Sunday, 20 September 2009

Why Is Fantasy Fiction So Popular?

Why, indeed? I was asked this by a colleague who could not understand why anyone would enjoy reading, or even watching, fantasy fiction. A strange question from a man who has the entire Star Wars CD collection. I pondered an answer and told him I'd have to get back to him later. I really didn't have an answer at the time. Now I did have thoughts float through my brain about escapism and such, but after careful reflection, I think that there may be deeper roots to the question.

I think most people who enjoy fantasy are those who are lacking something in their own lives (not a bad thing) or are harbingers of a great emotional creativity that has no other outlet than through visual "pretendness." Let me clarify this.

By lacking, I am not referring to something bad at all. This could be a lack of imagination. Being unable to fantasize as a child, you know, the whole "invisible friend" thing. Lacking creative or intellectual stimulation. Fantasy may be a way for these people to experience the spark that enables them to imagine or pretend for that brief book or movie time. Or maybe it is just about escaping from the humdrum of a boring existence and getting some excitement for a change. A lack of more desirable life.

Those with a greater creative or intellectual spark may find fantasy a way of extending their own hopes of dreams of a better world where magick rules and anything is possible. Fantasy could be the stimulating factor in a new theory, a new invention. We've seen many things that were pure science fiction only a few years ago, become pure science fact today. Could the magick, the creatures, and the adventures of the fantasy realm become just as real? The human imagine knows no bounds and neither does fantasy.

I suppose my answer will be a short synopsis of the above comments. It lets us escape. It stimulates our emotions and our imaginations. It lets us be someone or something else for a small moment of time. Fantasy fiction makes us real humans. No wonder it's so popular.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

New GMRS Book Already Causing Controversy

The publication date of my new book, “The Complete Guide to Canada’s General Mobile Radio Service: How to Get the Most Out of Our Nation’s Licence-Free, Fee-Free, Two-Way Radio Service”, ISBN 978-1-895391-20-6, is not until October 1, 2009, and already I hear through channels that some things discussed in the book are controversial and might ruffle feathers of those in the radiocommunications industry.

It seems that some manufactures of two-way “business-exclusive” radios are pissed off how I compare their two-watt UHF handheld radios to the two-watt GMRS radios, effectively telling readers that instead of paying hundreds of dollars for one of these “business-exclusive” radios, that they can buy a pair of GMRS for around fifty dollars. Both types of radios perform the same and have essentially the same features. The only advantage “business-exclusive” radios have over GMRS radios is that the channels are not as accessible to the public. However, the big advantages GMRS have are many; purchasers do not need to licence the radios; they do not need to licence the frequencies; there are no rental fees, airtime fees, usage fees, monthly fees, or any other fees to operate GMRS radios. In fact, GMRS is TOTALLY licence and fee free. The ONLY thing you pay for with GMRS is the cost of the radios, which are usually sold in pairs and most pairs go for UNDER one hundred dollars.

With “business-exclusive” radios, you have to either buy each radio at one hundred fifty to three hundred dollars each, or pay a monthly rental fee for each radio. Then you have to pay a licence fee for each radio. Plus a licence fee for each frequency. Then you have to pay a fee to renew those licences. And like GMRS, you have to share the frequencies with other users. Therefore, “business-exclusive” is not that exclusive, especially in a large urban area.

And the ironic thing about this supposed controversy? The majority of manufactures who make “business-exclusive” radios also make GMRS radios. Now, as a consumer, if you wanted to buy a handheld UHF two-watt two-way radio, what’s more important to you; having access to frequencies that are being used by other “business-exclusive” users rather than the general public and paying hundreds of dollars per radio for that privilege, or having access to frequencies that are available to the general public, but with a pair of radios that cost around fifty dollars but with no access, monthly, or licencing fees, both types of radios providing the same performance and features?

General Mobile Radio Service radios are exceedingly more cost-effective given that they perform the same as “business-exclusive” radios. It would be in any company’s or business’s best interest to go with GMRS radios. But I can see dealers trying to steer purchases towards the higher-priced business radios. Don’t be fooled by the supposed “controversy” that I have mentioned. It’s your money. Spend it, or save it, wisely when buying handheld two-way radios.

“The Complete Guide to Canada’s General Mobile Radio Service: How to Get the Most Out of Our Nation’s Licence-Free, Fee-Free, Two-Way Radio Service”, ISBN 978-1-895391-20-6, is available from Cafepress.ca at $24.00 CDN or Cafepress.com at $19.95 US.