I will be attending the Futura event in Wolverhampton this June and it has got me thinking about reading and the appeal of the speculative fiction to me and obviously others. I came to the conclusion that I am a Time Lord and so are you.
I have travelled to other worlds, fought a million battles, won and broken a thousand hearts, lived endless lifetimes, changed age, gender, race, religion, sexuality, even species more times than any Time Lord. I have both ridden, fought and been a dragon. I’ve watched worlds created, pass through their evolution and burn out. I’ve mastered the broadsword and the lazer canon. I have matched wits with Moriarty and I have been Nemesis. I have read.
Every work of fiction is in its essence a portal fantasy. Every book, whatever genre, offers the reader an opportunity to lose themselves utterly in another mind. It’s more obvious is the fantastic genres than in literary, because who really thinks of someone else’s mundane and slightly depressing life as portal to another world. It is exactly that though, simply by merit of not being your life, your thoughts and your actions. All fiction is fantasy to some degree, but not all fiction is the fantastic! Personally I prefer to zap myself into lives I could never really live, something truly beyond what I could expect to experience in my every day.
It’s a choice too, whether to experience a book immersively or as a spectator. Some people simply read a book and walk away, but I prefer to fall into it, to let my imagination conjure it around me and to be a part of it for a while. I know a lot of passionate readers do the same. I think it partially explains the hoarding mentality of many book lovers (this one included). All those shelves don’t just hold wonderful stories, they hold open the doors to other worlds. They allow us to travel through time and space. On the outside they are a few inches of paper, on the inside they contain whole worlds and systems we can visit at will. They are, in short, our TARDIS. You don’t need a madman in a blue box, you need books. With books instead of travelling with a Time Lord you become one.
No wonder so many spec fiction fans watch Dr Who when readers are all Time Lords!