Arcologies and Megadungeons
I went down to Portland last weekend with the family and was lucky to find a real gem at Powell's Books: Paolo Soleri's Arcology.
Soleri pretty much coined the idea of arcologies, gigantic self-contained cities that fulfill the material and spiritual needs of their citizens. The book includes many gorgeous drawings of prospective Solerie Acrologies.
Soleri's diagrams are full of little notations like "city center", "light well", or "neighborhood", as though they were real blueprints, and not speculative drawings. The closer you look, the more detail you see; all these little shapes and diagrams that start to look like stadiums, parks, discotheques, and comfortable homes. You start to feel like this is a real place.
These put me in mind of fantasy maps, like megadungeons or megacities like Ptolus or The City of Lankhmar. I can't help but try to imagine these cities as megadungoeons. Can you imagine the Mutant Future or Metamorphosis Alpha campaign you could set in one of these?
These Arcologies are a lot like the best of fantasy maps: they put you in a magical place, they express certain ideas as an imagined place, and they apply a lot of the mapmakers art to the presentation. Actually, I think these are a lot better than fantasy maps. I can only think of 1 or 2 maps that come up to this level. This kind of art really raises the bar for fantasy art, and in a good way. I'm starting to imagine a megadungeon map that works on this scale and in this style.