I have been enamored by science fiction and fantasy for as long as I can remember. Yet, somehow as an adult I started to forget that. Even while binging on anime and watching those shitty superhero movies, when it came to books I delved more and more strictly into the non-fiction realm. Part of this was of course, the need to know directly applicable historical and scientific information. I hadn’t considered what I might be missing in “Hyperion,” because clearly I had to read every Erik Larson book. “Gun, with Occasional Music” might have sat silently on my shelf while I salivated over “The Soul of an Octopus,” had I not let go of a bias that to be honest, I had always considered silly.
That’s not to say I haven’t, or that I don’t still find immense pleasure reading non-fiction and some mimetic fiction too.
Problem is, people, especially non-lit types (which is most of the population) do not take speculative fiction writing seriously. And as someone who started taking their own writing seriously pretty late in the game, neither did I. Somehow, in becoming what I might label as a grown up, I allowed the literary opinions of those who don’t really read for pleasure bleed into my subconscious. Mind you, there are clear inconsistencies even beyond the not reading, yet having a strong opinion on types of books because some of these folks are eerily obsessed with say, Game of Thrones or Heroes, which both at times reach further into the speculative than many books I might read.
The bias towards realism, coupled with ridiculously limited time conditioned me to stray away from what I really love.
Lev Grossman, who wrote “The Magicians” series said that fantasy could allow one to confront much more daunting obstacles than reality. I’d agree with this, in the sense that literature is elucidating the human experience, speculative fiction, to me feels like a natural expansion of the human condition. A character can be depressed, an asshole, be dealing with compounding socioeconomic problems and still kill one of their friends trying to perform a difficult spell. Or better yet, circumstances that are larger mirrors of human plight can exist in worlds that we create. Worlds that are not bound by physics or biology, where evolution may have diverged in an entirely different manner permit never before conceived tragedies that put our first, second and third world problems to shame.
With that as only one starting point, the desire to create, to think up and give life to a world larger than not only myself, but larger than everything I currently know to be real, becomes a lust more powerful than any I’ve ever felt for sex.