Fantasy imposes order on the universe. Or, at least, it superimposes order on the universe. And it is a human order. Reality tells us that we exist for a brief, beleaguered span in a cold infinity; fantasy tells us that the figures in the foreground are important. Fantasy peoples the alien Outside, and it doesn't matter a whole lot if it peoples it with good guys or bad guys. Putting 'Hy-Brasil' on the map is a step in the right direction, but if you can't manage that, then 'Here Be Dragons is better than nothing. Better than the void.
I wish more fantasy, especially the dominant fantasy that draws heavily on British and Christian lore, would wrestle with its own ethnospecific nature and what that means when the story is set somewhere where more than one belief system is in operation. If all you do is pay lip service to it, you can get the kind of thing where the writer has thrown one Hindu god into a Christianist fantasy (rendering said god by default a demon or otherwise inferior to the dominant religious system of the story, which is such an insult), and the hero is able to vanquish it by chanting a spell in church Latin.
I suppose each of us has his own fantasy of how he wants to die. I would like to go out in a blaze of glory, myself, or maybe simply disappear someday, far out in the heart of the wilderness I love, all by myself, alone with the Universe and whatever God may happen to be looking on. Disappear - and never return. That's my fantasy.
We are now edging across the boundary - always a porous one - between self-justification and fantasy. Matthews' story is by no means a complete fantasy: we can recognise every event. But the frame of reference is somehow shrinking, and momentous world events being rewritten around the actions of a minor player.
Man is a fantastic animal; he was born of fantasy, he is the son of "the mad woman of the house." And universal history is the gigantic and thousand-year effort to go on putting order into that huge, disorderly, anti-animal fantasy. What we call reason is no more than fantasy put into shape. Is there anything in the world more fantastic than that which is the most rational? Is there anything more fantastic than the mathematical point, and the infinite line, and, in general, all mathematics and all physics? Is there a more fantastic fancy than what we call "justice" and the other thing that we call "happiness"?
Jose Ortega y Gasset
Fantasy is a product of thought, Imagination of sensibility. If the thinking, discursive mind turns to speculation, the result isFantasy; if, however, the sensitive, intuitive mind turns to speculation, the result is Imagination. Fantasy may be visionary, but it is cold and logical. Imagination is sensuous and instinctive. Both have form, but the form of Fantasy is analogous to Exposition, that of Imagination to Narrative.
It's the fantasy of first love. If you've been married for 400 years, as I have, it's nice to experience first love again and you can vicariously through a book. And it is such a fantasy. It takes you away from doing the dishes and the laundry. I think of this as a contemporary romance rather than erotic fiction.
E. L. James
Fantasy is my favorite genre for reading and writing. We have more options than anyone else, and the best props and special effects. That means if you want to write a fantasy story with Norse gods, sentient robots, and telepathic dinosaurs, you can do just that. Want to throw in a vampire and a lesbian unicorn while you're at it? Go ahead.
So let's not get frightened when the children read fantasy. It's the compost for a healthy mind. It stimulate s the inquisitive nodes, and there is some evidence that a rich internal fantasy life is as good and necessary for a child as healthy soil is for a plant, for much the same reasons.
Fantasy was something I'd read as a child. And, in fact, my teachers despaired a little bit because I refused to give up Enid Blyton. Then I walked through the wardrobe with C. S. Lewis, and I don't think I actually have returned fully from the wardrobe. So, fantasy was something that was in my life from quite young.
A lot of people feel like urban fantasy is a shortcut that gets you around world-building, because it's set "in the real world." But it doesn't really work that way, as I found out. You have to come up with just as consistent an internal cosmology and magic system as you would if you were writing high fantasy.
There's a rule for what makes good fantasy work, and it's as strange as any riddle ever posed in a fairy tale: In fantasy, you can do anything; and therefore, the one thing you must not do is 'just anything.' Why? Because in a story where anything can happen and anything can be true, nothing matters. You have no reason to care what happens. It's all arbitrary, and arbitrary isn't interesting.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Honestly, I think there's a cycle to the popularity of fantasy and fairytales that usually coincides with times of unrest or hardship in our own world. By retelling these legends or immersing ourselves in fantasy realms, we can safely explore the very real, very day-to-day darkness of our own lives.
Sarah J. Maas
Poetry restores language by breaking it, and I think that much contemporary writing restores fantasy, as a genre of writing in contrast to a genre of commodity or a section in a bookstore, by breaking it. Michael Moorcock revived fantasy by prying it loose from morality; writers like Jeff VanderMeer, Stepan Chapman, Lucius Shepard, Jeffrey Ford, Nathan Ballingrud are doing the same by prying fantasy away from pedestrian writing, with more vibrant and daring styles, more reflective thinking, and a more widely broadcast spectrum of themes.
I think it simply comes down to fantasy being the language I speak. While I cannot get into epic sword and sorcery, I see the world as having the potential to be slightly off-kilter. I have run into people who do not quite seem human - though of course they are - and have been privy to coincidences that almost make me believe in magic. Fantasy is sometimes just asking yourself, 'Well, what if you are wrong? What if the world doesn't work the way you think? What would that mean?
Karl Marx predicted the eventual withering away of the state and the 'dictatorship of the proletariat,' when the people would rule, which was sheer fantasy because it was sheer fantasy because it was based on grossly erroneous assumptions about human nature, as history would repeatedly demonstrate.
I believe there is no part of our lives, our adult as well as child life, when we're not fantasizing, but we prefer to relegate fantasy to children, as though it were some tomfoolery only fit for the immature minds of the young. Children do live in fantasy and reality; they move back and forth very easily in a way we no longer remember how to do.
Dealing with the impossible, fantasy can show us what may be really possible. If there is grief, there is the possibility of consolation; if hurt, the possibility of healing; and above all, the curative power of hope. If fantasy speaks to us as we are, it also speaks to us as we might be
We are all the judges and the judged, victims of the casual malice and fantasy of others, and ready sources of fantasy and malice in our turn. And if we are sometimes accused of sins of which we are innocent, are there not also other sins of which we are guilty and of which the world knows nothing?
THE NAME OF THE WIND has everything fantasy readers like, magic and mysteries and ancient evil, but it's also humorous and terrifying and completely believable. As with all the very best books in our field, it's not the fantasy trappings (wonderful as they are) that make this novel so good, but what the author has to say about true, common things, about ambition and failure, art, love, and loss.