One of my favorite sci-fi authors (Sharon Lee) has declared June 23rd Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers Day.
As she puts it:
So! In my Official Capacity as a writer of science fiction and fantasy, I hereby proclaim June 23 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day! A day of celebration and wonder! A day for all of us readers of science fiction and fantasy to reach out and say thank you to our favorite writers. A day, perhaps, to blog about our favorite sf/f writers. A day to reflect upon how written science fiction and fantasy has changed your life.
So … what might you do on the 23rd to celebrate? Do you even read fantasy/sci-fi? Why? Why not?
Well, I suspect I will be working on my dissertation on the 23rd, but I love fantasy. Perhaps I will do a post on how I became a fantasy reader. I’m also discovering that I enjoy *some* science fiction, as long as it focuses on character more than technology/world-building, but that is all very new, so it’s not as easy to think about as my fantasy background is.
I read fantasy for many, many reasons. The most prominent one is probably because I love to escape into a different world. Fantasy worlds are often based in some fashion on medieval or early modern history, which immediately makes me feel partly at home and better able to cope with whichever other oddities are thrown in there. It’s easier for me to imagine magic in a setting I’m already comfortable with. I also find that because fantasy series are gigantic, I can become immersed in this world for a very long time. I get very attached to the characters, who are often similarly well-drawn. Obviously, epic fantasy is my favorite here. I’m also coming to appreciate urban fantasy, but I don’t think it will ever come close to how I feel about fantasy epics. There is little better in the world than sitting down with several gigantic brick-sized fantasy novels and reading straight through them for a few days. It’s almost enough to make me wish I had wisdom teeth to take out again just so I could have those few days away from the world. (Okay, the aftermath of surgery was really painful. But at least I didn’t have anywhere to be!)
Something else I love about fantasy is its ability to comment on societies and play with assumptions which might not be politically correct in, say, literary fiction, because if it’s not our world, it’s not as offensive. Not all fantasy does this, but one recent example I can think of is Robin Hobb’s Soldier Son trilogy. She likes to torture characters anyway, but this series definitely explores the effect that a person’s appearance can have on his reputation and entire life, fair or unfair, and different perspectives on this appearance from different societies. It made me stop and think. The series is HARD to read and not as spectacular as her other ones, but it’s nice to point out when people tell me that fantasy is all just fluff reading.