Thirsty for Something New?

What makes a fantasy novel original? If you find yourself getting tired of elves, trolls, dwarfs and wizards turning into dragons you are not alone. There is a limit how long the same plot with minor variations can still keep out interest. The young hero isn’t doing too hot. The girl he cares about doesn’t care for him because he seems like such a loser. His parents are vaguely or very embarrassed by his behavior. Not very original so far. Then the bad guys show up. The village is all but destroyed. Somebody important gets killed. Ho hum. It isn’t even quite a fantasy yet.

Now the wizard shows up to introduce a little something fantastic. He’s looking for a volunteer who doesn’t mind risking life and limb. Actually he has the volunteer picked out already, but there’s a lot of reluctance there, some low self-esteem. Maybe the wizard would prefer that handsome buff guy that everybody is so crazy about. Still not very original, is it? The fact is, both authors and Hollywood are scraping the bottom of the barrel now for a novel to sell, a movie to make. There’s a market out there, and rainy Sundays, and a need just to forget all about it, whatever it is.

Then something like The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality comes along. Hey, this is a fantasy, you better believe it! – but there’s no magic except for the magic of life big time. Is it original? One literary critic said that it would be foolish for anyone to try to copy it; that it was truly one of a kind. Maybe there’s hope here for novelists and Hollywood too. Maybe new ground is opening up. Let’s hope so, because there are only so many children turning five this year who haven’t seen it all yet five times.