Sunday, January 21, 2007


Fiction is my genre of choice. I love historical fiction and science fiction and, yes, I must admit, romance novels. But I delight in Fantasy!

Fantasy allows us more freedom than life. Fantasy allows us to be children again, to think like children and believe like children. Fantasy expands our freedom and our minds; it allows us to think unbounded by the limitations of reality. It also permits us to whisk away evil and ugliness, except as we wish to acknowledge it and deal with it. It allows us almost unlimited possibilities.

Even the favorite books from my childhood are fantasies that I never forgot; and in adulthood I was able to find my favorite two in used bookstores and own my own copies. Many of the ones that I love are somewhat obscure. One of these is Half Magic by Edward Eager, in which a coin that looks enough like a dime to be regularly confused with one, granted half of any wish made by the one holding it; in the other, Dangerous Island by Helen Mather, an island which periodically arose from the ocean then shortly sank back into it, was the island upon which two pre-teens, adrift in a row boat, found themselves stranded as it began to sink back into the sea. These two novels fascinate me still today. My favorite fairy tale book, a bed time treat read often to us by our dad, until we were able to read it to ourselves, was entitled Tales from the Enchanted Isles, copyright by Yale University Press in 1926 (much much closer to my parents' childhood than mine, so where they got the book for us is lost information to me); it contained 7 magnificent, magical short tales of fantasy by one Ethel May Gate. Those stories contain such wisdom that I occasionally still quote from them to this day, and use one in particular as a standard of what is the right thing to do. Fantasy can teach and it certainly challenges the mind and the imagination and, I believe, helps to develop both, along with sharpening problem-solving skills.

Even though movies have made the most popular fantasies (Tolkein's Lord of the Ring trilogy, Lewis's Adventures of Narnia series, and Rowling's Harry Potter series)of our time more accessible, I still think one can get more from them and love them more deeply if s/he actually reads them. However, the movies have led many new viewers, readers and thinkers back to the threshold of fantasy, and through the back of the wardrobe,as it were. I think that is a very good thing.

Hope your presentation went well, Laini.


Blogger Inconsequential said...

I agree, it can be a great medium for teaching morality :)

11:48 PM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

I simply love the world of gnomes, dwarfs, wizards and all those fantasy elements in Children's fiction. They take me to another world.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

I think what's great about fantasy fiction is that it gives us more freedom than real life while at the same time being able to teach lessons about life!

12:40 AM  
Blogger With Hammer And Tong...The LetterShaper said...

I enjoyed reading here...

11:55 AM  

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