Saturday, November 27, 2010

a list about reality-fantasy-hybrid stories



I'm about to make a list. I'm not really a list person. I'm not sure I'm geeky enough on the whole. Incidentally, there was a recent discussion on geekiness at Madlab called Geeks Talk Sexy (and this link contains a list too); (Madlab's where I'm currently working on an arts project). The general consensus was, so I hear, that geeks are no longer considered to be the same thing as nerds or anoraks and that a geek is really just someone who is passionate/obsessive about certain, chosen things (but I guess not trainspotting) and who is not afraid to display that passion. So maybe I am a geek. I'm really passionate about a few select things and I don't mind showing it. The list I am about to write is not about my top ten favourite things though. It's a list of my top ten favourite reality-fantasy-hybrid texts - text meaning that it could be in  the format of TV, film, book or any other medium. This follows on directly from my last blog post where I discussed how I like stories which combine the realistic, earthling world with fleeting fantasy elements.

Of course, there is a problem with my definition reality-fantasy-hybrids. If something is set in the 'real world' but then fantastical things start to filter into the story, then it is no longer realistic and so it is actually fantasy, right? It can't be like a hybrid bike which just takes elements from two different designs and combines them side by side because in the case of a story these elements fuse and transmogrify the story itself into a new kind of experience. A bike is a bike is a bike. You get racers and you get mountain bikes and you get hybrids. But a hybrid bike is still a bike - upon which you sit and move forwards as you pedal it along. If you switch from a mountain to a racer you may find your head may be slightly closer to the handlebars but you're still using the bike to go in the same direction. Reality fiction and fantasy fiction or sci-fi are different enough to take you in completely opposing directions. If you want interpretations of possible (rather than impossible) everyday, routine material life then you might watch Eastenders or a Mike Leigh film (not that I'm saying they're entirely realistic but they're def not surrealistic). If you want to be transported to an impossible place or find the characters in supra-mundane circumstances, then this is an entirely different narrative experience. You can't really compare hybrid stories to hybrid vehicles because their frameworks are so different and the faculties we use to access them work differently. Thinking and processing is more fluid, three dimensional and it's infinitely variable. Physically sitting (on a mass of solid particles) is more grounded and predictable. So if you can't compare a hybrid bike to a hybrid narrative because of the trans-structural complexities of the latter, does this mean you can't have hybrid fiction?

Well, in Cultural Studies, hybrid culture - and I'm talking here about inter-cultural experiences - takes on its own essence of in-betweenness as well as incorporating the features of two or more cultures. It's like if Jews had never settled in America, we wouldn't have New York bagels or Woody Allen's humour. The fusion of elements creates a whole new experience. Perhaps this more indeterminate definition can work for the addressal of (potentially) hybrid stories too. My argument is that there are just some types of fiction which use fantastical devices to add texture to otherwise realistic plots, characters and themes. These stories are hybrid because they are not essentially one genre or the other but between genres, or without genres. So here's the list and I'm not sure how common its listiness is.

1. Being Erica (series 1 and 2)
2. True Blood
3. Choky
4. Walking on Glass
5. The Day of the Triffids
6. Harry Potter (shock)
7. Misfits
8. Doctor Who (the old ones)
9. The Worst Witch
10. The Wizard of Oz

Oh god, lists are so confining. I want to go on but I've got to keep my boundaries. That's why I'm not a list person.

One more thing to add - there's a bit of fantasy in all our stories always (so what is fantasy?)

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