Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Live Like Aragorn: How to Get Inside Your Favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy Works

So you've been captured by the perfect science fiction or fantasy work, it's dominated your life--evenings, mornings, bathroom breaks, even when your boss goes out to lunch and no one's around the office.  The story is beautiful, engaging, epic, and it brings your imagination to new heights, but how to your bring that same excitement into your day to day life?

Why, you try to live like one of your favorite characters, of course! Below, you'll find a list of ways you can spend your summer (or winter, for Aussie friends) making your favorite fictional worlds come alive!

Horseback-Riding: Seriously fun, if you've given it a chance, but what I'm talking about here is a longer commitment than the hour-long trail ride. There are places where you can put on your riding shoes and act as a cattle rancher for a few days, and others where you can tour around the countryside by horse. The most desired of these by your humble author is a horseback-riding trek through New Zealand, where you can gallop your way across lush green expanses with the mountains beside you for your desired period of time.

Fencing: People might try to warn you that hitting things with a sword isn't as fun as it sounds, but it totally is. If you are looking for an action-packed version of chess, this is the activity for you.

Archery: The recent popularity of several bow-wielding characters has led to a jump in the popularity of archery, and your local archery range most certainly has deals for bow rentals and quick instructions before you get out on the range and test your skills.  Pretend you are Katniss or Hawkeye as you line up the shot, and try to forget you are only ten feet away from your plastic target.

Martial Arts: It’s pretty fantastic to get the chance to kick some butt in real life instead of just vicariously through the characters of a novel.  It’s hard work and a great workout, plus you’ll feel more confident with your new badass self.

Renaissance Fairs: More frequent during the summer, these fairs offer eager readers the chance to step into another time, and frequently the guests dress up as often as the costumed entertainers. Recent iterations have focused on the medieval period, while others have centered around pirates or Vikings. Also, the food is fantastic!

Conventions: Get your costume together and attend one of these fantastic conventions, sometimes themed around a particular subgroup of science fiction or fantasy, though usually just a general collection of all that we sci-fi/fantasy buffs find awesome.  Here you'll find panels from your favorite creators and actors, as well as hundreds and thousands of like-minded individuals.

Quidditch: Well, this one is a bit obvious, but there you are.  There are quidditch teams across the country, usually organized through colleges and universities, and the rules are unclear to your humble author.

Running: Slap some of your favorite soundtracks onto your mp3 player and go for a run, preferably in the woods, and imagine you are mid-adventure as you explore some unknown, fantastical location.  I strongly recommend Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, Harry Gregson-Williams, and Howard Shore.  You can also try an immersive app like Zombies, Run! that makes you run to collect supplies while avoiding zombie hordes.

Superhero Bars: Are these your two favorite words?  Apparently there’s a superhero-themed dive bar in Brooklyn, NY called Gotham City Lounge, so explore in your area and find all the sci-fi/fantasy-themed restaurants and bars and then let your adventure begin!

What are your favorite ways to make scifi/fantasy works come to life?  Let us know in the comments!

By Jacqueline Porte