I graduated to more contemporary science fiction and fantasy novels when I was fourteen, when a friend of my parents introduced me to the Stephens. King and Donaldson to be more specific. And that my friends, was all she wrote. I've since devoured hundreds of genre novels almost to the exclusion of anything else. My fiance, who prefers non-fiction, doesn't understand why I love stories that are so "unreal". HBO's Game of Thrones has helped with that to some degree, but I'm often reminded how so many people turn up their noses or roll thier eyes when they discover that I prefer my books with swords, magic, dragons, and the like.
I've tried over the years to explain that fantasy fiction gives authors a platform to examine the real world in ways that traditional stories do not allow for. I've mentioned that The Lord of the Rings is more about Tolkien's thoughts on the corrupting influence of power, than it is about elves, dwarves and hobbits. I've mentioned that out of the twenty highest grossing movies of all time only two of those are not firmly planted in the fantasy or science fiction tradition. None of it seems to stop the eye rolling for long.
So I've decided to take a different tack. One that I never would have stumbled upon if it weren't for my decision to start blogging. My interactions with authors via interviews and twitter have led me conclude that the biggest proof that fantasy novels are worth reading is the character of the men and women that are writing these stories. Below are a series of blog posts and other items I've found in my weekly web crawling.
- Chuck Wendig gives his thoughts on how to properly 'hit on' the ladies. (Do yourself a favor and ignore the title, especially if you are one of the aforementioned ladies.)
- Myke Cole turns in a trio of insightful thoughts on topics ranging from 'getting Bible-Thumped', PTSD, and the importance of teaching our young women that they have agency.
- Robert Jackson Bennett considers reevaluating our cultural definition of masculinity.
- Stina Leicht talks about feminism in a way that doesn't make your man parts cringe in fear.
I challenge anyone to read the thoughts of these artists and continue to believe that the works that they produce can be marginalized as something without value, simply because those works have magic and monsters, fairies and fantasy in their make up. Art is a reflection of the artists that create it, and these men and women obviously cast something in the mirror that we would do well to investigate and examine. We might just find the some answers to the big questions we all face about love, death, justice, war, and more. And that's something that is relative to us all.