I now know that the place I sensed just outside of my sight was the imagination. I knew it then, but I didn't have the words for it. Barsoom, the Hyborian Age and Earthsea weren't places I could drive to, I knew. Still, I had the sense that they were real, by some measure of reality that was different than the way in which my house and my dog were real. There was resonance there. Things in the stories touched on things in life. Conan’s thrill at combat and adventure was as real as the feeling I got running, jumping, and hitting other boys on the football field. When Heinlein’s characters expounded on human society and the value of the individual, it reflected the things I was noticing about life as a geek in high school.
The reality of the stories lived (or, in some cases, died) with that resonance. Stories with that resonance were true, even if they never happened. Characters with that resonance were real, though they’d never lived. They’re phantasms that live by borrowing from the experiences of their readers. It’s not just elegy, though. Good stories aren’t just pushing the buttons of memory. The good stories, the great ones, take that borrowed reality and extend it beyond the immediate resonance and into the things that never happened and never could.
That’s what really fascinates me about stories, when they take just a few borrowings and use them to empower whole worlds. Some of it’s craft; knowing what words to choose and how to string them into a line and make them dance. Some of it’s art; finding the right feelings and the right volume and being able to bleed onto the page in just exactly the right way. I love it all, and want to show you my favorite bits.
I’ll be writing reviews of the things I like, and some of the things I don’t, with an eye to what I’ve learned about storytelling from each. One thing in particular I want to explore is why some adaptations fail and others succeed, and why some aren’t really adaptations at all.
Be warned, there will be active links to the TV Tropes Wiki. I accept no responsibility for time lost there.
I’ll be going on about Doctor Who and why I love it, even when I don’t. Some of these entries will explore my conflicted relationship with super hero comics, where my inner 15 year old fanboy and my not-so-inner middle-aged cynic will debate the merits of spandex and super powers for your amusement.
Horror, as a genre, will get special attention. I’ve loved it since I was 9 or 10, when the local broadcast station’s Saturday afternoon creature feature show was my favorite father and son event. There will be digressions into other genres, of course, but we’ll always meander back to the scary place.
Stay tuned. I’ll make it worth your while.