Fiction with Friction
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Can a story change the world? Can it mend the broken bones of our society? Can fiction create enough friction to create change on a global, even local scale?
For many people art is considered a frivolous luxury, something to be consumed casually, a form of entertainment. To be an effective art form, fiction needs to entertain, without being onerous. Is it frivolous? Absolutely, and becoming more so. A single book is often read once before being lost to the abyss of the readers collection.
But can fiction generate enough friction to change the world? A book can change an individual's world. The Silver Sword, by Ian Serraillier changed mine as a young boy. Papillon, The Count of Monte Cristo, Zorba the Greek... these books all changed my personal world, but has a book genuinely changed the world of the many? The religious tomes? For sure, but they're not fiction (some might disagree). Books that have been turned into movies and TV? Perhaps – they have a better chance for cultural change. So, consider the biggest selling books of all time, surely they have the best chance to change world. Harry Potter, Twilight, The DaVinci Code, Gone with the Wind... hugely popular books, but did they change the world?
Many books on their own may have changed the world of the individual because the relationship between book and reader is entirely personal. But can a book create so much friction that it can change the world view of the many?