Thursday, June 27, 2013

Familiar Surroundings

by Alan

Some people love to read about exotic new places, while some prefer
settings they recognize. How about you?

I thought a lot about this question (I usually think a lot about our very-thought provoking questions), and finally came to a realization.

I’m not a very adventurous soul, in real life or vicariously, so I guess it follows that I don’t care much about traveling to exotic places, physically or in my head. It’s no surprise, then, that I prefer reading about places I’ve been, where I can recognize landmarks or restaurants or neatly-kept neighborhoods. Where I can practically taste the local culinary specialties because I’ve tasted them before.

Okay, I’ll stipulate I’m boring.

(Of course, maybe here’s the spot in the blog post where I should also stipulate that I’m not much into settings, period. Give me some compelling characters in a high-stakes conflict, and you can put them in a closet, for all I care. Yeah, not much of a “settings” guy.)100_2648

Now, I’m not a total dweeb. There are many books I’ve loved set in unusual places, but these places are typically set apart by their physical characteristics, rather than their cultures. Think harsh, extreme environments. Like the bottom of the ocean (Sphere) or the jungle (Congo) or Antarctica (Freezing Point) or outer space (any of a hundred space operas). Those types of settings—where the characters must struggle against the elements to survive—are pretty awesome, in my totally unadventurous opinion.


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Tracy Kiely said...

You are not dull! You just want to focus on the killing, not the scenery. That is the opposite of dull.

Alan Orloff said...

Thank you, Tracy! You're sweet. I do like to concentrate on the killing. (But I AM dull.)

Barry Knister said...

A poet friend of mine once told me that he thought poets lived mostly in their heads, but that fiction writers--because of the detail-devouring nature of what they wrote--were obliged to live in the world, and to be fully aware of it. As a successful novelist, you seem to prove him wrong.

Alan Orloff said...

Barry - Hmm. I live mostly in my head, but I am aware of my surroundings. I'm still kind of dull, though.