CS Lewis’s storytelling style (especially in the Narnia books)
JRR Tolkien’s writing style
George MacDonald’s writing style
I’m reading Phantastes, which is like one of his best books, and it’s so beautiful!! It’s one of my favorites ever, and I’m halfway through it.
He’s the father of modern fantasy, like without him, there would be no Narnia, Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings, and even Alice in Wonderland. You guys should check him out
This is legit. George MacDonald's prose style is old-fashioned and sometimes overwrought to a modern ear, but The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie were huge formative influences for me. (Also The Lost Princess and The Golden Key and Other Stories, and to a lesser extent At The Back of the North Wind. Not so much his adult fantasy books Lilith or Phantastes, which I disliked as a teen and have yet to re-read, but that’s just me.)
The OP isn’t kidding about his influence on Narnia and LotR, either. If you’re a Tolkien fan and you haven’t read The Princess and the Goblin, for instance, you may well be surprised by how much of it seems familiar…
That is a lovely and heartening thing to hear, Anon. Thank you so much!
I think I have a vivid imagination. So many of these things I can say “I know what you mean!” about, but I don’t know if I really do or I just imagine that I could. Definitely seems to be in my brain rather than actual perception…
Well, there are two kinds of synesthesia: associative and projected. Associative is actually quite a bit more common, meaning that the majority of synesthetes do not actually SEE colours and shapes floating before their eyes or superimposed on the letters and numbers they read, but rather their minds persistently associate a colour or texture or smell or taste with certain graphemes or sounds.
Real synesthesia is consistent over time, however, and doesn’t require concentrated thought because the associations are ingrained and automatic. So if you have to ponder what personality or gender or colour or taste the number 3 might have, then you’re probably not a synesthete. But if someone asks “What direction is Tuesday?” and without stopping to think about it you immediately point up and to your left (or whatever), you likely do have synesthesia.
Those are just examples, of course. There are many different kinds of synesthesia, and no two synesthetes’ impressions or associations are exactly alike. For more information, I highly recommend checking out the excellent Tumblr a-synesthetic-world!
Definitely! Both Sound -> Texture and Sound -> Colour are well documented forms of synesthesia. If you’d like to test yourself online and see what other types of synesthesia you may have, check out the Synesthesia Battery.
*is fiercely envious of your so-called useless superpowers*
These might just look like books to you, but they taught me so much about myself.
When I picked up Ultraviolet, I’d never heard of synesthesia. I never though about the colours of words much because I thought everyone saw them. I never questioned why I might consider a certain song purple or green, or why the fire alarm sounded red. There was nothing particularly fascinating about the colours. They were just an everyday part of life that no one talked about- who’d want to talk about something as boring and normal as that?
To start with, I didn’t really identify with Alison. Her colours were different to mine. I thought this was what made her unusual. But then, this quote cropped up:
‘Associating numbers and letters with colour is one of the most common forms of synesthesia.’
Woah. Put the book down. Mind blown. Reevaluate life. One though: ‘YOU MEAN THIS IS A THING?!’.
I’ve got to admit, to start with, I thought my synesthesia was somehow broken, because I wasn’t seeing the colours in the physical space and I didn’t see the triangle in the test. It looked black and white to me, but I knew that 5 was pink and 2 was blue. So… Research time!
Yep, it turned out that seeing the colours in your mind was synesthesia. I found out that synesthetes could be split into two basic categories: associators and projectors. I’m an associator, and someone like Alison, who saw the colours ‘out loud’, would be a projector.
After a while, I realised I didn’t just have the one type. I also saw shapes as colours (i.e. triangles are green and squares are red) and sometimes sounds, songs, and occasionally smells. Some sensations, too. Having pins-and-needles is purple with lots of dots of green, and it sort of looks like when the TV is snowing. Being hungry has always been yellow.
After that, I thought I knew everything about myself. What else could there be to discover?
Fast forward a few months to when I’m nearly fifteen. All my friends were (and still are) boy mad. Personally, I couldn’t see the attraction. Boys were just boys, whether they had their shirts on or not. My best friend suggested I might be a lesbian, but that wasn’t right. Girls were also just girls. I didn’t want a relationship and there was nothing more off-putting than the thought of the ‘s’ word. Admittedly, I was only fourteen (and still am only fifteen), but there are some things you just KNOW.
Then I found out there was a sequel to Ultraviolet, called Quicksilver. I knew it was coming out soon, but I was really pleasantly surprised when I saw it on the shelf in Waterstones. My reaction? Grab it and buy it quick, of course?
It was a bit of a change, reading from Tori’s perspective after Alison’s, but I soon got into it. What made me happy was that Tori (I just can’t think of her as Niki) seemed to have no interest in a relationship. I felt more normal, but I was also certain it wouldn’t last. She’d probably start going out with someone in a few chapters.
And then, this happened:
‘I’m not sexually attracted to anyone. Ever.’ And it seemed to be a normal thing.
Hello, moment of shocked amazement. Talk about deja vu. Ultraviolet, round two. Okay. Book down. Stare at the page. Now keep reading, see what else she says about it.
Oh, it’s got a name. Asexual. And it’s a real orientation.
More shocked silence.
‘HALLELUJAH, I’M NORMAL!’
These books completely changed the way I saw the world- and myself. I’m not Joanna Average. I never was. My name is Emma, and the colours that are so obvious to me may not be obvious to everyone else. I read the rainbow and listen to shades of everything. I don’t want a girlfriend and I don’t want a boyfriend, and you know what? That’s okay. I’m not crazy or a freak. I’m a synesthete and asexual.
To quote Alison, this is my story.
We seriously need to get RJ Anderson to see this.
MAKE RJ ANDERSON FIND THE THING!
Oh gosh, yes! She should know the impact her books have had on this girl’s life!
EVERYONE, NEW GAME! MAKE RJ ANDERSON FIND THE THING!
I FOUND THE THING
I LOVE THE THING
I HAVE SOMETHING (THIS THING) IN MY EYE RIGHT NOW
Wow. This means a lot to hear. More than I can even articulate at this moment. Thank you, OP. Thank you all.
Man with synesthesia creates map of London underground according to how each station ‘tastes’.
My UK publisher is right between Purple Grapes and Fruit Cake and Dripping (ew?). Last time I was in the UK and went there to visit, I parked at Potato Pancake and took the Metropolitan line (I really wanted to say Neapolitan line, but it probably isn’t) as far as Burnt Jam Roly-Poly. Then we went down to Apple Pie to see my agent.
I’m a bit sorry I didn’t actually get to taste the apple pie.
I feel R.J. Anderson’s books as bright flashes of colour, the scent of cinnamon (I don’t know why, I just do) and swirls of happiness…
I love to savour everything about R.J. Anderson’s stories. From the characters to the descriptions, I need to be fully focused on the story because it’s an entire package. Sensory overload, but in a good way.
Review of Swift from Beyond Books (04/24/2012)
I have a special place in my heart for this review, for obvious reasons. It’s delightful to know that even my non-Ultraviolet books can still induce synesthesia.