Fiction is a mirror of reality. It’s no coincidence, then, that the broken worlds we often see in fiction are places that feel somewhat familiar; they resemble our own world, reflect our own fears and darknesses and troubles. Broken fictional worlds remind us of just how high the stakes can be.
Sometimes it can even feel like the stakes are too high. Why would people still live in places like this? we wonder to ourselves. Who still wants to reside in Gotham City, for instance, with a new evil showing up every week? Why doesn’t Batman just move to a nicer place? After all, he’s someone who could choose to live anywhere.
This is exactly why I’m drawn to stories about broken worlds, though. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire who chooses to stay in a city like Gotham, a grungy, crime-infested place that he nevertheless keeps fighting to fix. It’s the fixing of the broken world that pulls me in, and it’s a theme that I’m feeling these days.