Name five locations you write about in fanfic and tell us something about them.
1. Xavier's Academy in Salem Center, NY. This one is central to my fandom. It's Charles Xavier's childhood home, and he has turned it into the school he runs for gifted (read: mutant) youth and also the headquarters and training center for the X-Men. It’s a huge house (sometimes referred to as the “X-Mansion”) with room for all those activities. It’s a lovely mixture of old style charm (lots of leather furniture and wood paneling) and high tech mod cons (elevators that seem to just know where they’re going, a fully equipped Danger Room, and a launching pad for the Blackbird). It reminds me a bit of some of those places you see advertised under “Luxury Homes and Estates” in the Sunday Times.
The Xavier estate is in Westchester County, north of New York City and pretty much boring suburban commuter towns now. In Charles’s youth, though, it would have been quite rural. Charles’s father (in my fiction, he’s financier Edmund Xavier) undoubtedly had at least a pied à terre in the city, perhaps even a townhouse.
In my fiction, I depict a variety of places in the mansion and on the grounds. My version has a swimming pool, and Scott is sometimes shown swimming laps. There’s an enclosed garden where some crucial conversations occur. I visit assorted classrooms, particularly when Scott is teaching. I have some of the action occurring in the Danger Room, some in Scott’s office, some in his bedroom, and some in Charles’s office. Sex happens in all those places, too :-).
2 . The Bronx Zoo. Since the X-Men are based in a suburb of New York City, and since I’m a New Yorker, I find it easy to use locations in and around the city. I love the Bronx Zoo! It’s a long subway ride from my place, so we tend to go only a couple of times a year but we always have such a good time. It’s huge and full of fascinating exhibits. We always get there when it opens, stay until it closes, and still leave saying “We didn’t manage to see X, Y and Z. Let’s make sure to do that next time.” I was last there in August, with three little girls, and we had a totally wonderful time.
The Zoo shows up in my X2 fiction directly. Magneto and his band attack the Skyfari. The X-Men, having been warned by the pre-cognitive mutant Cassandra, are there to avert disaster. It turns out, though, that the attack was just a diversion. In my X1 fiction, Adam’s mother takes Ezra to the Zoo in Past and to Come , leaving Adam and Jean-Paul alone in her apartment to sort through Adam’s old stuff (and do a few other things, too, if Jean-Paul has his way).
3. Cote St. Luc. It’s a suburb of Montreal and I knew people who lived there when I lived in Montreal. I place the Alpha Flight safe house in Cote St. Luc. Scott and Logan meet with the Alpha Flight people there in Canadian Nights and the Mawrter Mutants have a reunion there (much to Jean-Paul’s annoyance, since he thought he would have the place to himself) in Safe House . When I first wrote the house into Canadian Nights, I thought it would just be for one chapter. But then there was the mystery of what had happened between Logan and Mac Hudson that Logan didn’t remember, what was in the bottle of almond scented oil and why it had the effect it had on Logan, and so forth. I started feeling like I’d never get out of Cote St. Luc. Which is a feeling I’ve had in real life from time to time, since the busses there are quite frequent at rush hours but few and far between at night. And believe me, it’s very cold waiting around for that bus at night during a Montreal winter. My metaphorical night bus finally arrived, though, just as the real ones used to, and the action switched to Westchester and Saskatchewan. Which brings me to:
4. Rural Saskatchewan. My mutants have a rural outpost in northern Saskatchewan. It’s Charles Xavier’s idea originally. He sees it as a kind of sister school to Xavier’s Academy, as well as a potential refuge if they ever have to evacuate. Logan and Storm are sent to scout out possible places in Western Canada and come up with an old farm house and large property about half an hour’s drive from Prince Albert. Oliver helps them to map out the property underneath the ground in Canadian Nights and finds out something he’d rather not know in the process. Wendy and Arthur work with Logan and Jean-Paul on building the Outpost, which still looks like an old farmhouse but has room for 150 people to live in underground dorms. Logan’s Wilderness Survival class has as their final exam, finding their way to the Outpost from where Scott leaves them in Trials and it becomes the headquarters for both the Academy and the X-Men when they do have to evacuate Xavier’s during the War on Mutants.
I spent a lot of time researching locations in western Canada before I found the spot for the Outpost. All the illustrations in Trials are actual pictures of northern Saskatchewan. As Logan says, it’s stark but it’s got its own beauty.
5. Peru, Vermont.. A man of Charles Xavier’s means would not likely have only one house. In my fiction he owns a ski house in Vermont. It shows up mostly in my X2 fiction. Charles tries to send Scott there for a vacation-cum-therapeutic-intervention in After the Fall . Scott balks, but he later goes to the house to prepare it for its role in the Mutant Protection Plan. It’s also the location of the battle with Magneto in Summers in a Sea of Glory .
The Peru house does not figure so directly in my X1 fiction, but it’s mentioned. Charles takes Scott there when Scott first joins him, before they have a method to control Scott’s optic blasts. Because of its remote location, Scott can open his eyes there, under Charles’s direction. As Scott tells Adam, “Sometimes I could open them at his place in Vermont. It’s pretty remote. Nobody saw us. He’d tell me when it was safe to open my eyes. I cut down trees with my eyes. We used them for firewood. God, you can’t imagine what it felt like, to see after all that time.” It's also Scott's putative birth place, when Charles decides to give him a new birth certificate and new parentage. He provides documentation saying that Scott is his son by one Maria Summers, and that he was born at home - in the Peru house. Rick Kapell investigates far enough to find out that Maria Summers was a maid in the house, but not far enough to find out that she never existed.
I have a friend who used to have a house in Peru, Vermont and we used to go there a couple of times a year. I always liked saying I was going to Peru for the weekend :-).
Anyone else want to play?