Does our fiction define us in the same way our locality does?

I listened to this Ted talk today:

I related strongly to it, because I’ve lived in so many different locals in my life and have always found it difficult to answer the question, “Where are you from?”

The idea that we are defined by where we are local more than where our passport is from drive be to consider those of us who spend a lot if our lives mentally living in fabricated worlds. No, I’m not talking about people who can’t clearly perceive reality. I’m talking about fiction readers. 

How many years did I spend in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time world? How many decades in Ankh- Morpork, courtesy of Terry Pratchett? How many voyages in Weber’s beloved Manticore or trudging across Marduk? And how much do those locales define me? 

That they define me is not in question. They most certainly do, maybe even more so than the mundane world I’ve traversed.

 Is there some way we can discover this about the people we meet? 

More importantly, what should we as fiction authors be considering when we create worlds to house the minds of men, giving them space to breathe and live in worlds inaccessible outside what we have penned? 

Sometimes people shrug off fiction writing because it’s just “make believe” and doesn’t really help people. Maybe it doesn’t help people. Maybe it helps define people. 

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