Poor poor science fiction and fantasy. They’re the outcasts of the genres. What deep meanings does fantasy have to offer that other genres can’t give in a more mature way?
In a way I really do understand those who do not read Sci-Fi because of how “Shallow” it is. Laser beams? Aliens? Time travel? That’s for children! We Literary critics read Real fiction! Even Margaret Atwood lifts her nose at science fiction!
However, I do know one thing that science fiction and fantasy have that other genres don’t, and that is a lack of limits!
Deep within us there is a fear for the darkest and most terrifying, dreadful situations. For example, fear of loneliness is one thing, but fear of inescapable loneliness brought on by the end of the world killing literally everything else in existence is on a whole new level. Some of us may not give this much thought because, really, what are the chances of that happening? But the fear is still there and never fully addressed in reality.
There are also fantastical desires we have. I do not mean desires such as, I want to ride a unicorn. I mean desires such as, if only there was a way I could keep the people I love without having to put up with their shit, if only they could be replace by perfect family members and amazing people. What would be the consequences? What is the thought that went into that desire? In a realistic setting, any of this would not be addressed.
Science fiction and fantasy writers can write about the extremest situations and touch on deep situations we hardly think about. Through breaking the bounds on reality, we can analyse the deepest and most personal fears and desires within us.
Want to talk about how a man attempts to find the meaning of life after the earth drifts too close to the sun to sustain life? Do it! A lonely teenager has stumbled upon the power to forcefully unite all creatures into a heavenly bliss for eternity and is tempted to use it? What would happen? An god wishes to separate itself from the pains that come with life? I smell complex issues and consequences! (by the way, I’m already using that last one. Don’t steal it please.)
Fantasy and Science Fiction could be meaningless drivel, but in the right hands it could be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.