Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Far-fetched fiction?

I am never going to win one of those "powerball" lotteries. Primarily because I don't play lotteries. But even if someone bought me a ticket and thrust it into my hand, I wouldn't win, because ordinary people like me don't win those things.

Wait a minute. Yes, they do. All right, let's just say that my chances of winning are miniscule.

Just because something isn't likely to happen doesn't mean it can't happen. Yet we often hold "realistic" fiction to a standard that even real life doesn't always maintain. "Impossible" things happen every day. So what's wrong with the occasional coincidence or unlikely event in a novel?

I remember when Christopher Reeves first played Superman. The movie's ad was simple and powerful: "You will believe a man can fly." The acting, drama, and special effects combined forces to deliver on that promise, and for about two hours, I did believe it. Didn't everyone?

"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

--Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll.

How much rein do you allow your credulity when you're holding a novel in your hands? I am talking, of course, about "realistic" fiction. Which authors and books have made you believe impossible things?


ParkAvePirate said...

I believe I am a sucker when it comes to readi they want me to. If the writing is good and consistent there is no time for me to question or doubt the content. I am more critical when it comes to Non-Fiction book ng books. I normally have no trouble getting sucked into the books and believing whatever s but that’s the cynic in me.


Winter said...

I've seen the impossible happen too many times to question an author's take on it. The "you've gotta be kiddin' me" side does like to take control now and then and think the author was nuts to think it could happen. But, if the book is good I'll give them tbe benefit.

After all, God does impossible things every day.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

quite a few years ago, I read a Tom Clancy book where they ran a plane into the capitol building....my first reaction was...yea, right!

I've learned to suspend that incredulity and just read to be entertained!

Anastasia said...

That is a beautiful quote from Alice in Wonderland. Maybe if we let ourselves believe more in things that seem impossible, we might find that there is more to 'reality' than we first thought...