Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Auralia and River Tam

Hi all:

Thanks to all who commented on yesterday's CSFF Blog Tour post. Today I'm going to write about a comparison I made almost immediately upon seeing the cover of Auralia's Colors between Auralia and another unusual character in a science fiction story, River Tam. (Those unfamiliar with the Firefly 'verse, click on River's name for a fansite about the cancelled television series and film.)

Here are some pics for comparison. Click on River's picture for a montage photo of her character.

Here are the points of comparison that struck me:
  1. They're both young girls, mysterious and wild, yet with uncanny powers to perceive the truth in others' characters.

  2. They both provoke both either admiration or fear in the hearts of others - depending on the states of those hearts.

  3. Both unintentionally cause trouble for the communities in which they reside, Auralia for the Gatherers and River for the crew of the Firefly starship, Serenity.

  4. Physically they're both slender and fit with long dark hair that sometimes tangles around their faces and hides their expressions.

  5. They also both engender fierce feelings from male siblings - Simon Tam, who actually is River's brother, and Maugam the Jailer, who spares Auralia because she reminds him so of his little sister.

I realize both my posts have talked about what Auralia's Colors is similar to, but I am not trying to suggest that Jeffrey Overstreet's work is only derivative. On the contrary, he takes standard fantasy settings, characters, and set-ups, and gives them his own touch in his own world of The Expanse.

Fantasy is a genre just like mystery, romance, or suspense, and thus has its certain familiar characteristics that appeal to fantasy readers. As with any other good genre author, Overstreet takes these set pieces and runs with them.




Karenee said...

Oh, lovely. Considering I loved both characters, I'm thrilled to see the similarities. Thanks for the illumination.

ForstRose said...

I am not familiar with the other character you mention but I agree that there are some things that make a book or film fit into certain categories. I also believe there are some that can't really be pigeonholed into one category and some that become formulaic and seem like copies of something else because someone is following what they think a romance or a fantasy or an adventure story or whatever it is should be instead of letting their own unique story become what it was meant to be and leave it for someone else to say we'll throw that in this section of the library or bookstore for whatever reason they dream up to do so.


C.J. Darlington said...

I've heard great things about Firefly. Now I'll have to check it out at Netflix!

Jeffrey Overstreet said...

I'd never thought of that, but you're right. It *does* look a little like River.

Wow, wouldn't Summer Glau (the actress that plays River) have been perfect to play Auralia when she was younger? I think so.

Thanks for the post, hrh!


hrh said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Great book and great series. I guess all the greats have something in common - that's what makes them great!