Why Fantasy?

06 Aug

Why Fantasy?

This question was asked in my Goodreads group one day. Why do we read fantasy? Why do I write fantasy? What’s so special about it that keeps you hooked from day to day with a book based in another world that you just can’t put down?

Some will get technical and say it’s the writer and the characters and plots he’s created that keep us hooked. Some of that is true. Some is picking up that book and seeing a cover and reading the back page and thinking “Wow, that sounds like a wonderful world and story.”

We live in a world with so much to offer and so many different things to do, but all of it is still reality. Then we have writers from the traditionally published to the current flock of indie authors who create other worlds, other places where we can delve into their minds and see what they saw, but in our own ways.

George R.R. Martin said it well when in A Dance with Dragons, he wrote: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one.”

Martin’s best quote on fantasy and one of the best for me:

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.”

I agree wholeheartedly. Fantasy for me is being able to live that dream in my mind, to allow my imagination to soar, from magic to epic battles to castles and lands only a mind that lives and dreams in the fantasy world could imagine. Add characters with their own goals, dreams, trials, loves and conflicts and have them be able to use and manipulate the incredible to find a resolution. How could you not love it?

If I had a choice between a Mercedes or Pegasus. Guess which I’m choosing?



Posted by on August 6, 2011 in Announcements


4 responses to “Why Fantasy?

  1. Rae

    August 7, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Beautiful quotes, and couldn’t be more true. I’ve been reading fantasy since before I hit double digits. It’s about escapism for me, going to a world that’s so beautiful and ugly, dark and light, and utterly fantastic that it may as well be real. Fantasy has a way of making things feel so much bigger than our own lives. How can we resist that feeling?

    Though, if I had a choice between a Mercedes and a Pegasus, I’d likely ask for a dragon instead!

  2. terrycsimpson

    August 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    People like us can never resist that feeling. Dragons are awesome, Rae.

  3. Danielle Raver

    August 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Wonderful post. I read and write fantasy as an escape from the real world.

  4. Lindsay Edmunds

    August 30, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Through fantasy you also can explore the deepest questions of existence; you can enter the mysteries of life.



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