Next up on the Thirty Day Book Challenge: “What book would you most like to live in?” or “MJ says to hell with the spirit behind the book challenge, yet again.”* In all honesty, there’s not a single book I’d like to live in. Why? Because books are written so the characters can have exciting things happen to them, and the vast majority of the time those exciting things suck a bag of dicks. Sure, you may have a happy ending, but going through months or years of utter crap in order to get to it? No thank you. I’ll take my slightly boring but overall stable and pleasant life over that any day. Besides, any time something happens you’re bound to think “Oh shit, here comes Narrative Causality again.”
Plus, think of the lives people lead in book-land. There might be some awesome aspects to it, but the bad aspects are really shitty. Let’s review the pros and cons by genre, if you will:
Fantasy Pros: If you’re down with fantasy you can do magic, wield a weapon like a champ, and have an impossible resistance to all physical injury.**
Fantasy Cons: The inevitable evil wizard, tyrant-king, or gaggle of impossible to kill magical beings are hell-bent on fucking your shit up. Also, if you’re a woman, there are no bras not made of leather or chain-mail and you’re probably going to put someone’s eye out with those things.
Science Fiction Pros: You’re probably on a different planet, which is kinda cool. You also have unlimited awesome technology, usually.
Science Fiction Cons: You’re locked in a struggle with cyborgs, androids, cyborg androids, or aliens. If you’re not in one of those situations, your government is certainly trying to kill you. There’s a decent chance that you’re surrounded by men who think sex with aliens is a healthy and enjoyable pastime.
Classics Pros: You already know what’s going on in the world because you have some knowledge of history, so that’s fun. If you luck out and don’t get something like Heart of Darkness or American Revolutionary classics you may be an aristocrat, which, if you can put up with the concept of consciously and continuously oppressing people, means you’re reasonably well-fed and housed.
Classics Cons: If you did luck out and wind up an aristocrat, you’re still going to lose all your money or be lynched by angry peasants, so be ready for that. If you’re not in one of the aristocrat-filled classics, you’re probably at war somewhere or seriously fucking poor and oppressed. You’ll also find no one gives a shit about the world being unfair,*** whereas at least in the modern First World people pretend to when others are looking. Depending on how much you remember from your high-school history classes, you may be imprisoned or killed horribly for being a witch. Also, do you know what doctors did to people back then? Hope you don’t get sick. You will anyway.
Literary Fiction Pros: There’s a good chance you’re a special snowflake who is really smart, really perceptive, or really talented. You stand a good chance of having or eventually obtaining an upper-middle-class life.
Literary Fiction Cons: If you’re a woman, you’ll probably be sexually abused or have your husband leave you. Your marriage is inevitably a wreck and your kids each have one-way tickets to Delinquent Land. Also, regardless of gender, you are so, so, so very depressed.
Chick Lit Pros: You always have plenty of money for frivolous things even if you can’t pay your rent. You probably have a Nice Title job that you don’t really need to be at often, and you live in an exciting city. There’s a good chance you’re pretty hot and a lot of men want to sleep with you. If you’re not really hot, don’t worry, the hot guy is still going to want to sleep with you anyway because you’re a special snowflake. Five will get you ten that you marry someone with money, power and a house on the French Riviera.
Chick Lit Cons: You are so incredibly stupid none of the pros matter.
Romance Pros: You’ll wind up having a lot of sex.
Romance Cons: All the sex is with Fabio.****
I could provide more examples, but I think I’ve made my point. I’ll stick to the real world, thanks.
*Despite my oh, hell no reaction to some of the questions, I am quite enjoying this little exercise and will continue. Plus, I like some of the future questions a lot.
** I’ve made this observation before, but why do fantasy authors always think getting sliced up, burned badly, jumping off of really tall buildings, or falling from galloping horses are minor injuries? Almost every hero or heroine in a fantasy book has the same “it’s cool bro, I’ll walk it off” reaction to injuries that would cripple or kill anyone. It’s just a flesh-wound, indeed.
*** In other words, prepare to be kicked a lot, for no reason.
**** Fabio brings up conflicting emotions for me because on one hand the whole duck-rollercoaster incident is hilariously weird and on the other hand I feel like a terrible person for laughing at his pain. Poor Fabio.