Protagonist problems

A review of Michael Kelly’s “Blink” in Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (ChiZine Publications, 2013).
By Derek Newman-Stille

Cover image of Imaginarium 2013 courtesy of ChiZine Publications
Cover image of Imaginarium 2013 courtesy of ChiZine Publications

Writing speculative fiction is pretty dangerous… your perceptions change to adapt to a world that is off-kilter from what we like to see as “the norm”, your understanding of the world shifts to adapt to a new worldview, and you create new worlds and new realities. But, what happens when your characters start to assert themselves, when, instead of being distorted by the reality you impose on them, they begin to impose their own reality on you, the author?

Michael Kelly’s short story “Blink” is an exploration of the distortions that come from writing. Writers explore other identities, other versions of themselves – “we all have some other version of ourselves, other identities” – and these parts, these little bits of ourselves that become our characters influence us, live within us. Michael Kelly explores what happens when a character assumes power in the author-character relationship and the author’s loss of control and focus of his thoughts. The story slips away as the character shifts, eludes narrative structure, and assumes dominance. This is a true horror for an author, when the character becomes the writer… after all, think about all of the horrors that authors regularly visit upon their characters….

To find out more about Michael Kelly, visit his website at . To read more about Imaginarium 2013, visit the ChiZine Publications website at .

Derek Newman-Stille

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