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Old 12-09-2006, 09:53 PM   #20
After a brisk nap
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I'm not a big fan of The Neverending Story (I loved Momo and Jim Knopf as a kid, but always found TNS to be a bit forced, as if the author wasn't quite able to believe in his creation), so I have a hard time seeing it as a dazzlingly original masterpiece.

It occurs to me that the original "two worlds" story is of course Lewis Caroll's "Through the Looking Glass". It may not have been the first, but it exerted tremendous influence on everything that followed.

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Originally Posted by Simo Sakari Aaltonen View Post
There are numerous similarities, but the major ones that come to mind right now include:

The title. The Neverending Story. The Longest Journey. They couldn't call it neverending, so they called it really long instead, and a journey rather than story (it is a quest game).
Or Ursula Le Guin's "The Farthest Shore". Arkadia is arguably more similar to Earthsea than to Fantasia, especially in Dreamfall.

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The twin worlds of Fantasia/Arcadia and harsh reality or science (called Stark in TLJ). What's happening to them and why. The big nothing or chaos (this really nails it for me) eating up the world of imagination.
I don't remember much of that from TLJ. Are you talking about Dreamfall as well? There doesn't seem to be a close parallel to The Balance in TNS.

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The troubled father-child relationship. Dragons.
Dragons? Seriously?

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The stories-within-stories theme.
Again, maybe in Dreamfall, but not really a huge factor in TLJ (which uses only a simple framing device).

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It's the whole premise, not just the twin-worlds setting. But I'm okay with anyone disagreeing with me on this, so I won't press the point further. I would have no problem with any of this except that TLJ seems to have nothing to add on the subject.

Taking a brilliant concept (and this applies to the topic in general) in order to develop it that much further would be perfectly fine (standing on the shoulders of giants as they say), but just taking the concept and doing less with it than the original, well, strikes me as pointless.

It's as if Mr Tørnquist wanted to tell a story that had already been told and couldn't escape the original's orbit. (In case there is any doubt, I enjoy many aspects of TLJ.)
Well, I think his decision to move the "regular world" part into the future and science fiction was quite clever (not that combining science fiction with fantasy is a radically new idea). And the idea (in Dreamfall) that we are controlled by how we dream strikes me as a pretty strong metaphor in the age of FOX News.

The concept is so well-used that it seems unlikely there would be much to add to it. Ragnar Tørnquist isn't so much standing on the shoulders of giants as on a heap of writers that came before him. Ende among them, but maybe not at the very top.
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