Saturday, February 4, 2012

Why we need Fantasy

        When I was 9 or 10 years old, my parents were divorced. I don't remember it that well, actually, just that my father took my younger brother away and I didn't see either one of them for 4 years. I tell you this because around this time I was given J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit to read in school. I loved it. Devoured it. Wanted to live in Middle Earth. Soon, I was searching out and reading every fantasy story that I could find. I would hit all of the bookstores (when there still were many) and study the cover paintings, read the back cover blurbs. These stories pulled me away from the life I was living and I think they helped to fight away some of the emptiness that I was feeling at that time. That is what a great fantasy story does. They take you away to impossible worlds, worlds with amazing characters, horrifying creatures and the most evil of villains. Instead of sitting alone on my bed, missing my brother, I was traveling with a company of Dwarves and a hobbit toward the Lonely Mountain. I was creeping into Mordor undetected with Frodo and Sam. I was defending Helm's Deep. 
        There are certain books that will always have a place in my heart for that very reason. During a time of trouble, sorrow, loneliness, I disappeared. I vanished into another realm. That is the essence of fantasy. That is what I try to give the reader with my stories. In my world, Kirkaldin, you can lose yourself defending Elfwhere from the Pith with General Grael by your side. You can travel to Harrow Isle, an insane asylum surrounded by sea dragons in the company of Davaris, High Mage of Councilcrane. You can save the world alongside these extraordinary characters that, for a moment, seem real.
        I hope that somewhere, a person, no matter their age, is able to lose themselves in my books as I did when I was young. I needed that escape and I know others do as well. This is why I believe we all need a little fantasy. I'll see you across The Edge.

Walk with the Wind,



  1. This was a very poignant and personal post and I both enjoyed and identified with it. I got into fantasy as an adolescent, starting with the Hobbit, then Leiber, Howard, Hickman-Weis and Brooks. It was escapism pure and simple, partly fuelled by indulging in RPG. Strangely I stopped reading fantasy from 21 through 35 whilst I studied and read only on holiday (usually contemporary stuff).
    I got back into it whilst thinking about writing and also whilst finishing my career progression. It acts as a welcome alternative to the rather harsh brand of reality I encounter as a consultant in Intensive Care, which while very enjoyable can be quite mired in death and tragedy.
    Thanks for making me think about why I love fantasy- Ross.

  2. Thank you very much for your comment, Ross. I've been getting a lot of feedback regarding this specific post, all good. I suppose that I'm heading in the right direction.


  3. Good post. I agree some books just get us through the bad times, as if we were on the ocean clinging to a lift raft.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Paul. I suppose it's because of the intensity of the situation, but with many of those books, I can remember exactly where I read them, even though I was quite young.