Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fantasy Matters

Fantasy MattersHere at Fantasy Matters, we are dedicated to one very basic idea—fantasy literature matters.  Why does it matter?  Well, for starters, it matters to us.  We love The Lord of the Rings, Dune, and Sandman comics.  We think Star Wars and Blade Runner are some of the best movies ever made.  We can’t wait to read the next book by Stephen King and Pat Rothfuss, and you can bet that we’re watching whatever Joss Whedon comes up with next.

Why?  Why do we like these works so much?  We like them because they are fun and interesting.  We like the stories they tell, the characters we meet, and the worlds we explore.  We like the creative ways in which they blend fantasy and reality.  We like the ways they play with language, experiment with form, and use unexpected images to create meaning.  And because of this, we think that fantasy matters, not just to popular books, movies, and video games, but to the bigger ways that we think about language and stories.  Rather than keeping the fun of fantasy and science fiction separate from the academic study of literature and media, we think there is a lot to be said for bringing the two together, and we hope this website can be a place where those conversations can happen.

We also think that works like Neverwhere or The Dragonriders of Pern have the ability to get to the heart of some of the most important questions society faces.  Call these works fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction, or whatever you want, but we think that works like these that somehow defy the rules of the world as we know it have a greater potential to cut through the nonsense of our everyday lives and get to questions and ideas that really matter to everyone—What does it mean to be human?  Where are we as a society headed?  What are the implications of the technology that we’re developing?  What is the meaning of life? (Ok, that one’s been answered—42.)  Tolkien called this function of fantasy the eucatastrophe—the “sudden glimpse of the underlying reality or truth” ("On Fairy-Stories" 155).  And because of this ability, we think that fantasy matters to society as a whole, because it can show us who we are.

And so, because we think fantasy matters, we want to create a space where we can talk about any and all matters related to fantasy literature.  On this site, we’ll be posting book and movie reviews, author interviews, trivia and tidbits about some of our favorite books, conversations about what we’re reading, and essays about a wide variety of texts and themes, just to name a few.  We’re planning some regular features about teaching fantasy and science fiction, the science behind science fiction, and the appearance of fantasy in video games, among others.  We also want to hear what you think, so we have forums where you can post your thoughts and ideas, too.

Welcome, and we hope you enjoy your time here! 

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