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Monday, May 25, 2009

Silly Reader Questions: Super Powers, Magic, Bathrooms, and Poetry

This week we have a few more silly reader questions. We'll go in reverse order this time around and start with GothixHalo:
Why in books do they never have them going to the bathroom?
I don't know if anyone is aware, but it is actually illegal to write about going to the bathroom in books. Yup. Sometimes it happens, but if you do it you're likely to be sued. You see, back in 3100 B.C. a guy named Nunchuck Dungfoot (anglicized from the original language to make it easier to remember) invented the first toilet and he declared that the whole world must acknowledge his invention lest he curse mankind to the fiery bowels of hell. Unfortunately, that has carried on into the modern world as an unofficial ban on discussing the use of bathrooms in literature. Discussing such things will result in the Trans-Orkneyan Liberation Front showing up at your house to serve you with papers. I know, it sounds insane, but that's what happened to that guy who supposedly "lied" in his non-fiction book on Oprah's show. Remember that? It was a cover for his writing about a bathroom. He's since disappeared, which tells me that he was probably murdered by the Trans-Orkneyan Mafia.

Yes, I'm making all this up. I have no idea why nobody writes bathroom scenes in their fiction. They just don't.

GothixHalo also asks:
Why do people not like poetry, but love songs, which are basically music set to poetry?
Because people are too stupid to realize that they're basically the same thing. There's really no difference between poetry and song lyrics, except that one is traditionally sung, while the other is not--although, historically this isn't true. That's basically it.

For the record: song lyrics are poetry, and if you hate poetry, then you also hate song lyrics. This is a strange conflict that everyone needs to acknowledge.

Lastly, Mulluane sends this question:
Super power or magical power?
I don't quite understand what differentiates these two things. Can't a magical power also be a super power? And do I have to choose one or the other? Let's be fair, with such a vague question you can't honestly expect me to choose one over the other. I'm taking both. I want super powers and magical powers. Why? Because in the event that someone figures out a way to neutralize my super powers, I'll still have a fallback with which I can whoop some major superhero ass.

Oh, what, you took my super ability to shoot energy beams out of my eyes? Yeah, well, I put a curse on you, fool! May you forever listen to the Sound of Music in your head, forever and ever and ever and ever.

Yeah, it's like that. But maybe I shouldn't be allowed to have any abilities. I think I might abuse them. I can imagine myself getting revenge on people who bother me, and that's not how super heroes are supposed to act.


If you have a question, whether silly or serious, about science fiction, fantasy, writing, or, well, whatever, feel free to leave it in the comments, email it to me at arconna[at]yahoo[dot]com, or tweet it to @shaunduke. If you liked this post, feel free to stumble it, digg it, tweet it, or whatever.


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  1. ...

    I like The Sound of Music. I sing it frequently.

  2. This is not my idea, but someone once told me that the best superpower would be able to hover your finger over something and have a little box of text pop up with a readymade joke. Sorta like hovering your mouse over an xkcd comic.

  3. Ellira: Eh, it's okay :P.

    Carr: Never heard that before. Might be interesting.

  4. See, I do that on purpose, a "vague" question you can do with whatever your heart desires!

    Turns out fun every time :>)

  5. I have a serious one for you: Has there ever been a fantasy book series to pull off the "save the world by collecting a group of shiny things" plot, or is that an exclusive video game schtick?

  6. Anonymous11:28 PM

    Weird as it sounds, I might have read books where people have urinated and defecated. No titles are coming to mind, but I'm pretty sure I have. Like maybe some Stephen King (a Vampire takes a piss in his novelette "The Night Flier") or OSC.

    In general, I don't think it's something anyone really wants to read... unless you swing that way.


  7. I've read books with urination and defecation but I'm not allowed to name them. xP But in those nameless books, it isn't weird, somehow. At least, not to me. It just seemed natural. The characters did everything else onscreen, I mean, on page.

  8. Anonymous5:16 AM

    Usually it just doesn't go into that detail. Like for example in Julie of the Wolves, a children's book, it describes a wolf peeing. It was something like "the wolf urinated," if I remember correctly.

    Personally, I don't want more detail than that. Any more detail is unnecessary.


  9. Hmm. The ads for this post are trying to sell me toilets . . .

    Anyway, if the story progresses in the bathroom, then a bathroom scene is necessary. Otherwise, not. It's the same reason we don't read about every character's meal.

    In my own fiction, I only bring up the need to go if my characters are prevented from going somehow.

  10. Mulluane: Well, questions are always welcome from you :P.

    SparklingBlue: Your question has been added to my queue.

    Croc: I hear you. I don't know if I am the kind of person who wants to read about such things, but it is a curious reality that a lot of books avoid it altogther.

    Tia: The ads are trying to sell you toilets? That's really bizarre!