Saturday, March 17, 2018

Does fiction tell lies?

My older brother told me that writing stories was the same as telling lies. I was a pretty useless liar at the time, but convinced I was good at telling stories - after all, even said older brother liked my stories some of the time. Having been taught that telling lies is wrong, I struggled for a while to convince myself that telling stories was different. Eventually I concluded it's only a lie if it's intended to deceive. Otherwise it's fictional entertainment (books) or kindness (those gentle untruths that avoid causing pain or giving offense). Meanwhile I continued to read voraciously, never even beginning to imagine that those other writers were "telling lies." After all, they were adults and adults never sin. (Such was my youthful innocence!)

The worlds and/or characters of fantasy and science fiction are far enough from our own there can't be any intent to deceive - though sometimes, in urban fantasy perhaps, they're close enough to our own that the reader might dream... I wonder if I could have a superpower... if I could fly... Not that I'll try. Anyway, find some coffee and see what you think of the worlds these enjoyable reads portray. I shall remain, forever, a book addict, and that's no lie.

The world of The Alchemical Detective by Kirsten Weiss revolves around some very real locations, specifically Lake Tahoe in this second book of the series. The characters have real lives besides occasional powers. The ghosts want to be seen. The psychic doesn't want to be killed. And there's more to it all than meets the eye. Enjoy with some well-balanced full-flavored three-star coffee.

Part one of April Lynn Newell's The Overcome Trilogy, The Reconciling, starts off in a very real world too, where a young women wears gloves for a very surprising reason. Secrets in the Book lead her to a rather different place, and the story's short, intriguing, and enjoyably spiritual. Read with some well-balanced full-flavoried three-star coffee.

Thunder Horizon by Stephen Zimmer, is set in a far different place, but one intriguingly informed by real-world mythology. Complex well-wrought cultures (not all of them human), well-imagined heroes and monsters, and a cool sense of Rome vs. the Barbarian hordes make this an intense exciting read, and a good standalone novel, even though it's book two in a series. Enjoy with some dark, intense five-star coffee.

I'm not sure A Day In The Life by Theodore Ficklestein quite fits in this list. Male protagonist instead of female, read world instead of imaginary, comedy instead of fantastical terror and war... but it's a coming of age novel, it's oddly dystopian in perspective, and it's filled with story piled on story on story and more as in wannabe comedian protagonist offers a sarcastic monologue on everything he sees. Enjoy this one with some seriously intense five-star coffee.

And that, of course, is where A Day In the Life does fit in. Does fiction tell lies? Does sarcasm tell lies? Does exaggeration...? I learned to be brave and disagree with my brother. And I'm still writing stories (and reading them!). Hope you are too.

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