Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fictional Preoccupations

I spend a lot of time considering what I like, why I like it, and how I can best compile the things I like into definitive lists to which I may refer whenever anyone even hints they might be interested. Consequently, I’ve got Favourites lists for everything: literary characters, TV shows, novels, comics, things I’ve learned from the CW, and so on and so forth.

I am Very Serious about these lists. Some of them are downright life-defining.

Foremost among these life-defining offerings is my list of Stuff I Especially Love In Fiction. It contains, in no particular order:

  • Random siblings. Half-siblings are best, but any sibling who pops up with minimal foreshadowing is story gold. Random siblings fuck everything up for everyone involved. They make characters question their entire existence and cause heaps of tension as everyone comes to terms with years upon years of lies. It’s the best.

  • Explosions. I’m not okay with real life explosions unless they happen under controlled circumstances (like fireworks! Or licensed demolitions!), but I’m always so disappointed when a story ends without anyone having blown anything up. Explosions show to best effect in movies and TV shows, of course, but I won’t say no to a literary explosion or two.

  • Space battles. Intimately connected to explosions, of course--except space explosions are silent, and all the more impressive/terrifying for it. Plus everyone flies pell-mell through the blackness of space screaming things over their coms, which is tense and entertaining and potentially heartwrenching.

  • Killer robots. I would never, ever want to meet a killer robot, but they’re creepy as all hell and that makes me love ‘em in fiction. More chilling, murderous robots who may or may not develop sentience throughout the course of the story, please.

  • People who can shoot fiery bolts out of their fingers. This might not be the world’s most useful skill, but it’s certainly the best. Given the opportunity, I would shoot so many fiery bolts out of my fingers. So. Many.

  • Daring rescues. I often forget to include this one because it feels a bit like saying I enjoy breathing. Of course I love daring rescues. They are intense. And daring. And liable to put everyone in extreme danger. Ain't nothin' bad about a daring rescue.

  • Evil twins. Evil twins are an even better wrench in the works than random siblings. No self-respecting evil twin even considers exiting the narrative without leaving a trail of broken lives in their wake. They live to fuck shit up, and they're bloody amazing at it.

I gauge favoured texts by how many of these boxes they check. This one has everything except space battles; that one’s also missing fiery bolt-slingers. The hot new movie would be perfect if only a few more explosions made it into the final cut.

And recent events led me to realize these fictional preoccupations didn’t just wander into my psyche over time. When I was eight years old, a movie crashed into my life and served up every last one of them except evil twins (because alas, nothing is perfect).

You know the one. It’s about that guy who daringly rescues his random sister before he fights an explosive space battle in which some of his opponents are killer robots (and dudes with robotic body parts). And having completed this daring rescue (which, okay, his random sister mostly pulled off herself because she’s that much of a badass and her random brother is kind of a clueless git) and had a bunch more space adventures (including more battles and more explosions and even more killer robot showdowns), he goes on to face an evil dude who can shoot fiery (well, electricy) bolts out of his fingers.

Thanks, Star Wars. You basically made me who I am.


  1. DID YOU SEE THE CHINESE TRAILER FOR NEW STAR WARS? Wait, are you excited for new Star Wars? You are, right? The Chinese trailer has a bunch of new stuff and per uzhe in that trailer, I had a heart attack the second the Millennium Falcon showed up. Lovely, lovely Millennium Falcon.

    1. ARGH I MUST SEE THIS TRAILER. I am SO excited for the movie. SO excited. Like, I'm going mostly dark on Twitter until Tuesday because I probably can't see it until then and I don't want to stumble across any accidental spoilers. I'M THAT EXCITED.