Don’t tell anyone this… but when I was a teenager I was very VERY into reading fantasy-genre-ed books. You know, the kind of books with incredible pictures on the cover (often including shiny stuff and semi-popup people), maps on the first 14 pages and of course every second character having an unpronounceable name, with bonus points for weird accents on letters.
I don’t know why I liked them so much. I got an early start when I was seven and I was presented with a copy of The Lord of the Rings. I could barely lift it with one hand. After using it to press flowers and keep the door open and block the space under my bed to avoid evil clowns from crawling in there, I read it about a year later and kind of enjoyed it. I liked the Hobbit better, and it was years before I figured out that my main problem with it was that I’d tried to read all 550 pages of the introduction. I was eight, I wanted swords and weird spells and people falling down cliffs*. I also figured out the handy trick to reading it – if you see something formatted as song lyrics or poetry, skip three pages and you’ll be at the re-commencement of the actual storyline. Works like a charm!
Thinking back on it as I sat on a rock today, waiting for the drizzle to stop in the hope of a cold and miserable reptile emerging, I thought about al of the things that I like about it. I mean logically, living somewhere with no technology (as we would define it) has to be horrible. I can’t go for more than half an hour without checking my email (and that’s on a good day), plus people didn’t really do the whole showering thing often before the introduction of indoor plumbing. Speaking of indoor plumbing – I remember being in the world’s smallest town one December while hunting mole-rats and i needed a bathroom and there was a longdrop at the church and… I’m shuddering at the memory**. Imagine doing that all the time!
Not to mention my inner feminist freaking out at the way women were treated back in the day (although you can always pick a book where the girl saves the day – although she invariably had to dress up as a guy to get away with saving the world).
On the plus side there’s usually magic – a more substantial than the pick-a-card magic we get in the real world. Although that’s a bit unfair because there’s never a case where everyone has it – I guess otherwise it would be mundane and not worth writing a multi-part series on.
Would you like to live in a fantasy world? I get the feeling that it’s a good idea, but might be a little less fun in practise.
*kind of like my life now, but with added magic.
**in the desert there are no sizeable trees or bushes (unless you count the ones at the cemetery. Kind of disturbing how well the trees grow around the graves…).