By now, I’ve written quite a few “five reasons” posts for my blog. I’ve talked about the things I love about flash fiction and poetry, and I’ve listed my reasons for loving romance and science fiction. Now I’d like to get into another of my favorite genres of fiction, if not my absolute favorite: fantasy! This is a genre I fell in love with when I was a child and that I haven’t stopped loving since. So without further ado, here are the reasons I love fantasy. Enjoy!
1) It’s a testament to the boundlessness of human imagination.
Fantasy is the epitome of human creativity. The very word “fantasy” originates from a Greek word meaning “imagination” (literally “to show at the mind”). In fact, one of the reasons I love reading ancient mythology is that it offers an insight into human imagination from an early point in history. Since prehistoric times, people have been telling stories about the fantastic events that could very well have shaped the world as we know it, and while today we know that such incredible stories about deities and monsters never actually happened, it’s still interesting to see what amazing tales the human mind is capable of dreaming up. And that’s probably why fantasy remains such a popular genre to this day. For me, reading fantasy isn’t just about enjoying a good story; it’s about the thrill of being transported into another person’s imagination. How wonderful is that?
2) It’s the ultimate escape from reality.
Whenever I feel stuck in the monotony of reality (which is often), I like to take a break by indulging in fiction. When I’m really fed up with the real world, I dive headfirst into fantasy, because nothing takes me away from the pressures of life like indulging in a little magic from time to time. Whether it’s writing short stories about dragons, reading a seven-book novel series about young wizards and witches, or playing the hero in a medieval-themed video game, fantasy offers the thrill of escapism like no other genre can. Because what better way to escape from reality than by losing yourself in a world where absolutely anything is possible?
3) Other genres bend the rules; fantasy breaks them.
Two of my favorite genres of fiction are science fiction and fantasy, but sometimes when I compare the two, it’s hard to find the line that distinguishes them. They both feature intricate worlds, highly improbable plots, and characters who are capable of amazing feats. Perhaps the best way to distinguish fantasy from science fiction (or any other genre for that matter) is to consider how they compare to reality, because fantasy is the only genre that makes the truly impossible possible. Alien encounters, artificial intelligence, and dystopian futures technically could be a reality given exactly the right circumstances, but you’ll never see wizards casting magic spells or fire-breathing dragons soaring across the sky. Some things exist purely in our imagination, and that’s exactly what I love so much about fantasy: it pushes boundaries like no other genre can. In a nutshell, science fiction bends the rules, but fantasy breaks them.
4) It brings back the magic of childhood.
Remember when you were a kid, how you loved reading fairy tales and watching animated movies about magical characters who did amazing things? Naturally curious and free of responsibilities as children, we all enjoyed engaging in the wonders of magic, even if it only ever existed in our minds. But growing up has a way of forcing us to put aside our fantasies so we can prepare to face the real world. One of the greatest reasons I’m so fond of fantasy is that it often takes me back to the simpler time of my childhood, a time when it was okay to believe that magic was real and anything was possible if I only wished it with all my heart. Sure, nowadays I don’t longingly watch the skies for an owl carrying my acceptance letter from Hogwarts or feel a twinge of anticipation that I might find a golden ticket whenever I open a chocolate bar, but it’s still nice to keep in touch with that little girl inside who once did. She is, after all, one of the loudest voices that make up the writer in me.
5) It’s incredibly fun to read, write, and play!
Yes, I always end my lists with this reason, but what can I say? It’s always true! Fantasy, when written well, is engaging, exhilarating, stimulating, liberating, and all-around awesome! So the next time you feel stuck in the humdrum of the real world, try taking a break to indulge in a little fantasy. You never know what sorts of amazing adventures await in the imagination until you explore! Enjoy!
What about you? Why do (or don’t) you like fantasy?