Monday, April 20, 2009

A Letter to Wilkie Collins

From The Book Zombie (via buckeyegirl31--thanks for the idea!):

Time for another very cool mini-challenge. This time around Shannon from Flight Into Fantasy would like for us to write a letter to one of the characters from a
book we’ve been reading. It can be about nearly any topic we want, and
any character we choose.
The book I'm reading right now is Drood by Dan Simmons (and considering how long it is, the book I will be reading for a loooong time to come will be Drood), so I'm going to write a letter to the narrator of the tale, Wilkie Collins--author extraordinaire, laudanum addict, and close personal friend of Charles Dickens.

Dear Mr. Collins,

It may seem rather abrupt and rude to begin a correspondence thusly, but I would like to state first and foremost that I have read both your and Mr. Dickens's novels, and enjoyed neither; although The Woman in White did not, as my mother has stated for herself in reference to Mr. Dickens's literary efforts, "Made me want to kill myself." Therefor I was surprised at the relative clarity with which you wrote your manuscript on Mr. Dickens's obsession with the man named Drood, to be published 125 years after your and Mr. Dickens's death.

Your relationship with Dickens is quite curious, as you two seem to be very close friends; yet you find Mr. Dickens to be a careless companion, selffish, narcissistic, a terrible father, an even worse husband, and possessing of very little moral virtues. You also do not think much of his writing. It might be said that in your interpretation of Mr. Dickens's character, at least the one that you present here, he has absolutely no redeeming qualities. I wonder, then, why you spend so much time with him. Even if I were not aware of history and Mr. Dickens's failure to achieve immortality--outside of print, at least--I would guess that he is in for a Bad End.

During the course of your manuscript, you often address yourself to the readers of the distant future--this, obviously, would be myself. You wonder if we speak a language similar to your own, or if we have stopped speaking English altogether. You may be surprised, and undoubtedly relieved, by the fact that this letter is written in your English; but the truth, sir, is that I have led you terribly astray. We in the future do not speak as I am writing here at all; instead, we have been taken over by machines that instead speak in a code of ones and zeros. When we do bother to speak aloud, everyone speaks either French or Spanish. I am so, so sorry.

On the plus side, your novels are still in print and largely known to the general public (although many of them believe you to be a woman). I cannot wait to get back to your narrative of Mr. Dickens's self-destructive activities, and thus will conclude shortly, but allow me to say this, Mr. Collins: as bad as Victorian England is, the future is always potentially worse... or better.



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