I’ve been reading through a spate of biographies the last couple of days, and I have to tell you.
I am so glad to have my own life. Reading about other folks’ lives–the good parts as well as the bad–emphasises to me just how well-equipped I am for this particular life.
The biographies of rich people tell me about the pleasures of lots of money, but I tend to prefer to have lots of intensive time with my family and friends in my nice quiet space. All the money in the world would not recompense for being on an airplane 25 days a month and in meetings long past the fall of dark.
The biographies of famous movie and tv people convince me even more that I could really only stand two years of Junior High, and am not cut out for a lifetime of getting paid for it.
So yeah. My life has its particular–challenges? circumstances?–sure. But it’s also got so much wonderfulness it’d choke a pig. I am so overwhelmingly loved by husband, fur-kids, siblings. I have beautiful morning glories climbing the lattice next to my porch swing, entertwining with the honeysuckle. I have a Kindle with 800 books on it. I have an iPhone that takes great pictures of my kids and packs a near-endless supply of Meat Loaf and Jethro Tull.
So seriously. No bitching from me today.
Except about this one thing. (You know that a little bitchin’ about fiction is like candy to me, right? Hmmmm. Shame I can’t rename this blog to Bitchin’ ’bout Fiction. That’d be cool. But it’d pin me into a corner. Anyway)
Bitchin’ ’bout Fiction
Folks, let’s talk about the two most over-used story devices in the last five years and how sick I am of them. They are Time Travel and Alternate Universes. As much as I enjoy dabbling in the world of Quantum Physics, I have to say that fiction authors have just beat the flesh off these ponies, and are still trying to whack at the sun-calcified bones.
It bothers me because it’s just a way to tell a story and then un-tell it. I can think of a few instances where it has been done well. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban works, as does, oddly enough, the TV series Fringe.
But so many writers, especially in Sci Fi, are using these two devices to Retcon (provide retroactive continuity) themselves into stasis. This rant comes about because last night we finally finshed the last of Stargate SG-1, and I lost count trying to come up with the number of storylines where characters fall in love, marry, turn evil, die, whatever…only to have it be the “alternate universe” version or all be undone when some gizmo takes the crew through time. Ugh.
I know how hard it is to write an ending. I’ve been trying to do just that for a long time now. But an ending that says “forget all the time you invested in these characters, we’re putting everything back just as it ever was” is a jerk move.