How exciting! CyCon has begun again! I'm excited to participate in the discussion of fantasy's integration into society as part of the Urban Fantasy blog hop. (In case you missed it, you can find the first stop on Lin Ryal's page)
We live in an amazing time where it is chic to be geek. Where Game of Thrones is the most popular television program, where LARPing happens in city parks and no one bats an eye, where fantasy has become an integral element of society. From Harry Potter to Supernatural, fantasy realms bleeding into our own world are not only common, they are deeply desired.
It is such an exciting time for those of us who were always drawn to the fantastical. But what has led to this rise of popularity in Fantasy? I remember reading a fascinating article while at university (that, of course, I cannot find now) that talked about how in times of struggle, fiction entertainment rose rapidly as it was a way to escape. Is that what we're seeing with the rise in Fantasy?
Perhaps. But I think it is more than that. See, what makes Fantasy so wonderful is that it is a safe space to explore hard topics such as racism, sexism, classism, what it means to be a hero, what it means to be good. These are societal questions that plague every generation and you can see their response in the literature of their time.
I think that is a huge reason we've seen such a rise in all fantasy, but especially in urban fantasy. Because urban fantasy brings it just a little bit closer to home. We're not just exploring the hero's journey through a male hobbit who lived in a whole other time and place, we are looking at a modern boy who grew up under a cupboard. We're looking at a group of teens who's town has been invaded by vampires (as happens in my series The Hunters) and their struggle to protect the ones they love from the monsters. As the series goes along we discover a hard truth, that most monsters are monsters because they were victims first.
Urban Fantasy is a great mirror that allows us to look at many different hard truths, as I explore in The Clear Angel Chronicles. Truths like the concept that those who are different are still often not accepted by most of society. Clear's struggles as a psychic mirror the struggle of those with sensory processing issues. Her visions that she cannot block out or control are much like those on the autism spectrum who are unable to process all the stimuli that hits them every day.
While I appreciate the sentiment that "escapist fiction" is there to entertain, I think that most of us read it not only to be entertained but also to see these lessons and reflections. To explore these deeper thoughts and ideas. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
And don't miss out on the other exciting conversations happening in this fun blog hop!