Original Book Reviews, Recommendations and Discussions

Why we think that fictional characters are real

The reboot of the TV series Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks: The Return premiered on the 21st of May, to a huge response from fans. What was interesting is how they responded, criticizing the producers if any of the characters deviated from their previous incarnations by so much as a word or gesture. They were commenting as if the people of “Twin Peaks”, “Detective Dale Cooper”, “The Log Lady”, “Laura Palmer”, etc., were real. What interests me, is why we identify with fictional characters and think they are real – or want to believe they are real. There has to be a psychological or neurological basis for this. In the linked pages of this post I discuss one reason at a time, from our ability to fantasize to the way our brains work. Continue reading

Leaving a sense of wonder – The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (Doubleday, UK, 2012)

The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (Doubleday, UK, 2012)

Terry Pratchett (Sir Terence David John Pratchett, OBE) died on 12 March 2015. Last week Thursday. He was only 66 years old, much too young to die, and much too early a death for his fans the world over, who were left gasping for just one more Discworld novel. He had written 40 Discworld novels, the first, The Colour of Magic, published in 1983, and the last, the 40th, Raising Steam, was published in 2013. The 41st, The Shepherd’s Crown, is due to be published posthumously in late 2015, by his daughter, Rhianna. His 2011 Discworld novel, Snuff, was, at the time of its release, the third-fastest-selling hardback adult-audience novel since records began in the UK, selling 55,000 copies in the first three days. Terry Pratchett gave the world the gift of his imagining, Discworld and his many other creations, and he exited this world graciously, trying to the last to do good. More so the pity then, that I did not enjoy his collaboration with Stephen Baxter in The Long Earth half as much as any of his solo novels.

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