Sunday, 29 January 2012

Don't Lose Your Sensawunda.

Was reading a local litblog of some repute today and at first I thought he would be reviewing a particular fantasy book but it turned out he just wanted to rant about the state of today's fantasy. About how today's fantasy novels seemed to be written for teens and young adults and none of them seemed to be written for middle-aged dads.

Well, the answer to that is, well... yes. Fantasy is written for teens and young adults. From Conan to Tolkien to Martin.

But then again, fantasy novels have always targeted teens and young adults. Sure, some of them have involved adult themes and imagery but let's not kid (heh) ourselves here, fantasy is, and has always been, largely a domain for the young and young at heart.

The message of the rant implied that just because modern fantasy is for mere children, as it were, it automatically fails to challenge, intrigue, entertain, grab by the collars or refuse any reprieve. And the writer condemned this sweeping judgement upon modern fantasy after reading the first fifty pages of just one book.

And here is where I take exception. Why sir, surely making such a general statement borders on absurdity? What about Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie and the myriad other authors who write fantasy with adult themes? Surely their work must count for something?

I'm not a middle aged dad. I'm a bouncing, hale and hearty thirty-year-old man. (Also, I just had my tonsils out. Always a sign of youthfulness! ;P) But I am a dad. But that doesn't mean I have gotten jaded yet with the genre and I don't know if I ever will. I hope not. To lose one's sense of wonder is a terrible thing.

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, a man who is tired of fantasy, is tired of life.

2 comments:

  1. The earliest recorded stories known to mankind are, in fact, fantasy stories. Homer's Odyssey and the Epic of Gilgamesh comes to mind.

    It's a archetypical form that has existed and persisted for thousands of years. To say that fantasy is childish is to miss the historical point: they are and always have been grand morality tales meant to engage and instruct the young and the young at heart. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Very well said. Thanks, John.

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