The Problem With Adventures

We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.”

Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Do you enjoy reading about fantasy adventures? I know I do! But if you were given the choice, would you want to experience one for yourself? When I was a kid–and even now, as an adult–I often pondered how I’d handle being suddenly transported to another world, like Alice in the Wonderland books and the Pevensie children in Chronicles of Narnia. Would I have been all gung-ho about going on an adventure, or would I have griped about missing the amenities and modern day conveniences I take for granted in my life? I would definitely miss my family and wonder when–if–I’d ever return home. Sadly, given all the evidence, I must conclude that my view on adventures is very close to Bilbo’s.

In the Wyldling Dream series, this is one internal conflict Annabelle must confront and resolve within herself. She first meets Enoch, a young knight from Tehara, in a shared dreamscape where they quickly become friends. After learning about Enoch’s life, she wants nothing more than to visit him and see the fantastical world of Tehara. She honestly wants to help her new friend with his troubles, but she also has an ulterior motive: to escape her often disappointing life on Earth and have the sort of adventures she’s read about in fantasy novels. But if she ever gets her heart’s desire, it may come at a high cost–to Enoch as well as herself.

Here is a case where the main character’s expectations are not aligned with reality–at least, the fictional world’s reality. Annabelle could very well learn why it’s much more fun to read about someone else’s problems and their reactions to them than it is to experience such things for ourselves. But I wouldn’t want to spoil anything by telling you what happens. I’ll let you read the book and find out.

Isn’t that why we read books instead of venturing out into the cold, cruel world? To live vicariously through a made-up person on an exciting adventure without facing any physical danger? Okay, that’s one reason I read books. And write them. I genuinely believe we learn about our own lives and explore our own world by reading and writing about others. Another reason we read the books is the same as Annabelle’s–we want to escape reality. 

Speaking of which, I’m taking part in several free sci-fi & fantasy book promotions you’ll want to check out before the end of the month. Free books! Who could say “no” to free books?

This isn’t my final word on adventures, by the way. You’ll be hearing from me again soon. In the meantime, have a wonderful week… and take some time out from the holiday rush to relax with a good book.

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