George R.R. Martin on Fantasy (“Everything That Is Wrong With Commercial Fantasy In A Single Quote”)

August 27, 2012
Filed under: News 

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Brian Murphy, of the Silver Key blog, has posted about something interesting he found on another blog (Everything Is Nice). It’s about this poetic description of Fantasy written and read by George R.R. Martin (that sums up “Everything That Is Wrong With Commercial Fantasy In A Single Quote”):

Myself, when I think of Fantasy I think of The Twilight Zone, of Philip K. Dick’s Beyond The Door, of James Powell’s A Dirge For Clowntown, of Homer’s The Iliad, of Jorge Luis Borges and his Garden Of Forking Paths.

To me fantasy is not an endless adventures in a magical medieval Europe, nor a tattooed vampire with a sword in one hand and a laser blaster in the other.

To me Fantasy is countless tiny worlds – many like our own – many radically different – some entirely impossible, but all of them firmly found within my world.

Fantasy, to me, exist within the books themselves, and in my memory of them, and in my consciousness when I think of them, all as a part of the larger world I live in.

Fantasy is not a place of escape, nor a world separate from mine in which I wish to live.

I don’t view Fantasy literature as a form of escapism.

To me Fantasy is something to enjoy, like a fine meal. Something to inspire an attitude, not a way to understand the world, nor as a consolation or a substitute for a harsh reality I’d rather not think about.

But commercial fantasy, the endless book series that take up larger and larger section of the bookstore shelves, is, to me, a very small and uninteresting part of Fantasy literature. It is the part that gets the most attention. But it shouldn’t.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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