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Finding Truth in Fiction: What Fan Culture Gets Right--And Why It's Good to Get Lost in a Story
Author(s): Karen E. Dill-Shackleford, Cynthia Vinney
Published Date: 2020
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Being a fan of a popular film, television, or book franchise is something most of us enjoy. But, we may not be familiar with the scientific study of fictional narrative or of fandom. In this book, two media psychologists reveal the sometimes-paradoxical idea that fiction helps us find truth in our real lives. Whether you consider yourself a fan or whether you find yourself thinking of a particular fictional scene for inspiration, you are not alone. Perfectly sane people regularly admit that their favorite stories are important to them. Although journalists sometimes assume that the interest in the fictional world is a sign of trouble, the authors enthusiastically disagree. Because story worlds are social simulations, people use them to work out their values, decide how to handle similar situations, and even decide what kind of person they want to be. Although films and shows are widely spoken of as diversions or as escapism, there are many ways that they aren’t trivial at all. In this book, the authors explore how to understand the identity of a favorite character and the actor who plays the character. Are they the same person? They also delve into the nitty gritty of mental models for story worlds and timeless story arcs such as the hero’s journey. The moments that strike people as important can change as they age and move through different life stages. The authors’ conclusion: fans are not crazy. What fans are is human.