Not everyone likes a happy ending

18 10 2013

I read a book when I was a kid. Xan it was called – I am told by the well known tax-avoiding e-shop that it is by Patrick Tilley, more famous for the Amtrak Wars series. Xan has always stuck in my mind because it was the first book I read which didn’t have a happy ending. I won’t spoil it for anyone who still has this old sci-fi novel as virgin territory but for a young reader it was an introduction to a new way of thinking.

A hero doesn’t always win.

Sometimes crime does pay.

Once I’d read this I saw it everywhere but mostly, like Star Wars, the baddies only won for a while. One battle, not the whole war.

I’ve read a few since. Some of which have been made into films. How many films don’t have a happy ending, don’t resolve the issues; they plan to leave the watcher floating out of the cinema in a happy bubble knowing all is right with the world? Ignore trilogies and series and think about it. How many don’t?

Films need a happy ending. Big budgets, big stars, audiences around the world, all need the happiness that the final screen kiss brings. Books don’t.

I don’t have Xan at home anymore. Lost or charity-donated in one of many bookshelf clearouts. I’m going to get another copy (even though out of print). Must be 20-years since I read it but it has always been a book I remember for opening my eyes to a new way of writing. I hope it has stood the test of time! And I hope I remembered the right name – I’ll look a right pillock if Xan is a jolly romantic romp!
However, the description at http://www.patricktilley.co.uk/xan/index.php, does resonate in my memory core.

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