I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
Anjelica Grey: Before the Bestseller
Anjelica Grey’s first published work received widespread acclaim. It was a five-page handwritten tale about an unfortunate bear enduring some life difficulties, as evidenced by the long-suffering expression on the vaguely drawn creature on the cover (medium: Crayola). The first (and only) printing was hand-laminated by Anjelica’s second-grade teacher, and is a highly prized collector’s item currently stored in the author’s mom’s basement.
As is tragically common among child stars, such early fame had its consequences. The pressure to live up to her previous works warred with the blue-collar mentality of her Midwestern hometown, culminating in a widely-publicized street brawl after one too many people asked, “But what will you do for a real job?”
The young writer disappeared from the limelight for quite some time. She enrolled in college for three years, some of which she even attended. She spent a decade trying to experience the world by living in five states and two different countries. Eventually, the author’s well-traveled cat had had enough, and they both returned to Michigan to finish a respectable business degree, get married, and settle down like a grown-up.
(Well, Anjelica did. The cat studied hypnotherapy, and chose to forgo romance to focus on her career.)
It was at this stage, when all creativity seemed thoroughly squashed, that small tendrils of wordsmithery began to emerge between the cracks in the cement. Unable to continue the charade of serious adulthood, Anjelica Grey burst forth from her creativity closet and announced that she was, indeed, a writer.
The attendance at the press conference was somewhat less than she’d hoped. But it was just a matter of time before she would reach, and even surpass, the dizzying career heights of elementary school fame.
And this time, she would hire someone else to do the illustrating.
Anjelica’s present focus is a series of Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels called Worlds Collide. They document the very strange history of a woman named Raven, who eventually comes to own an independent gaming store, the sort of place where one buys dice, comics, role-playing books, and other kinds of assorted loot to make nerds go, “Ooh….neat.” The series features an ensemble of characters from assorted walks of life, who share two things in common:
- They’re acquainted in some way with Raven, and…
- On some random occasion, their day took a really unexpected turn.
These people (beleaguered or blessed, depending on one’s point of view) start out having a typical gaming day, and suddenly find themselves…elsewhere. Perhaps it’s the world of one of their favorite video games. Maybe they’re on a derelict space freighter with failing life support. It could be a fantasy realm where they’d played a role-playing game with friends. Possibly it’s an alternate reality where super-powered good guys turn out to not be so good. Or it could be any of the million other lands that have lived in the minds of gamer geeks as bastions of escapism throughout the ages.
It seems that there’s some mysterious force around Raven, and it likes stories. Which one will be yours?
A Note on Realism
(It might seem odd to follow up a description of dimension hopping and alternate worlds with the idea of realism, but the author’s a big fan of “odd” from way back.)
Too often, characters in fantasy and sci-fi are noble, virtuous heroes, going through a rough patch before returning to all their goody-good glory. Or they are ruthless villains, kicking kittens with ruthless abandon just to revel in the squeaks of pain. There’s nothing wrong with this; it can make great stories, and we’d all be poorer without our Goldmoons and our Saurons.
But the thing is, real life isn’t like that.
Very few of us are really good guys, or really bad guys. We’re all somewhere in the middle, trying to be nice to that lady on the bus even though we woke up late out of a really great dream about telling off our boss. We don’t solve all our problems in thirty minutes or less, minus commercial breaks.
Worlds Collide is a series that incorporates a lot of comedy, because its author is a smartass. But it also includes serious subjects, and not all of them get wrapped up in pretty bows with happy ever afters. Sci-fi and fantasy, at their best, can help us to understand our world better by throwing it against an unfamiliar backdrop, and letting us see common issues with a fresh eye. That, ultimately, is the goal of Worlds Collide.
I look forward to taking you along on the journey to see how it all turns out.