How Real Is Reality?

A modern myth - which is a fable that doesn’t include all the old gods and creation stories in what is broadly classified as mythology - is simply an imaginary and fictitious story set in our own time. It’s a little more fictitious than a legend; in a legend the facts of the story are hard to verify, but a myth is a little more fantastic. The story of Billy the Kid wouldn’t count, however fictitious it might be, but the story of Paul Bunyan, who could chop down a whole forest with a swipe of his axe, would certainly qualify.

I like to think of the new novel, he Kingdom on the Edge of RealityT, as a modern myth. For one thing it has a character who the reader naturally begins to think of as a god, as an embodiment of the ancient forest god Pan. The plot is vaguely Arthurian, with a saintly king and an adulterous relationship between his queen and his first knight of the realm. And the realm itself is fantastic enough to qualify for a myth, a little kingdom set in its own frame, medieval yet inhabited by modern characters.

Maybe the most fantastic aspect of The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality is that it is totally real, totally believable. Our hero, ex-competitive fencer Jack Darcey, doesn’t believe a word when he first hears about it, but step by step from the moment he sets foot in that isolated river valley, he comes to realize that however fantastic the idea may have seemed, it is as real as stone, as real as steel. This modern myth hovers between reality and unreality as the forces that make the rules trade places and trade places again, and even Jack’s modern ideas about what is real and what is true shift precariously as he makes his way through this myth.