Fiction vs. Fact: Rules of Reality

I got into a debate with some of my friends over the Maximum Ride series. They didn’t like it because the science is totally unrealistic. I tried to argue that that didn’t matter because Maximum is so awesome and that’s why it was so good, but they couldn’t see past the science. Look, I know the story is unrealistic. I mean, it’s about kids with wings. And gills. And the ability to not collapse under extreme physical pressure, among other things. And I guess the physics and biology are stretched a bit. But this doesn’t mean the stories aren’t bad. The action’s good, the characters are hysterical, and I still think it’s amazing how well Patterson can write the voice of a fourteen year old girl. Isn’t that enough to look past unrealistic biology and and physics? It is for me, anyway. After all, it’s a story.  Fiction goes by a different set of rules than reality. Glee, Veronica Mars, and Degrassi are not realistic high school experiences, but that doesn’t mean teenagers don’t like them. We don’t turn to fiction for reality, we turn for fantasy, whether that’s magic and dragons, car chases and guns, or Mr. Darcy. So where is the line of reality drawn? For me, it’s when the story contradicts itself. For instance if a book says vampire die from sunlight, but then four chapters later a vampire is walking around in the sunshine and there’s no explanation for it. Or with movies based off books. The book already sets the reality. For the movie to be good it has to follow the same rules of reality. Should we get the facts right, even if it might compromise the story, or ignore facts and write the tale?


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