While my tastes range all over the map and I’ll pretty much try anything once, there are certain kinds of stories that hold a particularly magnetic draw for me, certain tropes that hit all my buttons when they pop up in something I’m reading or watching. My biggest fiction fetish, I think, is anything involving subjective reality, parallel universes, pocket dimensions, doppelgangers, and the symbiosis between them. Almost all of my favorite fandoms tend to invoke these tropes in one way or another. My favorite works examining these themes include:
The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende. This book, and the 1984 film inspired by it, are pretty much responsible for my passion for this subgenre of speculative fiction. If you’ve only ever seen the movie, I highly encourage you to track down the novel and give it a read. There’s a lot more to it, and it’s an amazingly sophisticated read for something generally considered “children’s” fiction. One of my very earliest favorites.
The Dark Tower series, by Stephen King. I love this series to death (even if the last two books kind of drop the ball…). The surreal post-apocalyptic landscape of All-World, the way ALL dimensions are directly affected by one another, the way patterns repeat themselves in ways both large and small between the worlds, the “nakama”/soulmate camaraderie between the main characters…this one hits ALL my buttons. Genre mashups are another fiction fetish of mine, and this series is one of the world’s great examples thereof, twisting together spaghetti westerns, Arthurian legend, Tolkienesque quest fantasy, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptica, and Lovecraftian cosmic horror into a glorious thirty-car pileup of a hybrid. Even if you’re not into his other works, I highly reccommend it. Well worth the effort.
The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub. Tangentially related to the Dark Tower series, though it stands perfectly fine on its own, this is probably one of my favorite fantasy novels of all time. The fact that it gets virtually no love makes me a sad panda. Funny and creepy and heartwarming and fascinating by turns, with a tight focus on the symbiosis between the two worlds involved and lots of delicious study into what it might mean to have a doppelganger in a parallel universe…or to not have one.
Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. I’m sure most of you on Tumblr are aware of what a fucking genius Neil Gaiman is. This was the first story of his I ever read, and I want to draw hearts all over it. The look at a quirky little parallel pocket reality “below” London proper, populated by people who have “fallen through the cracks”, is fascinating, and the cast of characters is stellar. Read this book. (Then go out and read all his other books, too.)
Revolutionary Girl Utena, an anime television series by Chiho Saito and Kunihiko Ikuhara. Yet another of my related fiction fetishes is the “Ontological Mystery”: the characters are trapped somewhere, with no idea how they got there, why, or who’s responsible, and must brave any number of obstacles in order to figure it all out and escape. This show takes that trope and puts a loose, surreal spin on it, adds a heavy serving of psychological horror and fetish fuel of all kinds, and cloaks it in the seemingly unassuming guise of a “magical girl” genre show.
And of course, it goes without saying that these tropes are a biiig part of what attracted me to the Tron fandom. Sure, on the surface they’re a couple of goofy action movies about talking software, but underneath…so much fascinating food for thought. What is “reality”? Sentience/sapience? What are our responsibilities for the things we create? What effects could they have on our lives and reality? Not to mention all that delicious doppelganger drama…
So, now that I’ve gone and written a novel of my own, here…what are your fiction fetishes, Tumblr friends? (I’m always dying for new reccommendations!)
Art by Morganagod on DeviantArt.