I’m a long way behind the curve with this one, but it’s possible some poor souls among you are languishing even further behind me. So, a recommendation.
It’s a Harry Potter fan fiction. That is, it’s a fictional story, written by someone who is not JK Rowling and has no connection to the franchise, but which uses the characters and scenarios described and depicted in the Harry Potter series of books and films.
If you’re somehow not aware of this particular older-than-the-internet online tradition, then boy are you in for a treat. Especially when you find the mpreg slash.
If, on the other hand, you’re all too aware of the grubbier corners of the internet where some fanfic writers ply their depravity, you’ll be able to think of any number of reasons why you shouldn’t click that link. You know the kinds of things people make fictional characters do to each other on the internet. Or, when it’s not smut, the things they do to grammar and the English language. Either way, it’s obscene.
Never mind all that. Read this story.
The premise – one of them – as best I can describe it so far, is that Harry Potter’s Aunt Whatsherface didn’t get married to the hideous caricature Uncle Thingy, and so those two didn’t keep young Harry in their cupboard under the stairs for the first eleven years of his life. Instead, she married a much more scientifically minded man, and Harry grew up learning to embrace empiricism and rationality, and reading every book he could get his hands on (which was a lot). What would happen, then, if the resulting arch-skeptic is the character who suddenly encounters all the impossibilities of the Wizarding World?
That might seem like an incredibly tedious paragraph to anyone not already invested in the Harry Potter world and keenly fascinated by the characters and the alternative possibilities that might face them under different circumstances. But the Rowlingverse is essentially used as a handy device for exploring genuinely interesting questions about our approach to knowledge.
Its author is Eliezer Yudkowsky, something of a hero of mine and a guy who knows a thing or two about rationality. And in amongst all the applied skepticism, he tells a seriously nifty character-driven story.
This is just a fanboy moment and a sincere recommendation. Go check it out if you haven’t read it already. If you have, feel free to share your thoughts below.