Time travel wrinkles my brain. How’s that for a topic sentence?
It’s a favourite device in science fiction (and fantasy) because let’s face it, if you had the opportunity to traverse history, would you turn it down? Haven’t you always wanted to wander around your favourite past era, sit in on a world-changing event, or go the other way and see what the world will be like in 300 years when the apocalypse has hit or whether or not you get married and end up having a little Jetsons-esque family?
Time travel can create endless fun and endless stories (how do you think Doctor Who’s managed to stay on air for 50 years? All of time and space = literally endless plot possibilities) but like most super fun high-tech things it comes with a long and arduous warning label and a set of curly rules. It doesn’t help that these seem to differ depending on the method used and the story it’s used within. For example, one story world may deem travelling to the past completely fine since it’s all already happened and time is fixed in a straight line, and some may warn against it with giant flashing lights because simply by setting foot in an era you haven’t yet been born into, you’ve altered history as we know it.
When traversing the time streams one must be dutiful not to step on any butterflies, alter any significant moments in history or, say, get hit by a car and prevent one’s own parents from meeting thus erasing your own existence. This should all be fairly straight forward, but it’s surprising how often heroes manage to screw it up. What then? Well, maybe you could go back in time again and stop yourself from messing up… Continue reading
A strange epidemic that rages through the world of media and fiction alongside sequelitis, Second Book Syndrome is a bizarre phenomenon the plagues many a series. Have you ever read a series or trilogy and found that, despite the greatness of the first book and perhaps the third and onwards, the second one was really not that sharp?
The Harry Potter books, for example, are sort of universally agreed to have taken a bit of a dip in The Chamber of Secrets (not that it deterred any fans as the other five books kept coming out and selling like, well, fun fantasy adventures about teenage wizards), discussions with peers and the analytical sharp tongue of Mark have revealed that Catching Fire was a bit of a disappointment after the pull of The Hunger Games, I completely lost the energy to read The Ask and the Answer despite how incredible and gripping its predecessor The Knife of Never Letting Go had been, A Clash of Kings seemed harder to chew through than the radiance of A Game of Thrones and A Storm of Swords…
What is going on here?
I’ve been racking my brain for reasons behind this outbreak (which is by no means a new phenomenon, of course, but it is the age wherein it can be pondered on the Intertubes by writers who have little better to do with their spare time than come up with witticisms and shout at fictional characters), and I have thought of some potential causes: Continue reading
I went to see The Hobbit recently, or rather, The Hobbit Part One: An Unexpected Journey, which takes much longer to type and is rather pointless when people know what you mean anyway. It was enjoyable enough as a rollicking little family fantasy adventure, and I left the cinema glowing from the short bursts of nostalgia it had delivered. And, of course, wondering when the next part was going to come out.
Where the dragons at?
The Hobbit is going to be split into three movies. Even after watching the first one and acknowledging that it would have felt painful and rushed had they crammed the entire book into one film (as my writing buddy and Supplier of Fun Facts tells me, a completely unabridged feature film of the average 50 000 word novel would go for around six hours), I thought that inducing mitosis on the films was a bit ambitious.
But then I remembered that the film culture we have at current is one that expects three billion sequels for everything anyway. Continue reading
Sometimes books are a niche interest, but there are some that everyone has heard of: and at the moment those that have achieved this success of world-renown-ment are Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Twilight… which funnily enough are all series aimed at the young adult market.
Some may ponder this most academically: why have these teen books become so hugely successful? Some others may fling the obvious answer back at them: they are engrossing stories that have captured the attention and imagination of an audience, an audience that extends well beyond the interest in struggles of teenagers stuck in fantasy or sci-fi settings.
There is in fact a large market for adolescent literature because, contrary to some belief, teenagers aren’t all spending their time popping shots and getting freaky and doing totally radical ollies in the skate park and they do read. And when they do read, they seek out stories that they can see themselves reflected in and relate to.
Those crazed youth. Just look at them!
There’s just something infinitely interesting about evil.
Heroes are all well and good, but let’s face it, if they are merely heroes (and not anti-heroes existing in a story of skewed morality or reformed villains themselves) their one layer of goodie goodness can appear a bit flat. They may be the most lovable, honourable character to ever set foot upon a page, but that doesn’t make them intriguing. Also, the story will often be told either from their own perspective or centring around their workings. The bad guy looms on the edge as a menacing shadow. They’re a mystery.
And people love mysteries.
Like, why is this guy such an asshole? Was he/she made this way by some trauma of their childhood? Or is he/she merely inherently evil? What inspired them to want to take over the universe and/or cause the general unhappiness of other people? Or are they just an unthinking agent of chaos? Or perhaps an Eldritch Abomination?