A new weekly glimpse into a reader's murky mind.
Today's victim, er guinea pig, er guest is Mark Morris.
Over to you Mark...
I have a confession to make. I'm an 'other world' addict. I'm not a gamer or a cos-play enthusiast and I don't have a collection of Japanese Samurai swords that'd make the local police keen to interview me at length in the overnight holding cells but I do have a significantly strong desire to escape from my nine-to-five world as often as I can.
Now, I'm not fussy about the world I vacation in. I'd be equally as happy spending time with Louis Wu on Larry Niven's Ringworld as I would be fighting immeasurable odds in the kingdoms of George R R Martin's Game of Thrones world but what I do insist upon is a well-realised alternate reality populated by credible well-written characters of all moral types. I love science-fiction, fantasy and horror, dystopian drama and even alternative history yarns but the key is in the details and in the credibility of the people and the stories that we share head space with.
It's a common misconception that anyone can write fantasy and that all you have to do to write a character out of a bad situation is to suspend reality and twist a few physical laws and 'bob's your uncle' and the hero springs free. And maybe that did happen in the old black and white Buck Rogers' movies but the modern readership is far more demanding. If you're going to turn an odious step-parent into a wart hog you need a genetic disposition toward spell-casting and an owl-delivered invite to an academy that nurtures young talents like yours. So it requires a keen mind and a sound storytelling skill to be able to successfully carry anything like this off and make a living out of it.
I grew up reading the classics; Asimov's robots' stories, Heinlein's space sagas and Herbert's Dune trilogy of three which has now grown to at least fifteen books in length, and I moved on from this onto the 'softer' realms of fantasy which are even more difficult to realise and write credibly. I dropped by Stephen King and James Herbert, relishing all the gore – and the regular sex scenes – that resulted from this cross-over genre that takes the best of both, placing incredible creatures in contemporary settings with invariably gruesome results.
So, if I'm not writing my own attempts in any of these genres, I could quite easily be spending my spare time partying with Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden or kicking demon ass with Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan. Or I could be killing people with King or doing many barely imaginable things in a multitude of genres. But whatever I'm doing, it'll probably not be the slightest bit like what I do when I work for a living.