Not so long ago one of my Friends (we’ll call her Amy), who had just read my contemporary fantasy novel Fight The Gods, pointed something out to me that I hadn’t really thought about: Fight The Gods is a romance.
Amy, you see, isn’t the world’s biggest fan of fantasy adventure. It was only because her fiance–we’ll call him Blair–dragged her to the Farpoint con in Timonium, Maryland that she saw Fight The Gods sitting on my table and got interested enough to secure a copy. Her hopes for it weren’t very high, I think. But she liked it. And she did so purely because she had discovered a thread that, for her, made the experience worthwhile. “It’s a romance,” she told Blair when she was done. Told him unequivocally, I might add, because Amy is pretty firm in her opinions.
To be honest, I had never thought of Fight The Gods in that light before. I was all focused on the protagonist’s journey of self-discovery, on the conflicts that shape him, on the deepening mystery, on the whiplash-inducing, roller coaster action of the plot. I wasn’t really thinking about true love.
Mind you, the protagonist’s girlfriend, a New York City cop, is no freakin’ Disney princess. She’s tough, no-nonsense, even caustic at times. But she’s deeply in love with our hero and he’s deeply in love with her. And if not for that love, there’s no adventure, no mystery, no self-discovery, no roller coaster.
Of course, all the good stories are romances. Not just in the modern boy-meets-girl (or some variation thereon) sense of the word, but in the original epic-striving-for-a-higher-ideal sense of the word. They involve putting someone or something on a plane higher than oneself.
Except Amy wasn’t talking about the latter meaning. She meant the hugging-and-kissing thing, the emotional attachment so intense that someone would risk everything–life and more–for his or her significant other. And in the case of Fight The Gods, she was absolutely right. It was a romance.
It was about a guy who loved high and far and a gal who returned that love, and the way in which they redeem each other across barriers mortals seldom cross. And in the end…well, in the end, you find out what the beginning was about. Because the end and the beginning of a book have a love affair all their own, now don’t they?
So…Fight The Gods? A love story. Go figure. It just goes to show: You Learn something new every day.