A little known fiction genre is transrealism. What is it? And how is transrealism different to magical realism? Transrealism is more than a genre though. It’s also a literary movement, because a genuine transrealist book doesn’t just have the literary elements that make it fit transrealism as a genre, it also pushes readers to reconsider their perception of the world.
You can also see transrealism in movies – not The Matrix because it has archtypal characters in it. A Scanner Darkly written by Philip K. Dick in 1972 and published in 1977, was made into a movie in 2006. The book is widely considered the first transrealist novel. It’s two stories in one – a roughly science-fictional story about a mind-destroying drug, and a realistic autobiographical depiction of the author’s time living among drug addicts.
Transrealism and magical realism have similar elements, particularly the ‘realism’ aspect of their designations, and both skirt the edges of reality. So what’s the difference in the ‘trans’ and the ‘magical’ parts of these words?
We talked about transrealism briefly in our video on genres, (https://youtu.be/tPXnXfzE7lE) but in this short video Rose and Tahlia go into greater detail on transrealism, and explain the difference between transrealism and magical realism.
The Guardian has a good article explaining what transrealism is.
It’s not science fiction, it’s not realism, but hovers in the unsettling zone in between.Damien Walter, Transrealism: the first major literary movement of the 21st century? The Guardian. Fri 24th Oct 2014.
In this article Damien Walter ‘takes a tour through transrealism, the emerging genre aiming to kill off ‘consensus reality.’’ https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/oct/24/transrealism-first-major-literary-movement-21st-century
In the thinking of writer, critic and mathematician Rudy Rucker, the first work of a literary movement he would name “transrealism” in his 1983 essay A Transrealist Manifesto. Three decades later, Rucker’s essay has as much relevance to contemporary literature as ever. But while Rucker was writing at a time when science fiction and mainstream literature appeared starkly divided, today the two are increasingly hard to separate. It seems that here in the early 21st century, the literary movement Rucker called for is finally reaching its fruition.Damien Walter, Transrealism: the first major literary movement of the 21st century? The Guardian. Fri 24th Oct 2014.
The book Tahlia refers to in the video is Worlds Within Worlds. It’s available for free to those on Kindle Unlimited.
The Locksmith’s Secret, the follow up book to Worlds Within Worlds, is also transrealist in nature, also free on Kindle Unlimited.
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