Ahh, that should attract the idle surfers of the internet...
Still, the matter is not frivolous, but should be considered with the earnestness due to it, with it being possibly the most important force in the human universe, with its sinister siblings 'hate' and 'indifference' always lurking somewhere near; always waiting to come to the fore.
What brought this one up, just to anticipate a certain friend's and reader's question, are the comments I solicited from some friends of mine: brief vignettes/comments on those books of mine which they have read; purely for my own nefarious purposes, namely to be used as written sound-bites when I get around to updating my webpages. Two replied, and for that I thank them.
Leaving aside the Tethys series, here are snippets from what one of them wrote about...
...with Continuity Slip Till gives us a contemporary world setting with 'normal' contemporary characters. The brilliance of this is that the lack of intricate background detail is what makes the story, as the world around the two protagonists [...] changes, the reader is left assured that whatever else is going on, the two 'real' characters are the same 'normal' people that they were presented to us as. As with his other novels Till gives us well realised characters, with realistic relationships and puts them through a variety of situations ranging from car crashes, murder, adultery and true love. A shorter read than Till's other works but very enjoyable.
...a world..with a history spanning back to the Roman Empire, populated by people of various races, creeds and beliefs. An alternate universe, the 'real' universe and the legend of King Arthur are all touched upon in this novel, as well as one of Till's favourite themes, true love. What begins with a helicopter lesson soon becomes a mystical journey, a romance, a pilgrimage and a pulp action adventure before the final confrontation and catharsis.
By way of disclosure it should be mentioned that the author of these comments, as well as another friend of mine, consider Continuity Slip their favorite. An interesting bit of information that I've yet to fully understand. I always considered it a 'lightweight' piece of reading; a vehicle for fictionalizing a notion I developed quite a few years back about the 'multiple universe' view of quantum physics. Definitely a debatable issue, especially as it was represented; but it was fun and easy. Written in a style that included lots, and I mean lots, of quick-exchange dialogue, almost to the extent of making the novel into a story-board for a screenplay; which I might yet tackle one of these days, difficult though it would be to convey the concepts involved. Definitely nothing for those short of attention span or requiring to have everything explained. Still, I am tempted to 'screenplay' this novel one day soon. It shouldn't be too expensive to make, as it would require no special effects of a 'fantasy' nature. And maybe I could scale the big highway car crash down a bit for budgetary reasons. No need to go for the Transformers or The Island extravaganzas; though it would, of course, be good, honest and utterly over-the-top fun! And it would also be a nice crash-bang-boom-whoosh grabber to start off with, after which the apparent action flick would soon turn into a parallel universe murder mystery romance. Works for me, but who else??
Back to the topic at hand:
The writer of the reviews above also did me a major favor—meaning I owe him big-time—by reading Seladiënna twice; the second time being a proof-read pass where he found some kind of questionable orthographic, grammatical and/or stylistic element on just about every second page. I owe him a great deal for that, because Seladiënna is finally clean enough to be put into wide circulation; which is what I have done.
Anyway, my buddy makes me sound like I could have penned The Princess Bride. Which I didn't, but there's some truth in what he wrote.
Thing is that without whatever 'true love' is, and it has a gamut of possible expressions!, human existence by and large would actually be quite...well, maybe 'dull' isn't quite the word. I was looking more for something like 'colorless'; possibly even 'meaningless', especially for non-religioids like me; and definitely less fun and intense.
Quoting one of the movie's taglines:
Scaling the Cliffs of Insanity; Battling Rodents of Unusual Size; Facing torture in the Pit of Despair. True love has never been a snap.
Sounds about right, doesn't it? The stuff we do for true love...
It is true enough; there's always a dose of sex and violence in my stories. And so what? Sue me if you want, or simply don't read the stories. I love the way my friend wrote about a 'pulp action adventure'. That, in the context of everything else, is possibly the greatest compliment anybody ever paid me, or Seladiënna for that matter. The ultimate inverted-snobbery pat-on-the-back for the likes of me. I bathe in the warm glow of the compliment.
Point to remember though: sex and violence for their own sake are devoid of meaning. A discussion of this issue can be found in The Chatterley Affair, a 2006 made-for-TV BBC drama. It's not for kiddies, but worth a watch.
But what is 'true love'??
Ahh, now here's the rub. And I'm not going to stand or sit here and risk my tenuous credibility by attempting even a shadow of a definition. But let me put it this way: like with everything else in 'life', the concept needs to be grounded in more than just other concepts; that is, it needs to have roots in life, action, example. And something as complicated and unquantifiable as 'true love' is defined at best by instances of its occurrence; and then people like my friend can go and point and say "true love". Obviously the writer of the comments above 'saw' is there, meaning that whatever was described in the novels for him registered as instances of 'true love'; and this must suffice.
I know this sounds like me saying "buy the damn books and figure it out yourselves".
Well, maybe I am, but the truth is that saying anything else would not just be foolish but untrue to my beliefs about what's what. If it were different I might as well descend into the bilges of human thought and join the hordes of self-help book authors.
Thanks, but no, thanks.