WARNING: This post is not going to be in the usual three-point style. And it will be littered with links to things I love.
So here’s something I just don’t get.
As a fan of all things fantasy (and therefore awesome), it boggles my mind that I am often categorised and boxed up as 'weird' by a society that lulls children to sleep with stories of armoured dudes climbing up a girl’s ponytail.
Think about it:
How large is the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section in your local bookstore? Not too big, huh? And more often than not it’s hydden in some obscure corner where the lights are dimming and the dust mites come out in full battle mode to fight whoever has dared to disrupt their Hadarac-y world (now fully covering the bottom shelf).
Sometimes we’re lucky and we get a brightly lit - albeit tiny - spot next to the Classics section. But it comes with the price of constantly moving out the way so folks can pass, seeing as this spot just so happens to always be in the middle of the store.
Come on! You’re always throwing theme parties for mainstream fiction books out front with all sorts of crazy displays. Why can’t we sci-fi and fantasy fans get some excitement over here? What’s wrong with a bit of Elderglass or even a nice little warren we can burrow down into?
OK, OK. I get the practicality thing. But still.
So many people are willing to jump up, looking all cool and hipster, and proclaim that they “loooooove” fantasy and superhero movies. But how many of them actually sit through the credits just to see some giant duck or a weird dude being worshipped in the desert?
The credits separate the mice from the men.
But should they have to?
Here’s what’s irking me:
Sci-fi and Fantasy fans fall into a subculture that is viewed in the same way as hardcore tattoo junkies and legit 90’s grunge fans. Everyone loves to associate with these cultures, because they think it makes them seem cool and even dangerous (which also baffles me, but still). They like to think that they come off as original and quirky when they can recite the One Ring verse whilst gazing deeply into their beer like they know something others don’t.
“No, that’s not really my scene… I like The Hobbit, but talking cockroaches are a bit unrealistic…”
Suddenly, they retract. You become weird to them. Your wild imagination and love for 800-year old messengers is a stretch too far. They go back to their little world, having touched the 'dark side' and survived, and looking so much cooler for it.
Why, why, why?
Didn’t we all grow up with stories of wolves swallowing people whole and pigs building houses? We were all once fully capable of believing someone could sleep for a hundred years, or even wear glass slippers without severing a tendon.
Where did the magic go? What happens to people’s imaginations as they grow older? When do they lose their sense of wonderment? When does something suddenly become too unrealistic? (Just for the record, I hate that word. It kills creativity).
At least a few of us seem to keep the spark alive in our hearts. I am happy to be one of the survivors.
So come to think of it... if you need to dip your pen into the Inkworld every once in a while, before running away exhilarated and bragging to your friends… I guess that’s OK.
But just don’t view our little sci-fi and fantasy world with so much scepticism and scorn. I mean, you once believed in magic beans, for crying out loud!
And while you visit once every few years, why not broaden your horizons a bit and explore the world on the back of a giant turtle?
The wonder is not gone from this world.
We’ll aim to keep it alive for you, from our dusty ill-lit corner, in the meantime.