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Writing Prompt 8.3.20 - Curiouser and Curiouser

If you fell down a rabbit hole, what do you think you'd find?


Some mighty big rabbits.


Once again, I am compelled to respond to a prompt with truth rather than fiction; hence the witticism above.


Alice In Wonderland remains one of my favorite Disney films, I think because it was among my earliest exposures to one of my favorite genres of speculative fiction, what I call the Extraordinary World. Maybe there's an official term for it that I'm unaware of; it's usually a pulpy sub-genre. The Martian Tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, even Tarzan...all are examples of Extraordinary World fiction.


My own writing has featured two examples of my own take on Extraordinary World fiction, the transplantation of a hero from one extraordinary world into another. Planet Pantheon is the tale of a crew from the far future that rediscovers an Earth remade by the gods of myth and legend. Cassie Cometstail and Haunted Star is the story of a deep space adventuring Little Orphan Annie who gets stuck on a magical Dyson Sphere.


The funny thing is, I think my take on this genre is probably a subversion of the point of Extraordinary World fiction. The point of this kind of fiction is that what makes people truly extraordinary is the choices that they make rather than the things that they can do. (This isn't really made manifest in the ERB stuff, because John Carter and Tarzan essentially are superhuman.) Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, DC's Adam Strange...these characters are almost everymen (except that they are also examples of "American Exceptionalism," which is maybe something I'll talk about with another writing prompt someday).


I like my instincts with my own efforts, especially as Planet Pantheon featured a person of color and Cassie Cometstail a young girl, but these were people from the future! They arrive on the scene in faster-than-light spaceships! They were already, for the reader, extraordinary! Even in a world inundated with genre stories, it's hard to come off as a "stranger in a strange land" when you already have a laser gun in hand.


(Wow, this took me in an unanticipated direction. I did not know I was going to come into this finding fault with some of my favorite works of mine.)


So now, I have to put Extraordinary World fiction back in the hopper and see what comes out. (Now, what would I like to find down the rabbit hole? Why, a shrine to El-ahrairah, of course. WATERSHIP DOWN!!!)

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