Adventures in Hyperreality
That ‘anything else’ brings me to another pair of lists, got up by M. John Harrison over at his blog around about the same time I was working up mine. They’re far more catholic than mine, don’t have an artificial end point, and include all kinds of stuff in addition to books: David Bowie’s 'Diamond Dogs' for instance, and Tom Waits’s ‘What’s He Building’. I stuck up a link to the video of the latter because I was going to write something appreciative about those lists, but then life (okay, mostly a big block of copy-editing) intervened and more than a week has passed. Anyhow, MJH’s lists are seriously playful, crammed as they are with ‘stuff that turned me on when I read it or watched it; or which still turns me on now’, and embody the kind of stuff that gets incorporated into writers’ creative juices. In a later post, MJH lays out another good boundary-demolishing, viewpoint-skewing thesis - a lot of the stuff in the happening world, from L’Oreal ads to Lewis Hamilton’s career, are fantasies as carefully constructed as any triple-decker post-Tolkein magical kings’n’queens commercial fantasy novel. Hyperreality rules.
Oh, and found over on John Crowley’s blog, here’s another great reading list: non-fiction books any good fantasy writer should study and absorb, structured around the topic of ‘Cultures We Really Evolved that are Stranger Than Any You can Think of.’ We need to be reminded as often as possible that the world is stranger than we can imagine.