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← Fantasy's Spell on Pop Culture: When Will It Wear Off?

Robert Howard's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Robert Howard

I've always hated the sword-and-sorcery stuff which seems to be the meat and potatoes of this type of fiction and dominates the fantasy section of most bookshops; and aside from a brief flirtation with the Riverworld books by Philip Jose Farmer when I was a kid, I've given this brand of literature a wide berth.

Fantasy fiction has always struck me as the slower kid brother to the more thoughtful and mature older brother of science fiction. Both of these genres manage to capture the imagination and create loyal fans; but, it seems to me, fantasy looks inwards and tries to create worlds within our own, whereas science fiction casts its gaze outwards towards the stars, both literally and metaphorically.

If challenged to recall an image from sci-fi that has entered the public consciousness, you might think of William Shatner kissing Nichelle Nicholls in the racially-charged 1960s, the doo doo doo doo doo of Close Encounters, or Chuck Heston screaming "you maniacs, you blew it up. Damn you all to Hell". And these are just a few. Try the same thing with fantasy and you might get the image of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a pair of sandals.

There are some aspects to moden fantasy that I like: Buffy the Vampire Slayer will always be my favourite tv show, although this may have more to do with Joss Whedon's wit and beautiful writing than anything else; and I loved Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy which was mentioned in the article. I also think J.K.Rowling deserves massive kudos for introducing a generation of kids to the written word.

Wed, 03 Aug 2011 07:41:40 UTC | #857339