Guardian article on fantasy

Lots of good stuff in this article from the Guardian by Damien G. Walter.

…And to judge by the narratives that have filtered down to us through oral traditions and early written records, fantasy has always been essential to those stories.

Stories from the ancient world are infused with the fantastic, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to Beowulf, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Myth, legend, folk and fairytales have fired our imaginations for thousands of years. We have used the fantastic to take mundane reality and transform it, sometimes for escapist pleasure, and sometimes to find meaning in a world that can often seem brutal and purposeless.


But the commodification of fantasy does not mean it must all appeal to the lowest common denominator, any more than the presence of Starbucks on every street corner means you can’t find a decent cup elsewhere.


2 thoughts on “Guardian article on fantasy

  1. Interesting. I wonder what the writer is implying in the final sentence:

    “But as fantasy becomes more heavily commodified, it is more important still that we keep sight of what the genre can achieve beyond mass entertainment.”

    Mass entertainment success is not the best indicator of a well-told tale, right?

    1. Robert Freeman Wexler

      I think he’s talking about how, as fantasy (or anything) becomes more commodified, it gets harder to see anything besides the commodified product. If you say “James Bond”, no one thinks about Ian Flemming’s novels, which are pretty great, with a lot more depth and variety than you would expect from Bond movies.

      What I encounter all the time as a writer of the fantastic is that if I tell someone I write fantasy, they automatically think of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.

      It’s hard to get past what someone already associates with a particular term.

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