This week’s post will be the last installment of Favourite Fictional Worlds answering the_rck’s question on what my favourite fictional world is. But only until I find a shiny new world to talk about! I’ve been having fun writing up these little comments and blurbs, so I reserve the right to randomly add new posts as I discover new worlds to talk about.
So before we get to this week’s post: what are some of your favourite fictional worlds?
And now, for this week’s post, I’ll be looking at Elizabeth Barrette’s Polychrome Heroics series. Again, there will be links rather than excerpts.
Other People’s Settings: Elizabeth Barrette’s Terramagne
Like Frankenstein’s Family, Polychrome is online-reading only. Also unlike the other verses we’ve had save that one, Polychrome is a series of interconnected poems rather than interconnected prose. Most, though if I recall all, of them are free verse and read much like prose, though, so if you’re wary of poetry please don’t let the word scare you and give them a go anyway. You might be surprised!
Anyway! I think, out of all the settings I’ve discussed this year, this is possibly the biggest in terms of what’s available to a reader. Want mostly comforting, happy-ending gay romance and coming-of-age stories? Try Stan and Lawrence’s thread. Want chosen-family dynamics with all the diversity and people settling into having things go right (albeit with a lot of work)? Try Danso and family’s thread. Want college settings? Try Damask’s thread. Prefer to root for villains you can’t help but empathise with? Try Dr Infanta’s poems. Want to see a transgender superhera? Look at Calliope’s poems. Want to know how superpowers affect daily life? Take your pick of pretty much any poem in the series! (The list goes on. Basically, if you want to read it, chances are Polychrome’s got something for you.)
So what is it about the setting that I love so much? Well, to be fair, it’s not the superheroes and their superpowers because I’ve never been a huge fan of those. Honestly, I”m probably one of the few people who manages to dislike stories because they’re about superheroes. There are exceptions. A handful of them. Polychrome is one of them.
Polychrome is one of them for oh so many reasons. (And yes I really do need to get a move on and read more, so I can vary Polychrome squeeing with other awesomeness squeeing. Like P.I.E.! Anyway.) I love the personalities in Polychrome and the diversity. Clue’s in the title there. If you’re looking for a diverse cast, this is a very good series to look at. In all ways. Diversity is everywhere! Absolutely everywhere.
Part of that is the fact that the overarching setting is about showing that ‘hero’ isn’t about what kind of powers you have. It’s about what you do with the powers you’ve got. And whether that power is supernatural strength or just plain being good at negotiations or, heck, making toys… It takes the words ‘anyone can be a hero’ and shows you just how multifaceted that phrase actually is.
Many of the poems in the series are comfort reading material. They’re hopeful and positive and invariably have a clear theme and idea to muse on. (If you like your fiction darker, there are plenty of those too. They’re just not the focus.)
I love the characters. They’re liveliness and realism, their strengths and flaws and their ability to learn and grow and change and. Just everything. <3
Polychrome as a setting takes place mostly in an alternate version of the US, but not all poems are set there and even in the AU!US setting you’ll find plenty of locale variation. Some poems are set in the Maldives. Recently (as I write this anyway) a poem set in Ireland went up.
It’s hands-down one of the most inclusive and diverse settings I’ve had the pleasure of reading no matter what aspect of diversity you want to look at. <3