Why Do We Need Fantasy?
I recently returned from the US Virgin Islands, which had been devastated by Hurricane Irma. I was humbled by those who had volunteered their time, for the conditions were austere: no power, poor comms, no running water, hot, humid, and filled with mosquitoes. But, we had it easy, for this was a temporary assignment, helping those we could. It was cut short and we were evacuated because of incoming Hurricane Maria, (with another storm brewing in the distance, Lee). As we were walking back to our ride (USCG cutter), people slowed in their cars and asked with some desperation in their voices, don't leave. Children in back seats waved.
It was the residents that had it hard. This was their life and there was no escape.
We often complain about our circumstance, and we often forget that someone always, (and I mean always) has it worse.
So where am I going with this rambling? To my main thesis of course. Why do we need fantasy? We need it to escape. We need it to transport us to another world. We need to see another world worse than ours, but with heroes, with hope, and with some beauty. We need to imagine that there is something better, something different, something visceral and magical out there.
I also think that fantasy is one of the few genres that allows for a full expression of the human condition without wading into the depths of political sensitivities. One can read/write on politics, religion, sex, struggle, without talking specifically about one political party or another. It's only fantasy at the end of the day, but it's more than that. It is a reflection of humanity. It is the dark and the dirty. It is the light and beautiful. It is love. It is hate. It is the hero and it is the villain.
A small post script. For those tracking my progress on the third book in the Kan Savasci Cycle, now that I'm temporarily back, I have done some more writing. I have completed 1/3 of Part 1.