This week: I Wish...Edited by: Robert Waltz
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If there's a single lesson that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so.
― Lev Grossman
Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.
― T.S. Eliot
But wishes are only granted in fairy tales.
― Simone Elkeles
We're eternally fascinated by wishes - from the classic genie-in-a-bottle right up to a recent movie that featured the concept, the idea of granting wishes features heavily in Fantasy.
Why, then, are wishes always portrayed as having significant downsides?
I think that the first answer, and simplest, is that a story where someone gets a wish granted without trouble just isn't very interesting at all. "He wished for a million dollars. He got it, and life became easier. The end."
Beyond that, though, it gets complicated. Wish or not, whenever something new comes along in life, something else has to go away. There is, as they say, no such thing as a free lunch. Want kids? Lose some free time. Want a dog? Time you used to spend, say, watching TV is now devoted to feeding and walking the mutt. Want more money? Chances are you have to work more, or at least differently. Usually we're willing to pay the price, because we know the price.
Or perhaps we're just not ready to pay the price, or ignorant of what the price is. With the money example above, perhaps you'd wish for a million bucks. Suddenly you realize that wealth comes with its own set of problems, and if you're bad with money, money won't fix that -- and soon you're back where you started. (For the record, I'm willing to take my chances there.)
Bad enough when the consequences of a wish fall on the wisher, but it can also be interesting to explore the consequences to other people. Did a loved one die to leave someone that fortune, so they end up worse off than before? What if someone wishes for immortality, but becomes unable to move or affect their environment?
Whatever the repercussions, the story's only interesting if you explore the downsides. And maybe, in the end, you get what you really wanted in the first place.
Do you wish to read some fantasy?
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Last time, in "Games" , I talked about games in Fantasy.
Steven, Rejected By All: I've written and read a few based on games of chess.
But I have seen a great RPG developed in the late 80s here in Australia called Soapy Bubbles, which was an RPG based on 6 stereotypes of Australian soap operas (as beloved by British people for whatever reason). Odd but so funny. Paranoia was the best official non-D&D RPG I ever played.
Still play D&D, but v2. Everything since has just become silly. Still prefer Original (1st edition). Still have all the books and many of the modules.
I've played Paranoia; it's hilarious. And while I'm in a D&D 5e group now, I will always appreciate 2nd Edition.
And that's it for me for April - see you next month! Until then,
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