There is a narrative put out into the world about books that goes something like this. Philosophy, biographies, novels written based upon real events or based upon reality, this is […]
There is a narrative put out into the world about books that goes something like this.
Philosophy, biographies, novels written based upon real events or based upon reality, this is TRUE literature.
Fantasy, science fiction, these are for children, real writers and good readers don’t bother with them.
I liken this opinion to that of a film critic who gives a movie a 2/10 while the general audience gives it a 9/10.
Why the discrepancy? Because the film critic is judging the film based upon a set of criteria that no one else in the damn world gives a shit about, except for other snobbish film critics.
The same thing happens with book critics, most of them are snobbish, and have a set of criteria for judgement of a book that the majority of us do not use.
Many ancient texts, older style books, and great works of literature that are celebrated throughout the world are actually pretty boring in my opinion. They can be appreciated from a historical perspective because many were the first of their kind, but in modern times, with our deluge of books, most of the topics that are discussed within older books have been explained more succinctly, even more beautifully, without all the waste and haughty wording that was employed in the past.
Many stories based in the real world or upon real events lack substance, and simply fall short due to limited character development.
Fantasy and science fiction can avoid all these issues by the simple addition of imagination. Crafting entirely new planets, species, world events, magical and scientific systems, forces us as readers to shift our perspectives massively, it pulls us into a new world that is so different from our own that we have to focus beyond what we normally would.
A wonderful story, with lots of fascinating new concepts, and characters who go through intense change and hardships because of the strangeness of the world and peoples, will cement good philosophical ideas and character building perspectives in our minds much better than a dull book that simply shares an idea devoid of story.
I have learnt and developed as a person way more from reading hundreds of fantasy books than I ever have from the hundreds of philosophy, psychology, and personal development books I have read over the decades.
Great fictional stories deliver information to your brain wrapped in incredibly imaginative stories. This is how we have shared important cultural and moral information for all of human history, orally and in written form.
The high and mighty critics who judge fictional works as for children seem to have forgotten that children are not stupid, and in fact should be reading books of the same degree as adults do most of the time.
I know reading series such as the wheel of time and the malazan books of the fallen when I was in primary school changed my whole view of the world and helped develop me into the person I am today. If someone had told me that these monstrous works were just for little kids I would have laughed in their faces because they obviously had never attempted to read them.
The world would be a different place if it became the norm for kids and adults to read more of the great works of fantasy and science fiction, as the lessons held within would shift their views of the world far more than wasting time with the news or most of what is considered great literature these days.
Food for thought folks.