In his excellent Supergods, Grant Morrison describes donning an “ink-suit” and entering the fictional world of his characters. It’s not a novel concept (though his use of it in mainstream comics was) – authors have been writing themselves into their stories since the beginning. A favourite example is the unexpected appearance midway through Martin Amis’ Money of “writer Martin Amis” (at whose introduction, Kingsley Amis allegedly gave up reading his son’s book).
I’m a sucker for these kinds of metatextual shenanigans (which explains my love of Borges and At Swim Two Birds), but in making The Real the opposite has occurred. Instead of inserting ourselves into a fictional world, we are bringing fictional objects into the real world. We’ve made ‘for sale’ signs for the make-believe Werner Real Estate.
It’s as if we’ve journeyed across the divide (over to what Alan Moore dubbed a “unified field theory of fiction”) and returned with trophies. Like Coleridge’s paradisiac flower, they are tangible proof the fictional world exists. What I love most is how innocuous they appear, left propped against a wall or bookshelf, an incursion or seeping of the fictional into the actual.
It’s a mighty power, and we are accordingly judicious – I presume repeatedly bringing forth such artefacts would rip the fragile veil between the fiction-reality continuum and threaten widespread leakages. Because Fringe.