The private detective is a fixture in fiction. Stalking through dark rooms, smoking under lazily spinning ceiling fans, waiting for their next big case in a lonely office. Fiction glamorizes the detective and prefers to show us the down-of-luck, grizzled, white man who somehow attracts the most beautiful women in the city. There are tropes and stereotypes and familiar story beats in every tale of detective fiction, some of which have already been discussed in previous blog entries. Everybody loves a good mystery. The trick in writing a truly great detective story is balancing the glamor with the realism. We enjoy stylization for the purposes of entertainment but allowing the real world to bleed through into the fiction is engrossing. This blend of real and glamor is what makes the Cormoran Strike novels such a joy to read.
Anyone who reads this blog will know that I read a lot of fantasy novels. They are the perfect form of escapism, pulling readers into different worlds. The world can be as similar or as different from our world as the author’s imagination allows. They can draw on real-world environments, societies, and peoples. The worlds of fantasy can also be as nontraditional as the author likes. Medieval Europe is usually the go-to influence, but there are no limits on which culture a book must take to heart. Asia, indigenous Australia, the middle East, old world America, the Pacific Islands, Africa…fantasy is the excuse to be as non-traditional as possible. The whole point of fantasy is to create a new world. Why should that new world be a slave to the rules of the old one? Create your own world and write your own rules.