Today, there are more ways than ever to get your fiction fix. Novels, musicals, comic books, movies, television shows, and video games have all dabbled in the realms of the strange and other worldly. They each have their own avid fans, claiming that their medium of choice is the best. Complicating the matter even more is the fact that many stories and franchises have crossed over into multiple forms of media.
So, how do you decide which way is the best way to enjoy a certain story?
You could play it as a video game, fully immersing yourself in the story by taking in the sights and sounds of the world from the perspective of the main character. The screen becomes your eyes and the game controller becomes an extension of your hands, which can impact what happens in the game-world. However, many games require an immense amount of time to complete, and bring with them a steep learning curve.
You could immerse yourself in a story through reading a book. The words translate into images in your mind, creating an experience of the story and characters completely unique to you. However, it is hard to have a communal experience when reading a book.
You could experience a story through a movie or a television show. This provides the auditory and visual simulation, and the potential for human interaction over the same set of images and sounds. However, film has long been criticized as providing an incredibly biased view of a story, often limited by the conventions of society at large and the whims of the industry.
You could read a comic book or graphic novel – a unique combination of images and words that seems to combine the best of movies and novels. The motion takes place through the same process of internalization that takes place in reading a novel. However, the combination of images and words can easily go wrong, leading to something either incoherent or redundant.
So, what is the best way to enjoy a science fiction story? Personally, I usually like to experience a story in the medium it was first created in. But that isn’t a requirement by any means. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy made an excellent transition from radio to novels. Comic books continue to be a resource to which film and TV creators turn to with varying results.
Maybe all the ways are the best way to experience speculative fiction. Great stories can be found in all traditional media formats and creative people continue to find new and exciting ways to tell stories. Whether you’re settled in your medium of choice, or dabbling in a little bit of everything, I hope you find stories that fit your interest and give you beautiful moments of revelation.