10 April 2009

Fantasy--With a Side of Philosophy

One of the unfair criticisms of the fantasy genre is that it is not as deep, intellectual, or as practical as other fiction. Admittedly, there are some simple and superficial fantasies, but there are simple and superficial books in all fiction genres. Personally, I love fantasies that make me think about our world--the real world--in different ways by examining a different world and then  asking the big questions. What makes life worth living? What is the true measure of a person (if any)? What is the nature of God or gods? What are the limits of love? How do you define justice? Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? Is war ever justifiable? What about assassination? What makes us human (or elf, or something else)? How much are we shaped by culture? By circumstance?

Give me fantasies that go beyond the bright lines of good and evil and instead delve into the shadows, the twisted turns of morality and meaning. In short, my advice for writing great fantasy is: go deep!


writtenwyrdd said...

I agree 100%. It's unfair to dismiss fantasy (or any genre, for that matter) is inherently shallow.

I'd say something really smart sounding, but my brain hadn't had any coffee yet and I'm out of ideas. :)

lesleylsmith said...

Interesting post, Editor Dave. :) I don't think any of our readers think fantasy is bad. But do you have any suggestions on how to "go deep"? Especially in a short story this seems like it would be tricky. I'm open to suggestions!