Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Never-Never Land

Also rendered as Never Never Land and Never Land, the Otherworld which features in J M Barrie's play Peter Pan (produced 1904; rev 1928) and its prose sequels. Peter Pan lives there, along with his Companions and his foes. The pathos and melancholy of Barrie's overall concept infects his rendering of N-NL, for it is a venue which exudes both Belatedness and a frail level of Reality, like that of the Fairy Tinkerbell; N-NL seems therefore constantly at risk from the mortal children who visit, for they are doomed to pass through Time into the estrangements of adulthood. Time does not exist for N-NL's denizens, notably Peter Pan himself.

Fantasy otherworlds whose depiction is exaggerated and playful are sometimes called N-NLs – indeed, they are so-called because they actually contradict their readers' sense of reality. They are not uncommon in Children's Fantasy – J P Martin's Uncle novels use such a setting.

The term "neverland" is sometimes used – as in Neverland: Fabled Places and Fabulous Voyages of History and Legend (1976) by Steven Frimmer (1928-    ) – to describe imagined and perhaps believed-in physical locations on this planet, like Atlantis, or "flyaway" islands like Brazil Rock, or the Archipelago visited by Saint Brendan, or the kingdom of Prester John. [JC]

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.