If you are like me, which I’m sure you are since you’re reading this, you have a love for science fiction and fantasy. Since you most likely are like me, you probably, also, have friends and family that don’t read often. Whenever I talk to them about what I’m reading or writing, they get this vague, zoned-out look on their faces—just after I say “science-fiction” and/or “fantasy”—like drunk monkeys learning chess.
They have this image of what sci-fi and fantasy is in their minds. It’s a preset image of a black and white movie about a giant robot attacking earth and aliens riding around on unicorns as they throw rocks at witches. I’m sure those aren’t one-hundred percent accurate, but it’ll do for now.
The problem is that there is a huge disconnect between people and what is considered science fiction and fantasy. The major reason for that is the fact that most people aren’t really sure what constitutes as science fiction and fantasy. Robots, aliens, space travel, the distant future … sure, that’s sci-fi, but so is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, which we all know was also a romantic drama.
And sure, some fantasy contains dragons, wizards, and elves that journey to do some unbelievable thing in some far off, enchanted land, but that’s not all that falls under fantasy. Think about Twilight and True Blood, they’re both based off of wildly successful series that involve vampires. Stephanie Meyers herself might actually be responsible for jumpstarting the wildly successful fantasy genre in America.
People feel like stories told in fantasy and science fiction are too separate from their own lives. They feel that the stories lack a human connection, as if they could never experience the same things as the characters in the books. Sure, you’ll never traipse across Middle Earth to drop a ring into Mount Doom, but I’m sure we have all experienced moments in our lives when we felt overwhelmed, defeated, and alone.
We must remember that science fiction and fantasy stories are just like any other story at their core. They tell us about people, places, and the things that happen to those people in those places. It’s best to think of them as stories about people filtered through dreams. I, also, guarantee that they are all written by humans, and writers are always told to “write what you know.”
Just think about the last time you moved. You spent weeks packing boxes, trying to figure out which stupid knick-knacks you wanted to keep and which you would toss out; whether or not you were going to pack that thing that your significant other adores but you detest (which you could have easily said was lost in the move). Then there’s the garage sales, transferring utilities, and forwarding your address.
Sure, you didn’t have to fight off Ringwraiths, but realtors are a close second. You didn’t have to survive anything at all, but just like Frodo Baggins, you felt a sense of achievement and great relief when all was over. Frankly, Frodo really didn’t do anything terribly amazing, anyway. He dropped a ring into a volcano… I drop stuff all the time, and no one ever wrote an epic fantasy about me!
About the Author
M.P. McVey is a writer living in Columbus, Ohio with his supportive and patient girlfriend, a one eyed cat named Stanley, and an ornery kitten named Gandalf, the almost all grey. He is the author of the soon to be released contemporary fantasy novel, “Plod On, Sleepless Giant”.
Michael can be found on the Internet at http://mpmcvey.wordpress.com/
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