Paracosms: Fictional Worlds from a Creative Perspective with Arthur McMahon
About This Show
Paracosms is an audio show about our favorite imaginary worlds. In each episode we explore a fantasy universe together and pull apart its building blocks. Every creation from Harry Potter to Star Wars will be put under the microscope. Creative influences, author intentions, and social impacts will be referenced. We will look at why these worlds were constructed and how they evolved over time.
Most Recent Episode
Middle-earth Was Not Made For You
6 days ago
J.R.R. Tolkien did not write his books for you or for me. Middle-earth was a personal project, firstly created for himself and his family. Tolkien originally wrote The Hobbit as a story for his own children, but after his breakout book became a great success he was convinced by his publisher and fans to create a sequel to Bilbo Baggins' adventure. Fans of The Hobbit wished for more of the same, wanting more dragons and whimsy.
But the author turned inward as he wrote The Lord of the Rings. Middle-earth darkened as the texts grew more dense over the years. Tolkien sought to please an academic audience that held no respect for fantasy literature, and instead he found that his works were being appreciated by a type of person he knew little about.
Soft Euphoria by Lee Rosevere
The Changing of the Seasons by Shadows on the Snow
When working on a creative project, authors tend to have an audience in mind. Writers of fiction are often told to fight against such thoughts. A story should be pure, constructed for the sake of creativity and not bound to the whims or desires of any individual. For generations college professors and successful authors alike have passed down to young writers the old saying: “Don’t write for others: write for yourself.”
But just how profound is such a statement? Authors write for others all the time. Publishers demand audience satisfaction. Sequels are the result of success and are usually just a way to exploit a captured audience.
So, just how important is it for a writer to write for themselves? Is it possible to achieve a balance between the two? To walk the tightrope between writing for yourself and for an audience? Yeah I think it is. And it’s possible for authors to reach other audiences outside of their intention.
Look at J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit. The story was originally written for his own children, its lore and legend a personal satisfaction meant to be retained by the author and his family. It was not meant to be read