Sunday, 22 November 2015

Canadian Facts, Hidden in Fantasy Fiction

We like to separate writing into many genres, and sub genres, and mixed genres etc. It all gets really complicated, and frankly for me exhausting. So it might feel a little refreshing that all literature can be broken down in another much simpler manner by referring to the work as either fact, or fiction. Now some of you might be raising your hand in protest, or screaming inside your mind about possible exceptions , or hybrids, or some other valid points of contention to my statement. If you'd really like to debate the subject further by all means send me a message, but for now ask yourself has there ever truly been a novel written that is 100% truly fact, or fiction?

Even facts can be subjective, confused, mistaken, misunderstood, or in the course of time dis proven. All things considered non fiction as a genre at least has good intentions when it comes to relaying truths, but how good in some cases are the intentions of fiction writers when it comes to avoiding truths? I think that very few works of fiction are written without subtle truths intentionally hidden inside the writing for either the amusement of the author, or for the keen eye of the reader to discover.

The Incarnations of Joe series is fiction, and that is a fact that gives me comfort. The opinions, and the agendas of fictitious characters within the story are as fictitious as pink penguins, and say nothing about the authors personal beliefs or wishes (this I know because I am the author). Is there however even an ounce of  fact in the inspiration of the story? This question with a smile I must answer with a nod, and a yes.

While searching for a location, and a time period for this story to take place I came across several intriguing pieces of both fact, and folklore. Among these were the legends of the Nahanni Valley, or more specifically the Two Hundred Mile Gorge, also called The Valley of Headless Men. I was so intrigued by these stories that I decided to set my own story within this same region, and possibly allow for a fictitious explanation to existing legends. Have a look at this blog from Tales of the Weird which does a great job of summing things up.
It was from the most unlikely of sources that I ultimately found much of my inspiration for the story. It was this National Film Board of Canada film titled Nahanni which follows real world Canadian Albert Faille a gold prospector who spent many years searching for the lost McLeod mine that really inspired the setting for book one THE KEY. This 1962 short film takes place in the real world shortly after the fictitious story in book one THE KEY. The McLeod name can be found inside The Incarnations of Joe as a tribute of sorts to the legend, even though no direct connection is intended.  
So much of our movies, our books, and our media in general are dominated by American culture, and geography. If anyone ever thought that Canada does not have a culture, landscape, or legend worthy of both paper, and film then they should look a little further at the links in this post, or if you haven't already then perhaps read The Incarnations of Joe, Book One The Key with an eye for Canadian fact inside this great work of fiction. If you look hard enough, perhaps a few more secret truths can be found?