Wharton’s YA Trilogy Wins Major International Award

Canadian Author’s YA Trilogy “Perilous Realm” Wins Major International Award

(Reuters AP Multiverse)


Canadian author Thomas Wharton’s young adult fantasy trilogy, The Perilous Realm, consisting of the novels The Shadow of Malabron, The Fathomless Fire, and The Tree of Story, was announced today as the winner of the dubiously prestigious H Warner Munn Memorial Most Underappreciated and Least Read Work of Fantasy of the Decade.


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The trilogy, which until now was known only to a very small but fortunate group of imaginative and discerning readers, was toiled over during a period of eight years by Wharton, who is a writer from Edmonton, a city in Canada vaguely known for not being Toronto.

Former Oxford Professor J.R.R. Tolkien, whose shade was summoned from the Undying Lands to serve as host of the award ceremony, said that Wharton’s win pleased him, and that he hopes the books will not suffer the same fate as his own, which have become so immensely popular that the spin-off movies, toys and video games now overshadow the actual beauty, depth and imagination of his words.

 “Ruthless, mindless greed and consumerism appear to rule the world these days,” Professor Tolkien mused, then added with a chuckle, “it’s almost as if Sauron won, isn’t it?”

 The professor went on to make some etymological observations in long footnotes which we will not bother to reproduce here.

 The award is sponsored by the UnFoundation, a mysterious group of child inventors who are responsible for generating all the irony on our planet.

 The jury was made up of a panel of young readers from a slightly alternate reality where Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight were never written, thus not generating all the noise that obscures great work from getting attention.

 “We noticed right away that there was something deeply wrong with your reality,” one of the young jury members said in an interview, “an imbalance, an injustice we felt the need to correct.”

 “Mr Wharton’s books are exciting, moving, dark, powerful,” the jury member went on to say. “And they’re also relevant to our times, and wise. The trilogy is about one powerful, oppressive story silencing all the others, and what happens when even one’s resistance to this master-story gets absorbed into the story. How does one fight a power that turns your struggle into more of itself? These are ideas and issues that you would think should have critics, storytellers, and philosophers salivating and writing papers. But nothing. Silence. How very odd. It’s almost as if one powerful, oppressive story has silenced … but no, reality doesn’t imitate fiction. Does it?”

Wharton’s trilogy tells the story of a boy from our world who stumbles upon the Perilous Realm, the world that stories come from. With a group of friends that includes a girl with the power to shape stories, and a talking wolf who might turn out to be a bloodthirsty killer, the boy must struggle against a single dark and powerful Story that threatens to consume all others.

 “Something like capitalism, perhaps,” Professor Tolkien mumbled softly. He wanted to add a footnote about allegory here, but we shooed his spectre, still reeking of pipe tobacco, out of the room.

We caught up with Wharton about to mail a copy of the final volume, The Tree of Story, to a young reader in New Hampshire who couldn’t find the book at his local library and really wanted to finish the story.

 Of his win, Wharton said, “Like most Canadian writers I spend a lot of my time contemplating suicide, so winning anything is really nice. It should give me just enough false hope to finish my next book.”

Asked if he had any advice for beginning writers, Wharton said: “We’re on this planet for such a short time, and we need to be kind and compassionate to one another, because we all have burdens to bear. If you have a creative gift to share with the world, then nurture it and get it out there. Who knows, your creative work could make one other person’s burden lighter, or wake that person up to possibilities they’d never imagined for themselves. Even if it’s only one other person, you’ll have accomplished what creativity was meant to do. Every sentence you write with imagination, wit, and heart is a small victory against the long oblivion awaiting us all.”

Wharton then dropped the book in the mailbox and strolled away, his eyes shining with quiet satisfaction.

There is no monetary prize accompanying this award.



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