Monday, 15 February 2010
NEWSFLASH It's fiction - we make it up!
These young men were very careful not to lose face amongst their peers. When asked if they had read my book some said no, but later in the discussion one asked about a particular relationship in the story which showed that he had read it, despite his previous negative.
When I asked whether they thought the story was real or not the consensus was that it was real, it had happened (therefore had been worth reading). I tried to get them to see that if they couldn’t tell if it was real or not it must have been credible and wasn't that a good enough reason to read it? That fiction is worth the experience if it is credible and makes you believe in the story and the characters.
I doubt that these young men would admit to reading SF or fantasy although in their situation I know I would be looking for some way to disappear into a credible but fantastic place.
Recently I have been following a discussion about SF and fantasy and I was reminded of these young men and also how often I find myself defending SF and fantasy novels to people who consider them silly or those who say they can't read it because it's not REAL.
They have no problem with other kinds of fiction including historical fiction. No one I know has as yet been able to travel back to the past before their own birth, therefore even well researched fiction (and the clue is in the word) is still made up.
We are just as likely to extrapolate realistically the feelings, problems and experiences of people living with technology that has not (yet) been invented as we are able to imagine what was said or thought in any period of early history.
Often this is a genre that makes us look at humanity and our planet, and often makes some very real comments on our society and where it is going.
Whether a novel is about present day life as we know it, the past or some distant future or fantasy planet, in the end fiction is, well, fiction!
For all those who are still unsure about this, can I make it plain that we, the writers...
............. make it up!