8 December, 2021

LitStaff Picks: Our Favorite Fictional BFFs

Orlando Gardiner and Sam FredericksOtherland-Novel-Covers2
Otherland series by Tad Williams

Frodo and Sam are my absolute favorite literary best buds, but Orlando and Sam come in a not so distant second and they deserve a shout out.

Orlando and Sam are top rated gamers.  Best known on the Net as legendary Thargor the Barbarian and Pithlit the Thief, respectively, in the simworld of Middle Country (obsequiously based on the works of JRR Tolkien), their reputation of uber leet gamers and as an unbeatable team is pretty much unparalleled.  They have been gaming together for years, and have gotten to know each other pretty darned well for never having met in person (seeing that they live on opposite ends of the country).

Even though he considers Sam his best friend, the one thing that Orlando has not shared is that he has progeria, a a rare genetic condition that produces rapid aging in children.  This means that Orlando can’t exactly be out and about in society, and that he probably won’t live to become an adult (most children suffering from progeria don’t live past their teens).   But, since in the Net you are who you choose to be, he’s never had to worry about Sam being weirded out over his illness or worry about him dying for real; he can be like a normal kid with Sam, which is a pretty cherished thing for a kid like Orlando.

It’s not until Orlando and Sam are thrown into some mighty whacked adventures when they get pulled into Otherland that they find out that Orlando is not the only one with a secret – his gaming buddy for years is actually a girl.  It’s just one more twist in the wonder that is the Otherland series.  A fantastic, massive story full of intertwining relationships, the struggles and triumphs of Orlando and Sam remain my favorite.

-Sharon Browning

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