Where dreams go to dream

I’ve always been fascinated with fiction. Mainly science-fiction and epic fantasy (no, not leather-&-chickens type fantasy). Immersing myself in worlds different enough from mine that I could picture pissing some mystical buddy off there, but similar enough to know I could piss them off, has been a hobby of mine from the moment I knew what these squiggly lines all jammed together meant. I read…a lot. Or, at least I used to.

All talk of my childhood genius aside (which terminated in a skull-cracking drop from a Houdini-esque contraption in the garage that put me in the hospital for 2 weeks my freshman year in high school), I had a tendency to thoroughly embed myself in the stories I read. If I wasn’t the main character (or one of the more fascinating sidekicks), I was at least his silent conscience. Here’s a partial list of the people I wanted to be back then:

  • Bink (and later, his son Dor) from Piers Anthony’s Xanth series. Bink struggled with his nonentity status in a world of remarkable people, but later discovered he was more remarkable than the rest. While I don’t envy him his choice in wives (read “A Spell For Chameleon” to find out why), he certainly had an interesting life. His son, Dor, had the ability to speak to any inanimate object (you know, like anyone in a maximum security psych ward can), and was himself the object of intense interest from his land’s most intriguing young woman (watch, you’ll notice a trend in these).
  •  Stile, from another of Piers Anthony’s creations, The Apprentice Adept series. Stile was short in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose and wide of vision ($1 if you can guess that quote correctly without searching for it on the Internet). He was a voluntary serf in a technologically advanced world, and a burgeoning super-magician in the parallel world adjoining his. He was pursued in both worlds by the most beautiful and fascinating women (though, one was a robot and the other was a shape-shifting unicorn).
  • Garion in David Edding’s Belgariad Series. Most of Garion’s childhood was spent in obscurity, until it was discovered that he was actually a badass super-sorcerer with the destiny to save the world, defeat an evil god and marry the most beautiful human/dryad woman in the land (typical fare for us super-powerful wallflowers). Oh, and he would likely live forever, because he’s badass like that.
  • Pug in Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar Saga. Do I really need to go through this again? (sigh) A child born and raised in obscurity; longing for more; chaos ensues where he’s taken away and trained to be such a crazy-good sorcerer that it scares his trainers, and makes him the most eligible magician in two worlds (see what I mean about trends?).
  • And who could forget Bilbo Baggins? I mainly wanted his share of the riches so I could afford to train to be a badass and be the most eligible ninja-genius on my world.

Later, after I had spent some time trying to mature (unsuccessfully, of course), I moved on to role models like Michael Gallatin, Russian émigré
to the British Secret Service in Robert R. McCammon’s Wolf’s Hour, where this lone badass was expected to sneak into Hitler’s encampment and steal secret plans, then foil them in the larger tapestry of the story later. The twist? He was a werewolf. One who could control his change. Plus, he got all the beautiful women.

There were many other voyages into self-indulgent literary fantasies, but those stand out as the most prominent. When you’ve been exiled to your room for weeks on the trumped-up charge of “you did something“, you quickly learn to submerge yourself in your alternate realms for as long as your jailors will allow. It works the same for when you’ve missed the numerous warning signs that your partner is about to go Mortal Kombat on your ass because you just don’t know when to stop being an ass. Hello, “Apathy and Other Small Victories” (by Paul Neilan)…

Explore posts in the same categories: Reading

One Comment on “Where dreams go to dream”

  1. InaraSerra Says:

    I did the same sort of thing growing up! Although I was always Lessa or Menolly from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider series. Or Killashandra from her Crystal Singer series.

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