Posted in Aside

On suspending disbelief

I find the “willing suspension of disbelief” when reading fiction very odd. Not odd that it’s necessary for enjoyment of the story, but that the limits to how much disbelief we will suspend are so variable. The amount of sheer… rubbish… that we can accept in a good book can be enormous, yet at other times we require close adherence to reality.

Case in point: I’m a fan of science fiction and fantasy, so I can readily accept faster-than-light travel, magic and dragons — good grief, I love Doctor Who. I’m currently reading a book that’s a sort of supernatural police procedural, and this requires me to accept demonic possession, archangels on motorbikes, premonition and a few other totally impossible things.

Yet, when it came down to it, the thing I scoffed mightily at (and which has spoiled the book for me) is that the author expects me to believe that the Glastonbury festival takes place at the beginning of April!

Ludicrous idea.


It is an infallible law of the universe that people who have the greatest desire to share their musical listening with the wider world also have the crappiest taste in music.