Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Obsessed Seeker

One of the standard protagonists of Genre Fantasy. OSs are often also Accursed Wanderers, in which case the obsession and the Curse may be identical, or the search may be for the curse's cure.

A major theme of High Fantasy is the successful Quest. The OS, by contrast, is involved in a search whose fictional point is that it will have no end; the search is a Template rationale for wanderings that will take the character to a variety of locales and adventures. A classic sf example is Dumarest series (over 30 titles) by E C Tubb (1919-2010), the story of an unsuccessful search for Earth.

In practice, there is sometimes an overlap between OS fantasies and coupon fantasies. Louise Cooper's Indigo, in the Indigo series (1988-1993), has a set number of demons to destroy, and thus is collecting Plot Coupons, but inasmuch as her search involves her in plots where her search for the demons is only one strand of her motivations or of the complex plots, she is an OS. She is also, of course, an accursed wanderer, in that her task is a punishment incurred for opening a Pandora's Box which contained the demons. [RK/JC]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.