“It’s a *dream*, Alex… you can do anything you want!”

Don’t know if I screwed up that quote, but it’s from the wonderful 1984 film Dreamscape.

It has obvious parallels with writing. We are tragically limited in what we can code into games, even in the best programming teams ever formed. We are slightly less limited in film, but at great expense, at the loss of interaction, and only for 90 minutes or so.

But in writing, we are completely free.

In terms of the writing market, perhaps there is decidedly less freedom, as books need a genre for marketing purposes, and most readers use genre as an heuristic to find the kinds of books they’re likely to enjoy. Many are rather intolerant of deviation from expectations.

And yet, it always seems to me, to be a waste of the opportunity that writing affords, that so many authors stick so closely to reality.

I can go to town and experience reality. While the machinations of the world are interesting in their own way, I can get my fill of that on documentaries and online encyclopedias, in vivid color, pictures, video, and sound.

A plain work of fiction generally has none of these things, but neither does it have conceptual limits. Perhaps this sort of tradeoff is why I never bother to read anything set in mundane reality. Well, that and my predisposition that reality is mundane, I suppose…

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