We all know that books can get pretty far from reality. There are a ton of genres that specialize in this is fantasy and sci-fi. So today I want to talk about how far from reality can books get without going too far. Everything has a limit and I think there is one for realism in books too.
Fantasy is one of my favorite genres (YA fantasy, that is, of course). As part of the fantasy genre, fantasy books are usually what the name implies – fantasies. Fantasy books are almost always in a made up world, and when they are not, it is a modified version of our world, but with super powers or other special abilities. In fact, all this stuff that can only be found in fantasy and not the real world, is one of the reasons why fantasy is my favorite genre. But there are one type of fantasy books that I can’t stand. (And no, it isn’t the ones with love triangles, although those really bother me). I can’t stand books that I cannot make a connection to because there isn’t enough of reality incorporated in it.
This one is the main one. If I can’t connect to any of the experiences of the characters go through, the book has taken fantasy to a whole new level. And believe it or not, it has happened to me before. And I’m not talking about a 16 year learning how to drive. I’m talking about things like feeling like a small fish in a big pond. Or being bullied or criticized because of a certain characteristic (or just no reason at all). I’m talking about feeling like you don’t belong. Or just having a bad day where everything just seems to go wrong. I’m talking about having a nice time hanging out with friends. Or when you succeed at doing something you worked hard to accomplish. Those generic things are the kinds of things I look forward to relate to in a book. And usually I can find at least something. Like I said before, it’s all about connections. If I can’t connect and relate to what the characters in the book are going through at all, then I feel as if I can’t connect to the book as a whole.
Human Characteristics and Qualities
No, I do not mean physical human characteristics like having two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Or arms and legs. I’m talking about human characteristics like human emotions and feelings. I’m talking about arrogance and kindness. Friendliness. Helpfulness. Jealously. Hatred. Love. Picking your nose. Caring about your well being. Caring about how you look… I don’t care if the book is science fiction, takes place in another universe, and is about aliens with that look totally different from us, humans. If the aliens can go through human like experiences and display human like characteristics then we’re find. But if the aliens act nothing like the average human does, then we have a problem, and I will probably end up DNFing the book.
I said this before, but I’m going to say it again. To me, in order for a book to be really good and not take fantasy to a whole new level, is if I am able to connect to anything. ANYTHING. If I can connect to one thing in the story, however small, then that’s a different story (pun intended).
What do you think?
How far can books get from real life without going too far?