Welcome back to day 4 of ArmchairBEA! Hopefully you’ve been following along (if not check out the official ArmchairBEA website or my tag #ABEA2K16 to learn more). While over in Chicago BEA is over and BookCon is upon us those of us enjoying things virtually still have a load to talk about!
Today’s topic is “surviving fictional worlds” and there’s a bonus giveaway at the end if you think you’re up for it!
We all know that sometimes, the worlds we love in fiction can be dangerous. Which fictional worlds would you want to live in? Which worlds do you never want to dive into? Which worlds are you content to stay behind the glass, so to speak, rather than wishing to dive through the page? And once you get there, what would you do?
The worlds I’d like to live in…okay this is a loaded question. Portal Fantasies have always been my favorite kind of fantasy. Oh don’t believe me? Okay here’s a list of the ones I’m staring at on my shelves right now:
- The Secret Country books by Pamela Dean
- Tredana Trilogy by Joyce Ballou Gregorian
- Log Horizon light novel series
- Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
- Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg
- Heroes of Zara Keep by Guy Gregory
- The Fionavar Tapestry books by Guy Gavriel Kay
- Secret of the Unicorn Queen series
- Twelve Kingdoms light novel series by Fuyumi Ono
- Mode quartet by Piers Anthony
- Phoenix Chosen by Ekaterine Xia
- Touchstone books by Andrea K. Host
And then there’s my manga/anime series:
- From Far Away by Kyoko Hikawa
- Red River by Chie Shinohara
- Ouke no Monshou by Chieko Hosokawa
- Legend of Arata by Yuu Watase
- Fushigi Yugi by Yuu Watase
- Fushigi Yugi: Genbu Gaiden by Yuu Watase
- El Hazard (the Magnificent World and The Wanderers)
- Magic Knight RayEarth by CLAMP
- Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles by CLAMP (technically since they jump to different worlds)
- Digimon (every single series)
- .hack//Sign (technically again since Tsukasa is “stuck” in the online world)
- Planet Ladder by Yuri Narushima
- Bride of the Water God by Mi-Kyung Yun
- Saver by Eun-Young Lee
What I’m trying to say is its my thing. I’ve probably pondered this far longer then is rationally healthy. I was the girl who, at fifteen years old, pined away for the chance that I’d turn out to be an alien or alternate dimension princess stashed away on Earth to protect me.
I’ve thought about finding myself in Pern and being impressing a green dragon, becoming a legend and leading Pern into a golden age. I’ve wondered if I could become a Herald of Valdemar and serve a glorious queen with my trusty telepathic horse by my side (note: I dislike and am actively terrified of horses). At 11, when I first found the “Secret of the Unicorn Queen” books I was convinced if I hung around the lab of the crazy science teacher I’d stumble through a portal and bond with a unicorn.
As I got older I began to think about what it would be like if I was in any fictional world. If I existed in the Marvel or DC universes what powers would I have? Would I even have powers? If I was a citizen of Shadyside (the fictional town home to Fear Street) would I be as stupid as these people were? Could I survive Sunnydale and its supernatural infestation problems?
After reading From Far Away and Red River I also fretted about what it would mean – could I leave my family and friends (and modern conveniences) to live out in a fantasy (or ancient) land? Would they understand? If I could never tell them how I was–that it was my choice and I was happy, would they fruitlessly search for me? Would they accept my decision or blame themselves?
I’ve always wanted to be the Hero(ine) of my own story. Always wanted to be the savior, the one who is prophesied, who gets the job done despite being terrified and uncertain. That all of my insecurities and awkwardness and inability to relate to those around me was because I didn’t really belong. Some days its the only thing that got me through the day. Its a dangerous slope though. Once you start thinking “If only I was somewhere else, I could be better” its hard to come back. Its hard to feel that what you’re doing here, right now no matter how much you mess up, really matters.
Short of finding a magical portal I can’t really apply this lesson to life. Oh you have a hot tip about a magic portal out in Brooklyn? SORRY EXCUSE ME I’LL BE RIGHT THERE.
Conclusion (and giveaway!):
In the end all I can say is this: enjoy where you are and enjoy the idea of being somewhere else, but don’t’ let it control your life.
To that end…see my list up there of portal fantasy books? I’ll choose a random commentor to win their choice of one of the books (e-book or print) or maybe one you’ve long had your eye on- s’long as Amazon or the Book Depository ships to you. Open until Monday May 16th, 11am EST.