The Importance of the Impossible
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Chapter 13 Enchantress Parlor When the Bright Palms found the glass door locked, Sheamab smote it with her staff. The stained-glass door vibrated, then cracked, and on the third blow the plates exploded in red and green shards. The Bright Palms crunched their way into the parlor. Two of them held Hiresha with hands that … Read more

Creativity: the Origin of Madness

A fantasy writer must dredge up impossibilities to paint a mosaic of unbelievable wonder. Often, I have questioned if doing so required a whiff of madness. Not that I am the first to suspect a link between creativity and a fraying mind. “The lunatic, the lover and the poet Are of imagination all compact” – … Read more

Is the cure for writer’s block Prozac?

I’ve been reading Strong Imagination, Madness, Creativity, and Human Nature, by Daniel Nettle. He suggests that to begin the monumental undertaking of writing a novel, in the face of overwhelming odds of failure, authors need to have hypomania, a mentality of boiling confidence and breathtaking vision. Anathema to this outlook is a case of the … Read more

Oscar Wilde on Fantasy

I have a feeling that if I reanimated Oscar Wilde amidst the crackle of lightning in my laboratory and asked him what he thought about the fantasy genre, he would say, “I can’t stand it. It’s entirely too believable.” But that was his way. In fact, the one novel he wrote, the Picture of Dorian … Read more

David Farland on Fantasy. Amen!

I invited David Farland to share his thoughts on the themes of morality and good and evil in the fantasy genre, and he graciously accepted. David Farland is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author who has penned nearly fifty science fiction and fantasy novels for both adults and children. Along the way, he has … Read more

“We read fantasy to find the colors again”

I share this quote by George R.R. Martin because it speaks to the greatness and inner vastness of the fantasy genre. The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we … Read more

The most playful genre

To spot certified Senior Fantasy Experts, pay close attention to persons garbed in refinement. They wear top hats to capture and hold their lofty ideas. Their monocles of x-ray vision allow for quick identification of secret passages in haunted mansions. And their walking sticks are in fact wizard staves sized for strutting. I asked this … Read more

Stranger than Myth

Superficially, fantasy and myth seem like kissing cousins (winged, snake-headed, fire-breathing cousins), but how close are they really? First or twice removed? When Homer was known for his verse rather than his donut eating, people may have believed Cyclops did exist, that Hercules was a real person who did smother his family because Hera possessed … Read more

The Great Escape

Reading fantasy is a vacation on five dollars a day. For the price of a sandwich, words transport you on an all-expenses-paid adventure into dark cities, enchanted forests, jewel-glinting caves, and snow-covered mountain ruins. True, you could visit Paris, but in the urban fantasy version, the catacombs would include red mood lighting cast by the … Read more

Imagination Adaptation

A paradox is when truth does a back flip, and the contortionist fact at issue here is that fantasy stories are memorable and resonate with the human experience, despite containing impossibilities that we have never encountered and never will be on this earth. I asked this week’s panel of experts why that might be. “Limitless … Read more