“ When people dis fantasy—mainstream readers and SF readers alike—they are almost always talking about one sub-genre of fantastic literature. They are talking about
, and Tolkien's innumerable heirs. Call it 'epic', or 'high', or 'genre' fantasy, this is what fantasy has come to mean. Which is misleading as well as unfortunate.
Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature. His oeuvre is massive and contagious—you can't ignore it, so don't even try. The best you can do is consciously try to lance the boil. And there's a lot to dislike—his cod-Wagnerian pomposity, his boys-own-adventure glorying in war, his small-minded and reactionary love for hierarchical status-quos, his belief in absolute morality that blurs moral and political complexity. Tolkien's clichés—elves 'n' dwarfs 'n' magic rings—have spread like viruses. He wrote that the function of fantasy was 'consolation', thereby making it an article of policy that a fantasy writer should mollycoddle the reader.
That is a revolting idea, and one, thankfully, that plenty of fantasists have ignored. From the Surrealists through the pulps—via
M. John Harrison
and I could go on—the best writers have used the fantastic aesthetic precisely to challenge, to alienate, to subvert and undermine expectations.
Of course I'm not saying that any fan of Tolkien is no friend of mine—that would cut my social circle considerably. Nor would I claim that it's impossible to write a good fantasy book with elves and dwarfs in it—Michael Swanwick's superb
Iron Dragon's Daughter
gives the lie to that. But given that the pleasure of fantasy is supposed to be in its limitless creativity, why not try to come up with some different themes, as well as unconventional monsters? Why not use fantasy to challenge social and aesthetic lies?
Thankfully, the alternative tradition of fantasy has never died. And it's getting stronger.
Paul di Filippo
, and many others, are all producing works based on fantasy's radicalism. Where traditional fantasy has been rural and bucolic, this is often urban, and frequently brutal. Characters are more than cardboard cutouts, and they're not defined by race or sex. Things are gritty and tricky, just as in real life. This is fantasy not as comfort-food, but as challenge.
The critic Gabe Chouinard has said that we're entering a new period, a renaissance in the creative radicalism of fantasy that hasn't been seen since the New Wave of the sixties and seventies, and in echo of which he has christened the Next Wave. I don't know if he's right, but I'm excited. This is a radical literature. It's the literature we most deserve. ”
“ Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. ”
“ Mortals cannot perceive me with the physical eye whilst in my pure form unless it is of my choosing, for it would result in fatality, which begs the question of why you are an exception. ”
“ I'm about to start reading it again, because what good is a story you only want to read once? ”
“ Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. ”
“ Apa pun yang terlihat, boleh jadi tidak seperti yang kita lihat. Apa pun yang hilang, tidak selalu lenyap seperti yang kita duga. Ada banyak sekali jawaban dari tempat-tempat yang hilang. ”
“ There's more to life than just surviving . . . but . . . sometimes just surviving is all you get ”
“ There is something about riding a unicorn, for those people who still can, which is unlike any other experience: exhilarating, and intoxicating, and fine. ”
“ But I was wrong. I should have known it wasn't owver, couldn't be over quite easily. No sooner was Xavier out of sight than a little cylinder of paper fell from the top of my locker. As I unrolled it, I knew I'd see black calligraphy crawling across it like a spider. Dread settled around me like a fog as the words burned into my brain:
The Lake of Fire awaits my lady ”
“ If one chooses sides on emotion then the rebel is the guy to go with. He is fighting for everything men claim to honour, freedom, independance, truth, the right.......all the subjective illusions. All the eternal trigger words. We are minions of the villan of the piece. We confess the illusion and deny the substance. ”
“ Gods and politics are the tools with which the godless and unprincipled manipulate the gullible. ”
“ there are people all over the world who carry the mermaid inside them, that otherworldly beauty and longing and desire that made her reach for heaven when she lived in the darkness of the sea. ”
“ Those who try to juggle wisdom, power and greed, drop one of the balls, every time.
“ With him I couldn’t be anything but myself and that scared the crap out of me, because I had never existed like that before. ”
“ Does it make you brave to stick your hand in a bear's mouth? Would you do it again just because you didn't die? ”
“ We share a bond. We do everything together. We have a piece of strong, invisible thread connecting us. It’s indestructible – it can never be broken. The thread is the key item that links us together. We understand each other. ”
“ He considered my question for a moment and then ducked his head to kiss me. He tugged me flush up against his chest , pulling me closer than i even though possible, and then his lips touched mine. ”
“ And yet many of us do it without families," Nynaeve said. "Without love, without passion beyond our own particular interests. So even while we try to guide the world, we separate ourselves from it.We risk arrogance, Egwene. We always assume we know best, but risk making ourselves unable to fathom the people we claim to serve. ”
“ Love is when you’d rather see someone one last time and die, than never see their face again. ”
“ You fill my soul with hope and love.
Together, we will remain through the heavens above.
One soul, together. For always and forever… ”
“ Winter Liar" by Liam Doyle the Incubus
What come once here will never come again,
no matter monument nor memory;
all sunwarmed green succumbs to winter's wind.
And you, my love, were also my best friend,
and had your life to live. The tragedy
was not just my youth's recklessness, although
I trusted much to impulse, whim, freedom,
a destiny excluding doom. Frankly,
youth can be our insanity. But now I'm cured
of that fever, although the price was high;
and chilly April wind can only sigh
at my regrets, yet sun will brighten wind so,
one knows that soon green stirs, and wild bees hum.
And summer once more will make winter liar,
but I won't warm. You're all I'll ever desire. ”
“ Souls were webs of light that contained the essence of a human's life. Memories and loves, children and families. Every moment of life, pressing in ”
“ It's a never ending dream for everyone it seems, to find again what was once precious and has been lost. ”
“ But why?" Vimbai whispered, overwhelmed with the weight of accumulated disbelief. "What is happening to us?"
"Who knows?" Maya shrugged. "Who cares? Enjoy it while you can, why don't you? There will be tons of boring shit in your life, okay? I promise. ”
“ She smells like spring and flowers and rain, even though it’s winter. Sometimes, he thinks he loves her so much that his mind is unable to distinguish between love and obsession. Which is worse? ”
“ Goodbyes are sad, but they are temporary, because as hellos ends with goodbyes, so will goodbyes start with hellos. ”