Fictional Worlds by L. A. Alexander
Best Book of the Month – January 2014
Red City Review had the recent pleasure of reading L. A. Alexander’s “Fictional Worlds: Traditions in Narrative and the Age of Visual Culture,” the first volume in a new series entitled “Storytelling on Screen.” This hefty tome, started back in 2006, has been many years in the making, its ideas developed and sharpened after countless talks by Alexander at colleges and universities across the nation. Volumes 1 – 4, contained here, examine the many different facets of both visual and verbal storytelling, including genre, character, drama, and action. While the book places a special emphasis on modern film, it also cites numerous works of classic and contemporary fiction, making it an excellent learning tool for budding writers and filmmakers alike. The book is well engineered and easy to follow, with certain words and concepts placed in bold to highlight their significance and descriptive headings dividing chapters into digestible chunks. “Fictional Worlds” was created with moviemakers in mind, so it would easily fit into most film curricula, and other parts of the text would be useful resources for classic literature and fiction writing courses. However, this book’s true value lies in its universal appeal: there is truly something in here for interest to anyone, whether you plan on breaking into the film industry or not.
“Fictional Worlds” is grounded in the idea that we tell stories as a way to help explain why and what we feel, and to allow disparate peoples to connect through the power of well-told tales, a concept that extends to literature, film, music, and even video games. Most intriguingly, Alexander argues that our methods and forms of storytelling are connected to the very heart of human society and culture, which means that as our species navigates its way into a more globally integrated era, our stories will continue to grow and evolve with us. Looking back, it’s a simple theory to prove: we’ve already grown from cave paintings to cuneiform to fairytales to international blockbuster franchises like Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings, which verifies our desire to find common ground in a singularly human narrative.
To purchase a copy of “Fictional Worlds,” click here to find it on Amazon.