As a member of the Fiction 500
, you own an awesomely cool car
, and a garage
to keep them in, but where do you get your mail delivered? Where do you hang out when not on amazing adventures? A Big Fancy House
? No, too normal. It must be a Cool House
To be a Cool House
, the standard suburban
mansion or Big Fancy House
just doesn't cut it. The Cool House
is Wish Fulfillment
in real estate form. It might look like an ordinary home or something that wouldn't normally be used as a house, but in either case the briefest of tours of its features will reveal that it is no ordinary home.
To qualify for Cool House
status a dwelling should be sufficiently unique that any "normal" person aware of its full capabilities would be either in awe, concerned about the owner or designer's sanity, or concerned lest the house fall into the wrong hands. Thankfully Cool Houses
are often protected by a Weirdness Censor
In addition, it should have at least several
of the following:
- Features that no sane, mundane person would expect to have in their home.
- A security system better than most banks.
- The basement is actually an Elaborate Underground Base.
- Secret passages, fireman poles, concealed helipad.
- An architectural style that may make the home unique in the world.
- Home theater that actually looks like a small public movie theater, complete with ticket counter.
- Phone booth, bowling alley, indoor swimming pool/hot tub, "unusual" art, an astronomical observatory with rotating dome, etc.
- The house is the only Big Fancy House in a Stepford Suburbia city.
- A feature that no mundane person would be ABLE to have in their home.
- Alien tech.
- Magic portals.
- An object that is unique in the world, illegal for others to own, etc.
- A physical Weirdness Censor.
- Surrounded by a yard with grass, trees, pool, etc., in a location where construction or normal survival would be impossible, for example, at the north pole, inside a volcano, on top of Mount Everest, etc.
Not to be confused with a popular television doctor
Examples, from least cool to coolest:
A house that looks completely ordinary, but is actually heavily automated, often resulting in trouble
Anime and Manga
A house that looks completely ordinary, but hides such features as the roof pivots on a hinge to release an airship larger than the house, or some other equally unlikely thing
- SARAH from Eureka (as normal looking as any underground bunker/house can look).
A house that looks spooky or odd, presumably the home of an eccentric at best. When you enter, you realize that the exterior of the house is the most normal thing about it
- Skeeve's flat on Deva (Myth Adventures) looks like a small tent on the outside, but the inside is in a slightly different dimension, and is much bigger. Of course, he has vampires living in his back yard, so that's a little less cool.
A Big Fancy House that is really a front for an Elaborate Underground Base, PLUS it has additional gadgets
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Doctor Ka's mansion in New Orleans bears a striking resemblance to the Winchester Mansion. And for the same reason.
- Wayne Manor.
- Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Which is actually an extremely upgraded mansion. Whenever the student body gets too large, two extra mansions are added on the grounds.
- Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum. Ordinary New York brownstone on the outside; base of operations for a very busy wizard and his assistant on the inside.. plus it may be alive.
- Dr. Morbius' house in Forbidden Planet.
- In Help!, The Beatles have a variation on this; they appear to live next door to each other in four rather humble houses on a terraced estate, but it's revealed that the interior walls have been knocked down to make it one large mansion inside with separate 'designated' areas full of cool stuff inside.
- In Ex Machina, Nathan's home looks like a few wooden buildings from the outside, but it's largely a spacious subterranean compound. Nathan describes his home as being primarily a research laboratory, but it has all the comforts of a futuristic mansion. There is an elaborate security system and a huge amount of advanced technology in the labs. He also owns the vast tracts of pristine forests and mountains around it, such that two hours of the helicopter ride are spent flying over them.
A house that doesn't even look like a house, but it sure is cool
- First-time visitors to the Dominator's island may think it's just a mirrored-steel Big Fancy House with lasers on top. There's a weapon embedded in every wall, jets hidden under the grass outside, and an elevator that goes down to a massive basement with its own pool, video arcade, library, enormous warehouse of weapons...
- In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Sonic and Tails live in a re-purposed airplane. With train cars and what looks like a satellite dish for a roof.
- The Aerie, the Colorado cabin in Aunt Dimity Goes West, is one of these. It seems to have grown organically from the mountainside, and it features a variety of decks and windows in many shapes (including portholes and stars). The place also has a variety of luxuries (a massive indoor play fort in the boys' bedroom suite, sauna, hot tub, arcade game room, home theatre, library, outdoor firepit, indoor fireplaces, and so on). One of the characters calls it the owner's treehouse, explicitly stating that he was forbidden a treehouse while growing up and used his wealth as an adult to live the dream. The local pastor's wife comes for a visit and is visibly impressed with the place from the moment she enters.
- Jasper Fforde's Sergeant Mary Mary lives in a re-purposed plane, specifically a Short S.25 Sunderland, a British flying boat patrol bomber. Thursday Next lives there while in hiding during her first pregnancy, and the location also features in one of the Nursery Crimes books.
- The TARDIS on Doctor Who, the ultimate mobile home.
A house with most (if not all) of the above
Anime and Manga
- The house Marvin (John Malkovich's character) in the film version of Red has certainly qualified. The house you see is a front. The real house is entered through the broken down trunk of a car. It has no electronics or phone; Marvin is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who is almost always 'right' about his conspiracy theories. Inside is a full house, including an old-style safe vault with all the secrets he's collected.
- Artemis Fowl's home. He has any technology you can imagine, awesome visitors, and it's basically a friggin' castle. A wine cellar, a holding room, and a room dedicated to watching news. Here's one of the elevator things. Fowl Manor = Win.
- Nanaki's house in the Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note novel The Youkai Computer Knows to the point it looks quite jarringly fantastic for a premise within realistic Greater Tokyo backdrop. Not only Nanaki uses his AI skills to manage a Big Fancy House while in the state of Minor Living Alone, including driverless cars, robotic servants, and large numbers of sensors to reporting literally everything in the house (to the point of precision agriculture). It's also self-sufficient in terms of food production, involving a fish farm and what the novel refers as miniature farm animals. On top of it it's egg-shaped, highly unusual in Japan where strict building codes mean most houses are pre-fab.
- Tomahna is revealed to be this in Myst IV: Revelation, while only hinted at in Myst III: Exile. They even have an elevator. Bonus points for it being written into Earth by its patriarch, Atrus, your friend and Mr. Exposition from the first games.
- Repellista Zahard's floating castle with the Opera light house from Tower of God.