronica has been replaced by Oomphola. The “face” of the continent is not so grim by 1949.

5. Elbonia

The Republic of Elbonia is referred to in the comic strip Dilbert. It is an Eastern European nation that is slowly emerging from under communist rule, although conditions are still dismal and jobs are scarce. In fact, political tension split Elbonia in two, with North Elbonia returning to a communist system and South Elbonia remaining under a dictatorship. The country is covered in a waist-deep layer of mud, and mud is their biggest export. Dilbert’s company outsources work to Elbonia to save money.

6. Grand Fenwick

Leonard Wibberley wrote a series of books about the goings-on in a fictional European duchy named Grand Fenwick. The first book, The Mouse That Roared, was made into a movie in 1959. In the story, Grand Fenwick is a tiny Alpine nation with few resources and little money, but it managed to win a war against the U.S. because no one took their invasion seriously (although the aim was to lose and receive foreign aid to rebuild). That movie was followed by The Mouse on the Moon in 1963, in which Grand Fenwick beat both the Americans and the Russians to the moon.

7. San Sombrèro

The nation of San Sombrèro (autoplay sound) is a Central American country that exists only in a travel guidebook. The 2006 book San Sombrèro: a Land of Carnivals, Cocktails and Coups, is a parody of travel guides, filled with stereotypes in a somewhat-believable format, but with jokes nestled in every section. San Sombrèro raised the literacy rates by jailing or deporting illiterate people. The nickname “the Venice of Central America” is attributed to coastal cities that are sinking. The screenshot above is from a video of San Sombrèro’s national anthem “La Bababumba,” which features quite a bit of twerking. The Jetlag travel guides also include a the European fictional country Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry and the Asian nation Phaic Tan: Sunstroke on a Shoestring.

8. San Serriffe

San Seriffe sounds like a lovely place to visit, a tropical island nation in the Indian Ocean. It was cooked up by the British newspaper The Guardian in 1977 for April Fool’s Day. But after reading the seven-page special report, you have to say, what a country! You can get an overview of the island’s geography, history, and culture. Every facet of this country is typographical, just like its name. The capital city is Bodoni, the major islands are Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse, and the country is ruled by General Maria-Jesu Pica.

Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Christmas Candy in Each State, Mapped

For those who didn’t get their full candy fix last Halloween, the holiday season provides plenty of opportunities to indulge. From candy canes to chocolate Santas, there’s something for everyone—but before splurging on sweet stocking stuffers, check out the interactive map below. Created by bulk candy retailer, it breaks down the top three favorite candies in each state.

To determine which Christmas treats were the most popular, the team at surveyed over 50,000 customers and spoke with major candy manufacturers and distributors. Not surprisingly, candy canes were a hit in numerous states, including Washington, Delaware, Vermont, Georgia, Maine, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. California, Nevada, West Virginia, and Kansas residents, however, got into the seasonal spirit with peppermint bark. North Dakota residents preferred chocolate Santas. And Alabama, Michigan, and Utah liked Jelly Belly’s Reindeer Corn.

Christmas candy sales in America are projected to rake in nearly $2 billion for confectioners, according to an estimate provided by the National Confectionary Association. Spend your holiday bonus wisely on treats everyone will appreciate by checking out’s full results below.


This Crowdsourced Map Catalogs the World’s Vinyl Record Stores

The experience of walking into a brick-and-mortar record store and browsing music by hand may seem like a relic of the past. But there are thousands of places around the world where it's still possible—check out this crowd-sourced map from VinylHub for proof.

According to a blog post on VinylHub’s sister site Discogs, the goal of the project is to eventually catalogue every record store on Earth. Community members have already added over 6500 locations to the Google-generated map, and that number continues to grow.

If you’re planning to take a vinyl-themed road trip based on this map, the U.S. is the place to travel. The country is home to nearly 1500 record stores according to the map, more than anywhere else in the world. But if you’re limiting yourself to just one city, head to Tokyo, where you’ll find at least 93 vinyl shops within city limits.

Map of all the record stores in America.

Map of record stores in Tokyo.

If you don't see your go-to record store on the map, register with Discogs to make a submission.


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