Naval War College Review


Connie Frizzell


No author today will argue with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s perspective that any work of fiction requires the reader to engage in a willing suspension of disbelief. The wording of the concept is important because it goes beyond the idea of a reader just pushing the “I believe” button. The concept requires the reader to be an active participant: he or she must willingly enter a world known to be false. It is the job of the author to maintain that world, to hold the reader suspended throughout the entire book, and to prevent him or her from falling out of the fictional world with an ungraceful “whump.”