January 2010 – Feature Article

A funny thing happened when I sat down to write the Feature Article this month on Dan McGirt’s Hero Wanted.  I found I had nothing to say other than the obvious.  Read this book!  It really is that simple.

If the point of a book is to entertain, then McGirt’s rollicking fantasy is flawless.  It is a witty, humorous, reluctant-hero-saves-world-gets-girl romp with a dash of jaded crabby wizard thrown in – how could you possibly go wrong with that?  I read Hero Wanted so fast that I’m sure I missed much of the dry humor, and I should probably read it again just to catch it all – Moonbuckles still has me in stitches every time I think of it!

Of course, it wouldn’t be much of an article if I just stopped here, although McGirt certainly wouldn’t mind if you stopped reading and just started with his book.  I got to thinking, however, about how much skill it takes to write a parody like Hero Wanted while still remaining serious enough not to degenerate into farce.

I write every single day, and I could write for a thousand years and never pull something off like McGirt’s Hero Wanted – then again, I would never be able to do standup comedy either.  Obviously there needs to be some natural ability to even attempt to pen something like this, but the question I have is: how hard is it to wordsmith something like this?  My gut tells me that effort to create a fantasy parody is much more difficult than a more traditional fantasy novel.  Perhaps if you have the innate ability, the craft is not that difficult, but I certainly know that I could not do it.  Humor and sarcasm are difficult when moved from the spoken word to the written word, as many of us may know when a joke or a quip falls flat in an email or text message.  I think it is a rare gift when someone can pull it off as successfully as McGirt has done in Hero Wanted.

Now, I must confess that I have no real experience with this sub-genre of fantasy, having never read Bored with the Rings or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, although McGirt’s Hero Wanted has now had me add both of those to my reading list; therefore, I cannot comment on how Hero Wanted compares to these classics in the genre.  What I can say, however, is that if those two are better than Hero Wanted, then they must be phenomenal.

So to summarize this shorter than usual Feature Article: just get yourself a copy of McGirt’s Hero Wanted and read it.  It can be downloaded from Smashwords for free, but do Dan a favor and pick up a copy off Amazon.  Hopefully, with some royalties coming his way, he’ll pen some more tales of Jason Cosmo for us!

P.A. Seasholtz

Creator of the Harmony of the Othar Saga. Visit the site at www.heartofhauden.com.