With the season seven premiere of Doctor Who this past Saturday a lot of the talk has been about the approach of a new Companion. Companions and Doctors have for a long time been a measure of eras in the show. It’s not a small wonder that fans tend to get jittery when the ‘times they are a-changin’. But this new girl looks to be alright.
What I wanted to really discuss here was something not Doctor Who related (believe me it will be hard) but something that relates back to the topic of eras changing.
The theme of change is pretty much universal in literature, but there’s something deeper and more profound that marks an era—usually an overall theme that encompasses several smaller changes. With that definition it should be easy to see how hard it would be to actually write about something as large as a change in era or a change to the way an era thinks.
It takes a lot to look back at the Civil Rights movement here in the United States and say something like “alright, all of this is the same AND there’s a Zombie Apocalypse going on!” and then write a story about that.
Essentially you have to love what you’re doing and really make the effort to make the era seem realistic or, in the case of the above example, adjust the real era to fit the newly introduced elements.
I’ve recently decided to stop with the whole “hidden world” plot that most urban fantasy uses and do a world just like ours where many of the things we call fantasy (like Goblins, Werewolves, Vampires and Dragons) are real. It’s been taxing on the planning of things to the point that I wonder if the effect and the change to many of the characters are worth it. I like the idea and I honestly think that with all of the cameras and things around in cities these days it’s more realistic. But at the same time I am wondering if it’s too much.
And there is the real dilemma, because I’ve basically decided that not only do I want to do this. But I want it to have been the case for all of history. These things will have existed and interacted with us at every era of human society. How does the Civil War look with Vampires? What do people do when there’s a living Dragon who can remember Jesus and spoke with him? What happens to things like racism?
You can see how there’s a lot here to sort out.
Btw, if you’re wondering how I felt about Doctor Who—I am thinking about doing weekly reviews. I will have to watch this latest episode over though.