Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Bad Place

Any place with a powerful flavour of Wrongness and rottenness: Haunted Dwellings, evil woods, Dark Towers, sometimes even Waste Lands. What makes a BP may be the psychic taint of Evil doings, as in the eponymous abandoned Carnival ground in Dean R Koontz's The Bad Place (1990), whose perceived wrongness stems from the activities of a Serial Killer; or deluded Perception, as with the "somehow abominable" countryside in "The Bad Lands" (in The Smoking Leg coll 1925) by John Metcalfe (1891-1965); or some Ritual of Desecration, as with Sauron's foul industrial slag-heaps outside the gates of Mordor in J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955); or contamination following major misuse of Magic (often in long-past wars), as with Methwold Forest in Brian Stableford's The Last Days of the Edge of the World (1978); or a Curse, as with the house in Diana Wynne Jones's Power of Three (1976), whose sickening waves of wrongness emanate from a cursed Amulet; or some Soul in Bondage, as in Rudyard Kipling's "The House Surgeon" (1909) and William Hope Hodgson's "The Whistling Room" (in Carnacki the Ghost-Finder coll 1910), which room's physical fabric is hideously animated by the malevolent Spirit; or associations (perhaps via Portals) with dread inhuman entities, as with the risen Island in H P Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" (1928), whose wrongness is additionally signalled by architecture with impossible geometries. Although a BP can and often does contain physical threats, its essence is a deeper spiritual discomfort or danger. [DRL]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.