Posted by: Kathleen Mix | February 27, 2014

Stranger Than Fiction

Some of the magazine articles I’ve read recently involved topics that could be considered stranger than fiction. For example, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is making plans to use unmanned aerial drones to deliver packages in the future. Scientists are developing plants that glow in the dark, with one possible use being to replace sidewalk and driveway lights. Marijuana sales are now legal in several states, but banks aren’t allowed to handle money from the sale of federally illegal substances. So marijuana dealers are forced to keep sizable amounts of cash in their possession and must constantly worry about being targeted by thieves. Robbers are stealing the horns from rhino heads mounted and displayed on the walls of European museums and selling the horns for large sums on the black market.
Stranger than fiction? Maybe not entirely. Many great books have been written with stranger elements in the plots without being considered science fiction or fantasy. The big difference between real life and fiction is believability. If an author presents an idea or event in a convincing and logical manner, readers nod and accept the possibility.
Life becomes strange when reality is farfetched, confusing, contradictory, or difficult to comprehend. When no author has written the words to explain how an event could occur or why something is possible, we shake our heads in disbelief. When we hear about people doing outlandish things with no explanation of why or how, we question the story’s veracity and wonder if someone is pulling our leg.
Fiction, however, must explain why and how in a logical manner and supply answers before a question is asked. Well-written fiction can make us believe practically anything by giving it the appearance of reality. The reason we say life is stranger than fiction boils down to one basic premise: fiction must make sense. Life? Not so much.

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