To Those Who Dismiss Fantasy as “Escapist”

Cover of "Nourishment"; Cover art "Birds Killer Creature" copyright © 2016 Schastlivaya Alexandra
Cover of “Nourishment”; Cover art “Birds Killer Creature” copyright © 2016 Schastlivaya Alexandra

To Those Who Dismiss Fantasy as “Escapist,”

Fantasy is not escapist, except in the very narrow sense that all fiction is escapist. Fantasy is the least escapist of the genres, because in no genre is it more clear that the world is not our own. Readers of fantasy know that they don’t live on Middle Earth. They don’t confuse the world of fiction with their own.

The real escapist literature convinces readers of its truth. This title belongs to the morning news, the panel commentary, the stock market projections. Consumers of this sort of media are convinced they’ve gained a better understanding of the world because they’ve been steeped in facts—albeit a narrow subset carefully curated to confirm their worldview. The economy, the stock market, the talking heads, the GDP, the “fair and balanced” and “most trusted”—this is the real escapism, and its danger is that many people have escaped into the fantasy.

Fantasy does not posture as real. It presents itself as it is. And the readers of fantasy are not escaping, are not convincing themselves of an untruth, but are walking in a world of imagination that coheres because of deeper truths that readers are invited to vicariously witness and consider. And it is these deeper truths, the ground of all effective fantasy, that is completely absent in the pernicious escapist literature of commercial news media. It is the truth of human emotion, experience, and what it means to be.

These anti-fantasy types consider themselves “serious people”. What need do they have for reading about ghosts and goblins? After all, they just made a killing on the stock market, got that promotion they were gunning for, and bought that cottage and second Lexus. Good for them, if acquisition of material goods is the height of their aspirations, but they should know that there is infinitely more interest, inspiration, and value in any child’s drawing stuck on the refrigerator.

Castrating childhood creativity is not growing up—it is giving up. Growing up does not mean perversely sacrificing imagination on the altar of maturity; it means making imagination consistent with adulthood. Giving up imagination is not mature—it’s the opposite: stunted. All the “serious people” who throw accusations of “escapism” need to grow up and read some fantasy.

Strange Wars has LAUNCHED and is currently a FREE DOWNLOAD on Kindle

Strange Wars has officially launched and as part of the promotion is a free download on Kindle Sat Apr 30 through May 4!

Strange Wars

“Strange Wars explores military conflict through speculative fiction. Through compelling narratives and fantastic world-building, diverse authors force us to reexamine the familiar and important concept of war. The 27 stories in this collection present organized aggression through the imaginative lens of science fiction and fantasy. These are entertaining and engaging stories with depth, complexity, and thoughtful exploration of the theme to inspire further reflection and debate. Together, they present memorable “what if” questions, pose interesting moral and philosophical dilemmas, and introduce intriguing thought experiments in the form of engaging stories. Accompanying discussion questions probe deeper into the stories and encourage further reflection. Strange Wars is about more than great science fiction and fantasy; it’s about thinking about war in new ways.”

The book is available for D/L in Canada from here, and in USA from here.

Vote for Speculative North in Critters Workshop Annual Readers Poll!!

Please vote for Speculative North in the Critters Workshop Annual Readers Poll! Voting is free, super easy, and just requires you to have a name and an email address.

Help our proudly Canadian speculative fiction magazine hit #1 by voting! We’re in 3 categories: Fiction Magazine/e-zine: https://critters.org/predpoll/fictionzine.shtml…Magazine/e-zine Cover Art: https://critters.org/predpoll/zineart.shtml…Magazine/e-zine Editor: https://critters.org/predpoll/zineeditor.shtml

For those who haven’t read the magazine and want to check it out before voting, all of our issues are free; the free download page can be accessed by clicking “link” from the voting pages above, or directly from our website here: http://tdotspec.com/speculative-north-magazine/

Thanks everyone for your support!!!

Speculative North Issue #2 Free Download

The second issue of Spec North is a free Kindle download from Amazon until Oct 7th!

This is an awesome issue that has already hit Amazon #1 Bestseller status in the categories of science fiction short stories and fantasy anthologies!

If you’re living in USA, you can download it from here. If you’re living in Canada, you can download it from here. If you’re outside of these two countries, you can still get it free, but you’ll have to search for it from your country’s Amazon page.

Note: when you’re downloading free books from Amazon, don’t click the “read now” button, which requires a KU account; instead click “buy” for $0.00

I hope you enjoy issue #2 of Spec North! If you get a chance, let me know what you thought of the issue. Thanks so much for your support!

-David

My Story “Kevin Was Bees” in Andromeda Spaceways Magazine!

Very happy to say that my SFF story “Kevin Was Bees” is in the current issue of Andromeda Spaceways Magazine (ASM #78)!

This story starts from the POV of someone who has been turned into a swarm of bees. The first two sentences:

This was a first. No one had ever been bees before.

The premise: on an advanced starship, they need someone to investigate a problem in a bio-preservation sector where humans aren’t allowed, so the computer makes Kevin into bees; Kevin finds out that, during the procedure, the problem was resolved, so his mission is complete. But he’s bees now.

Kevin’s consciousness gradually fractures into competing subgroups of bees, who develop their own hierarchy, mythology, and competing kingdoms, and whose control over the environmental regulators constitutes a kind of magic.

This story makes a lot of use of Arthur C. Clarke’s third law–that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. One POV is science fiction, and takes place on a futuristic starship, where a person made out of genetically engineered bees is in dialogue with an advanced AI; the other POV is fantasy, and takes place in a fantasy world with magic, myth, and warring kingdoms–that is, the world formed from the fractured pieces of Kevin’s consciousness.

I hope you check out the story, and I would love to hear what you think about it!

My story “Rainbow People of the Glittering Glade” is in the After Dinner Conversation podcast!

Very happy to say that my story “Rainbow People of the Glittering Glade” was discussed in the After Dinner Conversation podcast! They do a great summary of the story, and then turn to discussing and debating the issues raised by the story. I’d love if you would check out the episode, available here:

 

Space Windows and Ham Sandwiches and Free eBooks

Kara Race-Moore Writes More

It’s the little things in life.

As more and more research is poured into how we humans could seriously go to Mars in the not too distant future, all signs point to the biggest factor of success or failure will not be the machinery that controls air and water, the rocket engines, the flight trajectory calculations, or anything else that involves hard math or blue prints. No, humans are the wild card, and how to keep them running properly is the big challenge.

How to keep a human happy and sane? People with multiple degrees who have spent their lives studying this question will tell you it really comes down to the things that seem, at first glance, very mundane. What is the biggest factor that has made the International Space Station a success?

The fact that it has a window.

Windows were initially considered a frivolous waste of energy…

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