What If Everyone Used Their Imagination?

I read a book review the other day, and it’s been irritating the crap out of me.

The story that accompanied the review is set during the Napoleonic Wars, except the fighting countries have air forces comprised of talking dragons. I read the book, and I loved it (find it here). The dragons spoke eloquently in the language they heard while still in the egg. They loved stories, were compassionate, and in my opinion, brought the story to life.

dragonI won’t quote the exact review (this may be the combination of a couple), but the gist is this: Dragons can talk and speak perfectly right out of the egg? Please, like dragons can even talk at all. Gawd. And let’s not even think about the environmental impact of dragons feeding off the land. And you really think a dragon could carry more than one or two guys at a time, let alone a small force with bombs and everything? I’m giving this one star because I have no imagination.

Even if I left bad reviews for something I’ve read, I think it would take some measure of denial about my skills as a reader to blame my displeasure on my inability to accept elements that are obviously part of a fantasy world. This is a world where dragons talk and carry weapons and other stuff on their backs. Okay, I can get behind that, because you know what? Dragons aren’t real. So anything associated with them is also…wait for it…not real. They aren’t bound by the laws of physics or worry about the environment or require a specific mouth structure in order to speak. These are perks of not existing.

I know, right? Did I totally just blow your mind?

What do you think? What are some of your favorite fantasy stories or other stories that required you to use your imagination?

11 thoughts on “What If Everyone Used Their Imagination?

  1. This post made me laugh. Um, I think if you read a book that is “fiction” you should know what it means. Maybe you can pass along the info below to the person who left that review:

    FICTION
    [ ˈfikSHən ]
    noun

    1.literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people.

    2.invention or fabrication as opposed to fact:
    synonyms: fabrication · invention · lies · fibs · untruth · falsehood · fantasy ·

    Yes, that’s right, talking dragons or chatty dragon eggs are imaginary and fabricated. Believe it or not, so are dragons! Just sayin’

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  2. The difficulty in the reviewer accepting the premise is probably due to the mixing of genres. In this case, the author sounds like they’re mixing historical fiction with high fantasy. There is nothing wrong with that and, as in your case, it can read to an interesting and imaginative experience. As authors, however, there is a valuable lesson here. Mixing genres is risky and is bound to choke the minds of at least some readers. Proceed with caution!

    As for the reviewer, he may want to take note that talking/intelligent dragons are a long standing literary and mythical tradition.

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  3. Eh, I’m ambivalent. While I think the writer can set whatever rules they want, the rules should still make logical sense together. I’d have to read the review to get a better idea of his criticisms. Complaining about the existence of dragons is definitely illogical, since one of the novels axioms is that they do. And they hatch able to speak is more whatever, that’s just how they work. But I think things like carrying capacity and the effect of providing food for dragons are mundane enough to be fair game, and something that the author should address in a full-length novel.

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    • Agreed, and she does address those things. I had to chuckle a bit at the environmental concern both because dragons don’t really exist to affect the environment and because no one worried about the environment during the Napoleonic Wars.

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  4. It’s so bizzare that people will impose rules upon something that were created to defy rules. Of course dragons shouldn’t be able to hulk their massive weight off the ground – that’s why they only exist in our fantasies! I completely agree with you on this one. If the narrative-logic worked then science-logic shouldn’t be applied.

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