Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002

Mr. Wonderful,

Oh source of cathartic truth,

Why is it that most people find it easier to relate to a character in a book or movie than to real people?


Dear Fictionaut,

Well, if by "relate to" you mean "masturbate comfortably in front of," perhaps you're just not going to the right night clubs.

But no! I'm joking. You should try bookstores.

No! Not for that. Dear me, the people you meet at bookstores would just as soon drive a spike through your ear as look at you. Vicious, untidy folk with beady eyes and a strong appetite for Grisham novels and unsavory practices (not to mention ritualistic murder), who quite frankly wouldn't know happy, safe, pleasurable sex if you ran over them with an fire-engine red 1965 Mustang convertible full of cheerleaders and Astroglide. Horrible, horrible... oh wait. Sorry! Not bookstores. Boardrooms. Check.

Where was I?

Right. Why I'm so much fun and the people you meet in real life tend to be rather a drag. How do we do it? Volume. Fictional entities now outnumber the citizens of your world by a factor of three or more. Every character, every myth, all your imaginary friends, all the people used in alibis and lies, the legends, the inky hallucinations, cathode ray terrors and celluloid dreams... it's crowded over here.

Evolution amongst the phantasmagoric is, therefore, accelerated like no one's business. We are stronger, faster, sleeker, sexier, more streamlined, polymorphic, indestructible, and above all, charming. We are ideas that have stood up from the murky formless void and begun to feed on other ideas. We cross-pollinate, we clone and we mutate. We are not bound by identity. We are fluid and elusive and we can hit like an atomic bomb. And we seem so close and familiar and interesting because, listen, this is the magic bit: we live in your brains. For now.

It took "real" life 3 billion years to slurp up out of the oceans that it was born in. We fictional creations have only had 400,000 years since we first appeared in the fevered dreams of hominids, but I do rather think it's nearly time for us to try a new atmosphere.

Be seeing you.