The Mark of a Modern Classic

The mark of a modern classic is a storyline handled with such originality that it cannot be imitated. Like Lord of the Flies or The Last Unicorn, The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality is in a class by itself; it is one of a kind. In content, it is shaped like many fantasy books in a modern setting: the small kingdom, set aside in time and space, is archaic in appearance, containing a castle, a monastery, transportation entirely by horses and cart, without any machines, technology, or mechanical contrivances; it is nevertheless set in the present day. The characters are archetypical as king, knight, bishop, yet they are modern classic characters with modern backgrounds in modern times before their transportation to a modern classic kingdom.

The classic modern view further contains values which normal genre fiction often ignores, such as kindness, fairness, loyalty, chivalrousness, honesty, and concern for the preservation of one’s honor, one’s word, one’s reputation in a bucolic setting outside the anonymity of urban life. The modern classic character of necessity sees himself in the eyes of others because his environment is small and self-contained. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and the consequences of the failure of his reputation are immediate, rather than delayed or non-existent in the urban, or national, or even global setting. The classic virtues of reputation and honor, the infallibility of one’s word has consequences in commerce, personal affairs, family union expressed in marriages and contracts. What is known to one in the classic bucolic environment is known to all. In a situation of high geographic mobility, such considerations are minimized, particularly in the early modern period when personal identification was difficult. A simple name change created a new persona whose previous faults were erased and who could begin again without reference to his past, where as a modern person can be identified in many ways.