Fiction: The Evolution of Truth
Copyright 2017 SUCCESS AKPOJOTOR
Published by SADAViD
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Fiction, because of its multiplicity, has evoked diverse views and concepts which subject it, most times, to irrelevance. When one hears of, or sees, “fiction”, what come to one’s mind are imaginary people, unreal events, non-factual accounts and the likes. Some further advance the concept to the phase where it is philosophized that fiction has no real-life application, that it is divorced from fact and reality, a fabrication and distortion of the truth. No wonder such words as fabrication, invention, lies, fibs, untruth, fantasy, falsehood and nonsense are synonyms of fiction. One can assert that people of today now walk the same path with Descartes who believed beyond conviction that fiction misleads humans to believe the absolutely impossible.
An air that also fans aglow the embers already created by Descartes is Coleridge’s theory of suspension of disbelief. It is no doubt that many a homo sapien read, and would want to read “fiction” with their bars of protection down, believing that whatever would be stumbled upon is useless, perhaps use-free. For instance, after reading the novel Purple Hibiscus, which has a vivid subject matter and themes of fanaticism, hypocrisy, military dictatorship and feminism which are very true, the reader would still say to himself: “It is not true!”
Some would still dismiss Half of A Yellow Sun as a ‘historical fabrication’ and fail to read beyond the lines in order to see the truthful and real themes of war (precisely the Nigerian Civil War), Nigeria’s post-colonial politics, African identity, western journalism, marriage, etc. In a nutshell, ‘readers’ and ‘critics’ of fiction suspend, simultaneously, belief and disbelief while they handle any form of fiction. Thus, they ignore, ridicule and denigrate fiction and its forms; and yet cannot avoid what they ignore, ridicule and denigrate. Like Nicodemus came to Jesus by night (John 3: 1-2), they find themselves running to the bosom of fiction to seek relief from life’s questions.
Another bedeviling factor is familiarity which is a fertile soil for contempt to germinate and thrive on. Many fiction authors have become ‘too close’ to the reader and prospective reader: their (the authors’) lives are public issue. They know what the author can die for and what (s)he abhors. They are aware of his/her political affiliation and sexuality. They are in the know of his/her worship mode and medium: if the author is a Christian apologist or an atheist, or any other belief system. So, when an author of fiction publishes any fictional form, ‘cynics’ would buy or download a copy only because they need to cook up a loop hole and propaganda; and reply with a destructive review. Many an author and his works have been prejudicated.
Authors and publishers of fiction, especially of prose and drama forms, are architects, to an extent, of the misfortune of fiction. How inept the moment when one takes up any novel or closet drama and, first things first, reads a disclaimer: ‘this is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is entirely coincidental’.
The function of a disclaimer on the copyright page of any fictional form is to deface it and strip it of its veracity, to break its strength and charm.
Notwithstanding the blame already resting on the shoulders of authors and publishers, it is not entirely their failing: A subsidiary of MGM Holdings – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer – was sued in 1934 by Princess Irina Alexandrovna of Russia over a 1931 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film Rasputin and the Empress. Princess Irina and her husband, Felix Yusupov, believed that the character- Princess Natasha- raped by Rasputin in the movie was intended to represent the Princess Irina. After [objectively] seeing the movie twice, the jury at the English Court of Appeal verdict that the Princess had been a victim of defamation of character, and she, and her husband, was awarded one hundred and twenty-seven thousand and three hundred and seventy-three dollars ($127 373) in damages.
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In this rich and sweeping criticism, Success Akpojotor calls to the carpet the idea of fiction as many people deem it. He convinces the reader beyond every reasonable doubt that Fiction is not what it is. Fiction: The Evolution of Truth recounts the origin of the word fiction and its true meaning and what this discovery means for us - both readers and writers of fiction- today. Fiction: The Evolution of Truth chronicles the forgotten truth - the true meaning of fiction.