May 2, 2016

Fantasy Land

Category: Literature :: Permalink

Ursula K. LeGuin on common assumptions people — including writers! — make about fantasy fiction:

Assumption: Fantasy Land is the middle ages. It isn’t. It’s an alternate world, outside our history, and its map isn’t on our map. It may resemble mediaeval Europe in being pre-industrial — but that doesn’t justify its having no economics and no social justice. Nor does it explain why nobody there ever feeds or waters their horses, which run all day and night just like a Prius. The best send-up of this fifth-hand Tennyson setting is Monty Python’s Holy Grail, where horse are replaced with coconuts. Whenever I find a fantasy that is set in a genuinely imagined society and culture instead of this lazy-minded, recycled hokum, I feel like setting off fireworks. — Ursula K. LeGuin, “Some Assumptions about Fantasy,” Cheek by Jowl, p. 5.

Posted by John Barach @ 3:00 pm | Discuss (0)

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