We here at The Spectacle, like all writers, strive to create characters who will be loved and remembered for a lifetime—maybe even for generations. That can happen in any genre (think of Shakespeare’s famous heroes and villains), but perhaps speculative fiction writers have an advantage because we are creating characters who are more—or less—than human. This helps them stand out against the thousands of characters who have to depend solely on their own human skills and personalities to be memorable. (Creating a great speculative character has its own challenges and risks, but that’s not the direction I’m going with this post.)
So who is the greatest speculative character of all time? Dracula? Frankenstein’s monster? Spiderman? Harry Potter?
I’ll cast my vote for Santa. You could call him a lot of things. A historical character who has changed over the years. A metaphor for love and generosity. A commercialized distraction to the real meaning of Christmas. A bribe/threat to get kids to behave. Regardless of your sociopolitical opinion, one thing is for sure, this jolly old soul has cemented his place in the hearts and minds of children and adults around the world.
A quick web search will find dozens of books on Santa. They range from historical to sweet to comedic, with art styles from realistic to cartoony. Most if not all are targeted at younger readers, 0-8, those who still Believe. Hmm, does this indicate an opportunity for middle grade/YA writers to create the next big speculative hero, to fill the gap after all the vampires, werewolves, fairies, zombies and mermaids?
Or maybe we should just leave Santa alone, in the happy world of childhood dreams.
Ho ho ho. Pass the eggnog!