There aren’t enough books where the mystery writer tries their hand at detective work and turns out to be terrible at it. There would be more of them, I reckon, but few crime novelists would care to admit how poorly they’d function inside their own worlds. It’s a problem with writers, with humans, myself included. There are damned near a million mystery novels by detectives and cops and forensic-whatevers, however, even though the most of them are absolute rubbish.
Every single day, there are two more books published about a modern American woman meeting an oddly-beardless sexually-progressive Amish hunk and having him churn her butter but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it in the reverse, Martha Goodwife going out for some strange at the disco dance club. I’ve never seen the sorcerous chosen one burst out to luxuriate in the wonders of the electric car, the internet and the drive-through homophobic chicken sandwich, either. Have you?
We want the line between our realities and our dreams to be permeable but we only want that on our own terms. Our world invaded by fantasy only when it suits us and our fantasy working with the rules of the day-to-day, but only when it enhances our vicarious thrills. But I fear it doesn’t work like that, we really only get the one or the other. Either the grim-meathook stability of the street-level mundane or the glory of the plastic fantastic where the unintended consequences of grand narrative tend to kill everyone but the main character. Are you so very certain that you’d be the hero of the story? That your Amish stud Nathaniel wouldn’t just reek of pigshit and treat you like his property? That each blazing magic spell you cast wouldn’t burn off a sliver of your soul? I have to say, I’m not so sure, myself.
Maybe, if we’re lucky, when we die our souls will be taken up to heaven but I’m fairly certain I don’t want my consciousness uploaded to the internet’s Cloud, it sounds like fun at first thought but there’s too many chances for unintended consequence in the unbridled cyber-fantasies. The clouds will never part that way but the good news is that’s probably for the best. Odds are you’d just get killed by Joker or Voldemort, end up barefoot and pregnant in a fetid barn until the day you died birthing your fourteenth kid. That little old lady solving eighty murders in some small New England town would just turn out to having killed seventy-nine of them herself.
Allow Superman his native home inside the funny pages where great men like him can still turn out to be boy-scout pure, not sexually harassing poor Jimmy Olsen on the side. Stay out here in the really-real with us instead, where the beauty of the whole thing is that while it’s boring from given day to day, there never is that damning truth of a predetermined plot. Out here, those rare surprises make it all worthwhile.