Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Genre Character of the Week: Zane

Thinking back over the fantasy novels that most affected me as a teen, I’ve got to say that one of the most memorable was Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse, and most specifically the novel’s protagonist, Zane.

The world Zane inhabits is very similar to ours, but with magic considered a very real part of day-to-day life. It is in fact a run in with a magic gem merchant who cheats Zane out of a chance at love that brings the character to the decision to kill himself and the events of the novel.

Very much like the Tim Allen film, The Santa Clause, Zane is startled by the appearance of a fabled being (Santa for the film, Death for the novel) and is the cause of the persons death. Laws which govern the universe demand that the responsible party take over the job and that is the main thrust of the novel.

Zane must become death.

What I like best about Zane is how he asks many questions that anyone would in the same scenario, how he tries to do things that make sense for the reader and how he is awakened to the fantastic world that is death.

I love the idea of something so terrifying becoming fascinating, and I can’t think of a better character than Zane to show us the way*. Also the fact that the character and the book lead to one of my favourite shows of the last few years (Dead Like Me), gives it a big plus.

* I know that Terry Pratchett’s novel Mort follows many of the same concepts, but in that one Death takes an apprentice, so this works a little differently – plus I read On a Pale Horse much earlier in life.

No comments:

Post a Comment