Friday, June 22, 2007

My favorite fantasy

Once in a while, I read a book that completely blows me away. Sometimes it's science fiction--Cyteen and Downbelow Station by CS Cheryth did. Sometimes it's romance--I still remember the first Jennifer Cruise Harlequin Temptation I read and thinking--this is what category romance can do. Sometimes it's mystery--Elmore Leonard or T. Jefferson Parker can write a mean line. But most often, it's fantasy.

I think the reason is that fantasy opens all possibilities. Authors can write a fantasy so funny it'll knock your socks off--if you haven't read the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, you've got a treat coming. Sometimes fantasy lets us look at our own world through different lenses, seeing what we should have known--Harry Turtledove does this in his fantasy alternate history tales. Sometimes it opens new doors--when I read Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny for the first time, I hurried to the library to research Indian religion. Sometimes it makes you cry--as George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones did. Sometimes it's just plain fun.

I've read lately that paranormal romance is on the way out. I don't know--my paranormal romances (One Handsome Devil and In the Werewolf's Den) seem to sell better than most of my other books, but that seems to be what I'm hearing from New York. I don't know if that's true although certainly not everything the New York publishers have put out lately has been as good as it might be, and I have to say that I could go a long time without another hunky immortal vampire. I hope, though, that fantasy will always be a major part of what's published, and that publishers will continue to seek new, creative, and wonderfully powerful fantasies like the ones that first inspired me to want to write.

Rob Preece

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

FANTASY (a poem) by Mary Andrews

A man walked up and asked me one night,
“What do you like, my dear?”
And I gazed in his eyes and far past his lies,
Drew a deep breath and replied:

I like white horses with horns,
Winged creatures—air born,
Dragons, castles, and magical things.

I like soft, starry nights,
And cold crisp sounds of flight
Like the leathery flapping of wings.

He looked at me strangely
And took a deep drink,
And asked what I liked to do.

And I gazed in his eyes,
Farther still past his lies,
Drew another deep breath and replied:

I like mythical things
That make foolish hearts sing,
Things like honesty, valor, and truth.

Someone holding me tight,
KNOWING things are alright,
And relationships not hundred-proof.

And he blinked once or twice,
Blew a smoke ring or two,
Left his name and his number behind.

As I watched him depart,
A cold wind crossed my heart,
And that is the reason I write.

(Poetry is not my forte, but I have a book full of these things
from back-in-the-day...
This one came to mind since Dindy did such a good job
of covering the other points I was going to make.)
til next time, read and write on.--mary andrews

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Do I like Fantasy?

At one time I would have answered that question with a resounding "No." I'm a pretty practical type of person, and when I am reading and writing, I like to stay within the realms of possibility. Besides, for many years almost all fantasy novels written were clones of Lord of the Rings. Once I read that, there wasn't any need to read anything else.

However, tastes change, and not only that but literature changes. In the 80's there was a change in fantasy literature. Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels gave us fantasy that explored issues such as gender differences, culture clash, religion, wife abuse and pedophilia. She, along with other writers, ushered n a new era in fantasy novels-- a post LOTR era. Fantasy novels no longer always involved a quest or a war between good and evil or a dark lord. Sure, there were generally some elements of good and evil in most fantasy novels, but it was a different sort of focus than we found in Lord of the Rings.

Now I read and enjoy quite a bit of fantasy, and even wrote a fantasy novel, The Dreamer's Way, which is a blend of SF and Fantasy. I love the opportunity to be able to explore problems that we have in a different setting. Sometimes by just stepping sideways a bit and looking at a problem in a different way we can find a way to resolve it.

I've never been a linear thinker, so Fantasy allows me to indulge the non-conformist part of me. And sometimes it's just plain fun-- wouldn't we all like to have magical powers? Don't most of us secretly long for the days when we believed in Santa Claus?

In the world of fantasy, we slip the bounds of reality and can become anything we want. In a middle-aged life that often seems to be little but get up, go to work, come home, go to bed, a little bit of fantasy reminds us that there is more to life than the mundane of every day.