I have always gravitated towards all things fantasy and sci-fi. I started watching the original Star Trek with my dad at a very young age. We also loved Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, and later Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stargate SG-1. I watched movies like The Last Starfighter, Tron, and Enemy Mine. I saw the original Star Wars movie when I was 7. We saw it in the theater 3 times and that’s a lot for “back then.” My reading tastes have also followed suit. Books that I love include Dune, Jurassic Park, and all stories by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.
My mom and most of my friends never understood how I could enjoy something that “isn’t real.” But I argue that life is too hard and “real” at times not to enjoy some reverie.
What I love about fantasy:
- Anything goes and it’s believable.
Take a look at one of my all time favorite books, Dune. There are giant worms that live on a desert planet. Their waste is the drug of choice in the entire known universe. It’s an absurd idea when I say it like that, but in the book, it’s so real and exciting.
- Social issues can be addressed in sometimes sneaky ways.
The science fiction film genre has long served as a useful vehicle for “safely” discussing controversial topical issues and often providing thoughtful social commentary on potential unforeseen future issues. Presentation of issues that are difficult or disturbing for an audience, can be made more acceptable when they are explored in a future setting or on a different, earth-like world. (taken from Wikipedia) Take a look at Pixar’s hit Wall-E… A seemingly simple futuristic cartoon for kids. But the adults all know what’s going on – it’s a commentary on obesity, laziness and pollution. There are even underlying themes of over-mechanization (and echo’s of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey).
Come on! There are so many great places you can go and don’t have to deal with real life. Science fiction and fantasy films can take us far away: Aliens, Star Trek(s), Avatar. They can thrill us at home either now or in the future: Independence Day, The Fifth Element, Mad Max. They can be very serious: Children of Men, V for Vendetta, I am Legend. And they can make us laugh: Running Man, Galaxy Quest, Men in Black.
So how does this translate into my love of Paranormal Romance (PNR) and Urban Fantasy (UF)?
I point to all three of my comments above. It works because vampires can exist and be sexy descendants of an alien race (Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian). The idea of living with a true love for a very long time and always be happy is acceptable (The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer for one example of many). I can believe in soul mates (like the True Mate series by Teresa D’Amario or Breeds series by Lora Leigh). Shifters can be environmentally conscious and save the earth from humans and others (Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh). I love when “mates” can sense something is wrong with one another. I love how characters can smell emotions and lies. And in PNR, characters, even virgins, can have mind-blowing sex and out of this world orgasms (sometimes just from a single touch). Anything can go and it doesn’t matter – it’s fantasy.
But most of all… I can escape.
Why do you read PNR or UF? If you don’t, do you enjoy science fiction or fantasy films?