24 April 2014

Three stories we are sick of...

As we touch the mid-point of the spring season, I am reminded of three things: 

1) Put away everything of value so the next tornado cannot blow it all far and wide.

2) It's too late to plant that garden so no reason to get out the tools, seeds, and fertilizer.

3) The book writing business is not suitable for man nor beast, so why bother? 

Right away I will likely get rebuttals. Some may ask why I stay in this gods-forsaken alley of wind and I bluntly repeat "The Day Job! The Day Job!" Others may decry my sniveling rant as an affront to the precious Gaea and her bouncing bosom, an excuse the lazy pull out whenever it suits then, green thumbs or not. And there are those who would chastise me for supposed Puritan vanity, as though only my books suffered the outrageous slingshots and arrows of cliches. Enough said then!

Throughout this new year, I have been able to ascertain there are three stories, types of stories, or story memes retold that nobody is willing to welcome any longer, and henceforth should be exiled to the dustpins of hosiery! Here they are in all of their unspoken glory--and beware the variations, too.

The love story. Emotional linkage. Moreover, two young romantics slathering over each other. Worse yet if one of them is of some special, protected category such as ghost, gremlin, zombie, homeboy, vampire, wolfboy, fairy, fairytale meme, or English teacher. It is enough that we recognize that people have this flaw, this need for completion, this urge to copulate with another person or "person"; must the rest of us read all about it? see it splayed open across the grand screen? discuss it through the night on social media, as though it were a traditional recipe for disaster? Sure, we have the so-called "anti-romance"--but isn't that just another sheep of another color than black? Let them do what they do in private and leave the rest of us alone, thank you very much. 

Variation: The love story set in a dystopian society where good is evil and black is white and everyone is out to get everyone else because that is the way of the world and nobody is better or worse than anyone else and the equal ones are slightly more equal than the others who are not. Often they must play a game to determine who is most equal.

Example. A Beautiful Chill, an oft-repeated cliche of campus unions and reunions where Art and Letters rejoice in depravity unyielding up to the final revelation of slaughter. Woe is me, sayeth the love-lorn Author. (Credit for keeping it real; that is, on Earth and in modern times.)

The discovery of a new world. In this avenue I would add all the usual doorway, portal, gateway, wardrobe, tunnel, and wormhole stories where one of "us" goes somewhere else and woo-hoo it's almost like where we came from or it's quite different and aren't we amazed! And what does our hero/heroine do there? Exploit the darn place to within an inch of its lifeline! Such stories have been foisted upon us as warnings of what we have become or what we shall or might become if we do not pay attention, pay through the nose, or pay the first-born child of every family in debt to our fanatical financials and lords of leisure! And yet we take no heed and continue to fall into our dubious inheritance. No more! "If it ain't here, it ain't real," quoth one long-lost quotation master. Who should care for a world of pure invention?

Variation: The parallel universe, the time travel story, the dystopian tale--all of them poor representations of the main theme, all relying on our knowledge of our existing set of circumstances in order to make pun of all that we hold close to us and dreary. They mean to trick you. Smoke and mirrors, just smoke and mirrors. Mind not the poor excuse that is what you have now, for life could be far, far worse over there.

Example: The Dream Land, a lengthy tome [read 'trilogy'] ostensibly of interdimensional [read 'doorway, portal, etc.'] intrigue [read 'political skulduggery'], alien romance [see above complaint], and world domination [yet not, thankfully, in a sexual bondage sort of depravity]. Too many giant war rabbits to my liking.

The medieval family clash. As a variation on new worlds is the old world meme. I speak here of our vainglorious return to the days of yore as they stick in our craw and decay forthwith. Either said stories are poor recreations of history mismanaged or they are faux pas histories which serve only the purpose of greasepaint stages of perversity. Need we more of that? There is good reason those days of yore are done, and none too soon: we who represent the greater good in our species are simply too embarrassed by what we are capable of bestowing upon our peers. While we may wish to relive the highlights and even selected lowlifes, the sum total of all our aspirations is a rousing return to that which never was and cannot be all in the name of trying it again for the better and falling, indeed, crashing from great dragon-borne heights to the fire-pit below! Then we know the mirror has finally broken and we lie splintered and bleeding.

Variation: The story that hides in a return to mythological creations and through them and their unfolding narrativity seek to impress us with the drudgery of life in those ancient days. Be glad of the life you have now and forget those of long ago. Yet such creatures and the winsome gods and goddesses themselves make for poor judges of our tastes today. Be not fooled or made a fool!

Example: After Ilium, where the narrative necessarily parallels the standard liturgy yet is viewed through the rose-colored lenses of a neophyte (often called 'the lucky loser') for the purpose of excising emotional dewing from unwary readers. Quite dubious in the depiction of an infamous battle. The major sex scene is a fruit basket of delights, however.

Solution. Seek not for such misguided diversions but instead search out only the fair and acceptable solutions to the diversions you crave, for they do exist. Break free and live a life beneath a tree, in the fields of the locust, all barefoot and squishy, with fluffy-bunny clouds overhead and the wind in your hair, like all good little munchkins who have survived remakes of wizard-themed films. And if that fails you, then there likely is little hope; you might as well embrace your day job (night, whatever) with hardy gusto, for you are not worthy of being entertained by the likes of we. Good day to you, Sir!

[The preceding was discovered by a couple of lovers whilst they sojourned on a newly discovered world after reading about ancient wars and played a game of trumps. Authorship has yet escaped confirmation. It is presented here solely for amusement, for it has no other discernable use.]

(C) Copyright 2010-2014 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.


  1. May your medieval family never clash, and my your dystopian alternate universe always flourish!

  2. But those are the best kind of stories.

  3. Not if all the stories are those stories!