Name: Logan Judy
Location (as I am wondering if it is regional)?: Northern Indiana (Remington)
Bio: Logan Judy is a fantasy, science fiction, and dystopia author who began writing when he was 12 years old. Nine years later, he published his first novel, Finding Sage, and the sequel a year later. He currently lives in Indiana with his wife Rebecca and her Don Quixote-esque guard dog, exploring new worlds and writing new stories.
How do YOU define fantasy/science fiction? Both science fiction and fantasy can be broadly defined as stories existing outside of our own present terms of reality. Either you have science fiction, granting things plausible but not yet discovered or invented, or you have fantasy, existing outside of plausible reality altogether. I love that definition because it leaves a great realm of possibilities open to us as writers. So if I want to write fantasy, I don’t have to stick to wizards, elves, dragons, and vampires; I could create something entirely new!
If you’re a writer how do you portray heroism in your books? The hero as a literary construct has been given a very rigid definition by literary critics: a young person, usually male, who receives a call to action, rises through challenges with the help of a mentor, experiences a metaphorical (or literal) death and rebirth, then returns home to glory while having become a different person through self-knowledge. It’s neat, clean, and defined. I don’t like that about it.
When it comes to heroism in my books, I like to concentrate on one theme in particular: sacrifice. There are many things that can make a hero, including bravery, strength, saving people, and conquering great things, but to me, a hero is someone who will sacrifice themselves for somebody else. Beyond that, I like to leave it wide open. So that might fit some or even a lot of those typical definitions, but it also leaves a lot of room open for stories that maybe haven’t been done before in quite the same way. So you could have the aforementioned scenario, or you could have a young woman who sacrifices herself to save her little brother without the help of a mentor, and without a rebirth or return. She’s every bit the hero that Frodo is.
It has been argued fantasy is full of ‘tropes’ – what are your views on this? It most definitely is . . . just like every other genre in fiction. Nearly all romance has a formulaic progression to it, but that doesn’t keep A Walk to Remember from making me cry. The book about small town wonders has been written scores of times, but that didn’t keep me from thoroughly enjoying Dandelion Wine. There’s a logical fallacy in assuming that just because there are ‘tropes’ that there’s no originality within that. Different writers can have different takes on the same ideas and concepts. Dracula is nothing like Twilight which is nothing like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, yet all feature vampires, so that’s less a criticism than an acknowledgement of classic influences – or at least it should be. In fact, some of the best and most exciting fantasy I’ve read in recent years have been interesting takes on classic tropes, as opposed to completely new inventions.
How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable? If you substitute the word ‘consistent’ with ‘plausible’ then absolutely it does. But there’s a great deal of difference between the two. In science fiction, for example, plausibility is a key part of the appeal. Classic writers like Jules Verne and George Orwell were so successful because their stories were just close enough to reality to make us imagine that they could be prophetic. But when it comes to fantasy, we have something different altogether. That a dark lord could make magic rings and bind everyone to them in a land filled with elves, dwarves, halflings, and orcs is not plausible, and yet Lord of the Rings is enormously successful–because it is consistent. The rules of the world make sense because of the willing suspension of disbelief. So the premise of the world in science fiction and fantasy doesn’t necessarily have to be plausible, but internal consistency is non-negotiable.
What science fiction/fantasy has influenced you most? What would you say the most influential writers/film-makers? I grew up on fantasy, particularly the Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, as well as more contemporary works such as the Percy Jackson series, Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle, and the Star Wars saga. But of those, I would only ascribe Lewis as a strong influence on my writing. Since becoming a young adult, I have been progressively influenced by science fiction and dystopia writers, particularly George Orwell and Ray Bradbury (although the latter of those claims to have written only one science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451, labeling his other works such as Something Wicked This Way Comes as fantasy). I especially identify with Ray Bradbury; if you read interviews where he talks about his writing method, that’s exactly how I operate.