If you’ve been following the Book Challenge thingy, you already know my feelings on real life versus fiction. It should then come as no surprise to you that I’m going to flagrantly ignore the question today and tomorrow – “What book is most like your life?” and “What book character is most like you?”- and instead take a look at what my life would be like in a book. I’ll go genre-by-genre, to echo the post linked above.
I’m definitely not attractive enough to be the lead female character, which is fine by me since it means I don’t have to sleep with or be attracted to characters loosely based on the author. So far, so good. This means I most likely have no actual role in the book, as so many science fiction novels revolve entirely around the author getting to write stories about how hot chicks really want to have sex with people just like him, and thus there is no room for a woman who does not.* Of course the author could be a woman,** in which case no one has ever heard of the book or I’m living in an Ursula K. LeGuin novel. If I’m living in a LeGuin novel, I am totally a side character since I’ve never had to overcome any adversity more staggering than a hangnail. Which, hell, is still okay with me: not being treated like crap constantly because of something I couldn’t help is just fine. I can be Space Tavern Owner Number 12 if it means I’m left alone.
Pretty much everything above, minus the Ursula K. LeGuin part.*** The only difference is that instead of being a tavern girl or something, I’d be a tavern girl or something with gigantic knockers. My Sci Fi life is looking more appealing; I like my back uninjured, thank you.
Okay, here we finally get a little depth but unfortunately it’s not taking me far. Much to my dismay family on the Euro side is pretty solidly working-class, so I’m basically the maid in any European novels. And with my mouth, I’ll be the maid who gets beaten and dismissed. Damn. On the American side of the family we’re poor Alabamans. Have you read Civil War fiction? I am so fucked.
Well, first of all we can disregard any literary fiction that isn’t in real, modern-day setting since it’s fairly diverse. That leaves us with the modern-day stuff, and, as I mentioned in the Sci Fi portion of this broadcast, I have not dealt with a lick of real adversity in my life so that removes about half the Literary Fiction from the table. The other side of it is the navel-gazy stuff. I’m not on anti-depressants, in a failing marriage, completely obsessed with consumerism, or a brilliant artiste so I’m probably not a lead character. Plus, the main characters in those books practically make me look well-adjusted. I’d probably be the side friend that seems really, really normal compared to everyone else. Add to that the fact that navel-gazy fiction usually goes hand in hand with a cushy in-book life, I’d bet I’d have a nice life in Literary Fiction. Up until the point where I snap and kill all of the whiny, spineless twats that think of me as the “happy” one, of course.
I’m not a woman with the personality and emotional development of a toddler, so I’m either the office bitch, the friend who is so wacky and confusing because she doesn’t understand why you dropped your rent cash on shoes, or the friend that everyone thinks is just to powerful and feminist for doing things like “being happy without a boyfriend” and “answering the door sans makeup.” Although I’d be assured to have money and a cushy job, given my company I’d probably turn into the friend who “inexplicably shoots herself in the face over brunch after the millionth mention of someone’s desire to have a boyfriend.”****
I don’t know what my life in Romance would be like, but I do know I’d probably become the first Romance character in history to utter the phrase “please put on your pants.”
* If you don’t think this is the case, you have not read enough Science Fiction.
** I can almost picture the Nature voice-over: And now, our team has gotten a rare glimpse of a Female Science Fiction author. This elusive creature is seldom seen in the wild, and has never before been captured on camera.*****
*** Most female-authored Fantasy books are really, deep down, romance. I seriously wonder what gives with that.
**** Oddly enough, I quite like Sex and the City even though knowing those women in real life would definitely make me commit ritual suicide.
***** Yes, I know there are women who write Sci Fi and Fantasy, some of it very good. My point here is: there are not nearly enough. Make with the lady-writers, publishers.