Sunday, March 07, 2010

Recycling

I just read an opinion that made me think, and you'll see the irony of that in a moment. The opinion I read was about how so many fantasy authors nowadays are recycling old folk and fairy tales in their fiction. Well, okay. Yes, we are. However, the contention was that such things are entertaining but do not make a reader think. That made me think. Why is it that fantasy is so often perceived as being for entertainment only? Why do people assume that none of it is real? People who have had encounters with ghosts or other paranormal phenomena would argue that it is very real! Some of it has even been documented, with evidence that cannot be explained in any other way. We have so many paranormal research teams out there now proving and gathering evidence in a scientific manner that I'm surprised that so many people can still think it's all just a bunch of hooey. We trust entirely too much to our limited five senses. We make assumptions. We feel safe and grounded in reality. And then, sooner or later, something happens that, hopefully, makes us think "what if."

And indeed, what if? Not what if vampires and werewolves do exist, per se, but what if there really is more out there than "meets the eye?" Notice the use of one of those limited five senses again. There's more to sight than looking through your peepers. If you read my blog posts from November, you can see where I stated that I could feel that something was about to happen with my writing, and also in October about how I felt the "rightness" of my submission to a particular market. The market I referred to then is the market that bought my first story, and so here online is an example of precognition, in real time. Or one could choose to believe that I'm just a good guesser. No biggie either way; the world's not going to end if I'm wrong. But what if I'm right?

I write primarily fantasy. And I do indeed recycle old folk and faery tales. But when I write, I mine them for the grain of truth (or maybe the huge nugget of truth) in them. I take that and I polish it, and I hold it up so it can hopefully be a mirror in which readers can maybe see themselves, if they choose. I try to touch on the deeper human emotions, on the human condition, on how our lives intersect with wonder and with the divine. Never, ever, is my fiction just about entertainment only. It never has been. I hope it entertains. If it doesn't entertain, I haven't done my job. But if it only entertains and doesn't make you think, then I haven't done my job either. Warning to those who might read my stuff in the future: it's not fluff. Look at it again in a different light and see whether some of it doesn't put chills down your spine. It did mine. Not bad, for a bit of recycling, and very Green.

1 comment:

Stefanie said...

Let's see....
George Orwell's 1984
Ray Bradbury
Isaac Asimov
Star Trek-oh the little gadgets

And all those fairy tales? They were moralistic tales, folks, and stories to scare children. Myths and legends?--there to explain natural phenomenon.

I say bring 'em on. I find more grains of truth in sci-fi and fantasy novels (of all types) then I every have in Herman Melville, George Eliot, Thereau, Emerson, Wilde, among others.