Friday, July 11, 2014

The Magic Of Speculative Fiction

I think the reason I love writing speculative fiction is pretty similar as to why a lot of people love to read happy endings to stories. Most people like happy endings because real life has so much tragedy and sadness, it feels good to read about everything working out in the end.

In real life, our world has definitive rules. In speculative fiction, I make up the rules. I can find the solution to any problem as long as I am creative enough.

If someone dies, the characters aren't as limited. In this world, we must accept death, but in speculative fiction, you have necromancers raising people from the dead, vampires living on past their deaths, ghosts bringing people's souls back, science using electricity to bring people back to life. Anything is possible.

And usually the things we find to be scariest have easy cures for them in speculative fiction. Like in science fiction, cancer has long been cured by doctors. Or in fantasy, hunger has disappeared ever since mages learned to conjure food from thin air. Or in paranormal/horror novels, vampires can be hit with bullets and not even flinch.

I want characters to go through similar problems as to what real people do, like facing disease or death or poverty or anything, but I want it to be so different than anything real, that it feels less personal.

Yeah, reading about a mage getting into a fight with a necromancer and the mage dying might make me sad, especially if I'm really attached to the mage. But nothing at all similar is going to happen in real life, so it also makes the situation less personal. It lets me empathize and feel without the story resembling real life.

It's easier to chew on real world problems like racism, for instance, when the two races don't exist in real life (like dwarves and elves for instance). It allows you to talk about real world problems such as this in a way that will offend less people. They'll be more open to hearing what you have to say because the story isn't about them directly.

And it has a certain feel to it. Even though there is dark fantasy and adult fantasy, which are both kinds that I prefer to write, it still reminds me of being a child a little bit. It broadens my imagination and enters me into a world with endless possibilities.

And it adds a more fantastical and exciting twist to things. People are no longer just people going about ordinary things. Their world is so different than ours that everything they do is extraordinary. There are gods. There are fates. People no longer just rescue people. They are foretold heroes who are here to save the world. People no longer just fall in love. The fates and all the universe brought them together. People don't just die. Their death changes the world. It can be the reason a kingdom falls or why a hero is able to find their strength and conquer evil. Things mean so much more in fantasy.

It's why I am a sucker for Disney songs and Disney movies. They bring a little magic into my life. And we can all use a little bit of magic.