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Missing Left Sock Beast
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Coyote Musings
Coyote handsome
his coat the same brown
as the dust from which he rises


What is the sound of one hand slapping Schroedinger's cat?


The Quantum Duck goes "quark, quark."

September 2010
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Missing Left Sock Beast [userpic]
A question for readers (and writers)

If I describe a loose plot as:

Modern person gets dragged into a fantastic world without their permission

What things immediately pop to your head? Not just texts or films, but also what tropes or themes?

Please feel free to share this around as it's an open post and I'm curious to know what many people think.


The book that came to mind was The War for the Oaks, but I read that recently enough that it makes sense.

First thing I thought of was, ironically, The Doomsday Book. Ironic, because the protagonist in that book DID go willingly.


Ah, but she was willingly going else-when.

Alice in Wonderland, James and the Giant Peach, etc.

I think as far as themes go, something along the lines of being dragged into this world is akin to being forced to confront a needed change, or take a needed action in order to grow or mature, and that one might not take that step were one not dragged.

I dunno, that's all I've got.

Oh, and I have something for you from my recent trip to the Smokeys.

Oh, she's pretty. Young, too!

The first titles that came to my mind were Wizard of Oz and the Fionavar Tapestry.

The usual tropes are "quest to find a way home" and "even though not of that world, is the person destined to save it." These are quite often combined, in that the way to get home is by defeating whatever the bad thing is.

There's either embracing the new world wholeheartedly and learning how to fit in -- maybe they don't want to go home (Harry Potter, though he's pretty willing, whoops), or maybe they realize only through knowing the new rules can they get back -- or fighting it at every turn (often a source of epic fail). Surprisingly often the "destined to save it" trope entails "willing to make the ultimate sacrifice." That sacrifice might be: stay in the new world despite really wanting to go home (brain is blanking on this for some reason), go home even though really wants to stay (Will in Amber Spyglass), or die (Paul[? been a long time] in Summer Tree).

Edited at 2008-07-26 12:09 am (UTC)

The first thing I thought of were books I read when I was younger where this group of people who were playing Dungeons and Dragons got transported into the D&D world by the DM. I totally can't remember what they were called or who they were by though.

See, the very first thing into my head was "Fushigi Yuugi." And from there, Inu-Yasha, then Fire Tripper, then the VGcats.com comic where the creator is screaming that he's never going to do a comic on Inu-Yasha, because he already did, back when it was called Fushigi Yuugi.

Barbara Hambly's Darwath series. Connecticut Yankee. Thomas Covenant. Narnia and many other childrens' books. Others already mentioned, including, as mentioned, lots of Japanese anime and manga.

Tropes/Themes/Cliches: Disbelief (boooooring). Striving to get back (booooooring -- especially if the next 2 cliches come into effect). Using clever modern knowledge to enhance one's status in the past (but how many of us really know how to make gunpowder or build a steam engine? Although simply knowing enough to sterilize bandages could turn you into a medical wonderworker, if you weren't burned as a witch ). Discovering a special power or skill that will save the fantasy world.

Too Often Ignored: Language problems (c'mon, even Americans and English have trouble understanding each other, and they're speaking the same language!). Health differences (if drawn into the *past* or a fantasy world like our own past, we'd be, like, feet taller than anyone, with healthier teeth and a longer natural lifespan, although unless we've had our shots we might drop dead of some medieval illness. And what do you do about your glasses if they get broken? How much did Renaissance glasses *cost*, anyway, and how good could the prescription really be? What if you have allergies? Asthma? Any other problem requiring regular medication? What if you're wheelchair-bound?). Fashion issues (e.g., women appearing in shorts and tee-shirts would probably be considered whores, and likely sexually assaulted). Cultural issues (sexism, racism -- why is it always white folks being sent back to UK-like white fantasy worlds? what if you were white or black and sent back to a Japanese-style fantasy world? Or white or Japanese and sent back to an African fantasy world? -- just being considered a dunce because you can't even tell time from the sun, name the king, recognize an orc, figure out the currency, or cook over a wood fire. Sexuality differences -- in medieval times 12 was adulthood and kids were marrying at 15; how does a 30-something modern man or woman feel about that? Or about a gay man being burned to death?).

I'm conflating fantasy and past because fantasy is *usually* based on some kind of past, usually medieval Anglo-European culture, and of course I'm assuming a more "backward" fantasy society, although I've read a few contemporary fantasies where there's equality between the sexes and sexualities, etc. Though they run the risk of being preachy and utopian if not written well.

Computer programmer becomes kick-ass wizard. Jenny something-or-other.

Heh, that's an entire genre of anime! No, I'm not kidding; it really is! As such, they are too numerous to mention.

Didn't the main character in that old series...what was it, Spellsinger? Alan Dean Foster... get transported to a fantasy world? Man, I haven't read those in forever, but I recall they were really funny. Should read them again. What *was* the talking otter's name? *ponder*

Other things that popped in my head were Barbara Hambly (though I haven't ready many of her books, but I know she uses that mechanic) and Narnia.

I wonder if Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would count? It kinda does... :)