Monday, January 28, 2013

A line between fantasy and reality

My older brother, aged ten at the time, informed me in superior tones that telling stories was the same as telling lies. It's true, I suppose. When I tell a story I'm telling about something that never happened to people who never existed. But I don't expect anyone to believe me--I want to make it sound real, not be real--I'm after that willing suspension of disbelief that lets the reader enjoy the experience. Maybe "willing" is the word that makes it not really "lying."

Of course, I challenged big brother eventually and asked if watching TV shows made the producer, the actors or the watchers into liars. And what are you when you talk about a show? (Did you watch Downton Abbey last week? Why didn't the expert doctor see the signs? Am I indulging in a lie by wondering?)

Fantasy stories can't count as lies--not in my brother's eyes--since no-one ever expects to believe them. But action adventure's not very real either--just fun... And what about memoir? What about a book that bills itself as a blueprint for success? Now that's one I'm definitely eying with suspicion...

Anyway, my brother and I grew up and we're still good friends. Big brother doesn't read fiction and I read tons, so perhaps I got all his reading genes, or all his lying ones.

This week I read lots of books in between editing, meeting friends, drinking coffee, cleaning, shopping... I should have done more editing. Perhaps more coffee would help.

Two Easter books (reviewed yesterday) are E. G. Lewis' In Three Days, and Lee Harmon's John's Gospel. Enjoy either of both of these with elegant 4-star cups of coffee, and look for some excellent research, lots of fascinating facts, and no lies (though some definitely intriguing fiction in Lee Harmon's retelling of history)!

Two fantasy stories are Time Sniffers, by C. S. Lakin, and Roots of Insight by Breeana Puttroff. Time Sniffers wins for me--it has dogs! And these dogs sniff out rifts in time, while a teen protagonist tries to rescue her mother, trapped in an exploding laboratory where the world is about to end. Enjoy with a well-balanced 3-star coffee as great dialog, enjoyable humor, and intriguing science (plus a bit of romance) all balance on the edge of well-chosen words.

Roots of Insight comes second in the Dusk Gate Chronicles, and readers should probably start with volume one since there are a lot of characters and interesting relationships between them. In this book, Quinn struggles with her feelings for secretive William, wild Thomas, and the boy next door. But will her affections remain in the real world on in the strange place across the magic bridge. And how will she hide her increasingly long absences from the people who love her? Enjoy with a 5-star bold intense cup of coffee as the danger grows.

Back in the real world, Tina Munroe has bad guys to catch in Vendetta, (a Tina Munroe mystery) by Nancy A. Niles. Set in and around Vegas, it pits a feisty young PI against a murderer who warns his victims, kidnaps their loved ones, then kills everyone in sight. The action's well-balanced with some truly intriguing characters, fun dialog and TV-movie excitement. Enjoy with a well-balanced full-flavored 3-star cup of coffee.

Meanwhile, Melissa Foster's Traces of Kara, coming soon, takes a much more ordinary young woman into kidnap, mystery and terror as she comes to terms with the secrets of her past. A 5-star dark intense coffee will go well with this dark intense tale.

Finally there's 17 cents and a dream, by Daniel Milstein, a short book describing the author's journey from the aftermath of Chernobyl to the American Dream, via the American nightmare. Billed as a blueprint for success, it's saved by the personal touch and occasional honest reminders that good luck and kind friends played a major part. Drink several cups of mild crisp 1-star coffee with this easy-reading memoir.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that the term "fiction" should mean "fantasy", because all fiction is just a lie, in a sense; I mean "fantasy" in the fact that it's not real, not the genre, which is another thing. Even if you base it off of real events, the story isn't real. If it's a memoir, then it's part of a real person's life, and if it's non-fiction, it has facts supporting it, or is at least an opinion on a real thing.

I read fiction to have fun, not to believe what I'm reading. :)