Feb 20, 2012

Oh Epic Fantasy, How Funny Art Thee with your Traps and Whatnots

We've all seen it, lived in it, been entranced in it, and probably never want to leave. I think we all spent the night at Bree, or maybe even attempted to live in The Academy itself. I know that I wanted to stay clear of The Blight as far as I can, but here I ask a serious question: can we truly live in a Fantasy world? I recall Moorcock's good 'ol Epic Pooh article many years ago, baggin' on Tolkien's use of language to lull the reader into a world of comfort and safety, somewhere we can always go to, where we will never know any harm. Ah, but what happens when the book is closed and the curse breaks? That same stress rises up again like poison, and you quickly tame it again with that same book. But what happens when you finish it? Then go look for another. Here is my next question? How long can this last? Fantasy fiction shouldn't (but when shouldn't it shouldn't?) be always about global-landscapes, magic swords, unique magic systems, and armies of thousands of nation marching to the Plains of DOOOOOOM to take the crown! No! IT should be used to give the reader hope, to explore what never knew about our own world through the eyes of a character moving through a constructed one. I've always looked at Fantasy as my treasure trove for learning. An educational experience, if I can be allowed to go THAT far. Yet I learned nothing from reading Lord of the Rings, Name of the Wind, or The Drsgon's Path. But I did learn that vaginal mutilation DOES exists ans it IS a problem in Who Fears Death, and I also learned that a warrior does not have to be some badass swordsman, but maybe a simple doctor. Isn't that right Kaladin Stormblessed? So, we as writers should find more uses for our worlds other than for entertainment. Its good to be trapped in your worlds for a little bit, it really is! But it's not healthy to stay in them for to long, especially if we are not learning anything. Fantasy should always be a learning experience.