Monday, June 23, 2008

A New Era for Fiction: A Proposal

I believe the last piece of fiction I wrote was a short story in 11th grade, in which my protagonist Pulex died while attempting to swim across the ocean. I think Pulex was unaware that his name meant "flea;" otherwise he might have been dissuaded from attempting such a feat.

If I had to write a story today, I'm sure it would be slightly less ham-fisted than that attempt at portraying the classic Greek formula of hubris meets comeuppance. However, I can't promise that it would be any more compelling. Between the idea of a limited number of basic plots and the idea of a limited number of character archetypes, I don't see any reason to even attempt to create something original. In fact, I've come to the realization that there are so many fictional characters in existence, that there is really no need to create any more. There are only two factors which account for the continued practice of creating new ones--economics and, yes, hubris.

I propose that Congress pass a law prohibiting the creation of any new fictional characters. On the other hand, as part of the deal, all existing characters would become public domain. I believe that everyone would benefit in such a scenario. Storytelling, in whatever medium, would combine the best elements of Marxism and free enterprise . Rather than the current status quo, where the privileged few have access to lucrative characters, everyone has access to the same means of production, making the idea pool a true communist venture. However, the end result would be competition, and a rather fierce Darwinistic competition at that. With multiple versions and iterations of the same character floating around, only the fittest will survive.

What would be particularly exciting to storytellers, consumers, and distributors alike is the dissolution of boundaries between fictional "worlds." We've seen glimpses of the possibilities: The Wold Newton Family, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. But even those attempts to break down creative barriers were limited. Under my proposal, all stories would be a wonderful free for all. The opportunities for cross-overs and character interactions are limitless. And I could re-write my 11th grade story to have Pulex eaten by Moby Dick.


Anonymous Teecycle Tim said...

Along the same lines, I think there is no need for new t-shirts. Just sayin.

1:21 PM  

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