My editor asked me what it was I like about the genre I write in. At first, I was a bit surprised by the question, but in contemplating my answer, I realized the wisdom of it.
I have always known there has always been life in the multiverse, not just us, but more species than we have numbers to label them with. When asked how I knew, I answered as an eight year old before a catholic Sunday-school, “Because I know it.”
Life is infinite. Look at our symbol for infinity. It appears as an elongated figure eight, basically a circle twisted one hundred eighty degrees at its center; but stood upright, it appears to be a strand of DNA without the chromosomes attached. Not convinced? Stack ten of those symbols on top of each other connecting each one by overlapping the top and bottom teardrops of each. Now draw rungs like a ladder connecting the two sides of each teardrop. Now what does it look like?
I read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings when I was ten; that was the same year my best friend and I picked up our AD&D beginner’s box set. Mythologies about good and evil species our ancient ancestors called gods can be traced back to the earliest cave paintings found. Every religious philosophy is the result of the experiences that human cultures had, motivating later recounts and attempts to reconcile what they saw, felt, and came to believe.
Fantasy is an interesting word, and here is its dry definition: the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.
Man on the moon; considered impossible or improbable until 1969; was also referred to in stories labeled Science Fiction—an awkward oxymoron isn’t it?
Let’s try a couple variations. Science Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction. Is there any perceivable difference?
People think of fantasy as something conjured out of nothing for the entertainment of children or to make some moral or philosophical point, and while all of these choices lay in real acts, the imagination, the art of imagery for the purpose of illustration at the heart of each story, comes from deep within ourselves, and is often made up of truths we feel more than know. Not sure about that?
Consider this. In your own experiences, how many times did you know something was wrong with someone you knew long before any facts were present to support it? How many relationships have been broken having discovered that one or both partners were less than faithful? How long did it take before it could be proven vs at what point did you begin to believe it—before or after? When you first brought it up, how many answered with some form of “What? You’re imagining things!”
Fantasy is the art of revealing probabilities in time and space of other worlds, other dimensions, other cultures and species each evolving just as we are, learning about their own place in their pool of some distant galaxy. Somewhere, somehow, someone is writing a fantasy or science fiction story about our species, and our cultures and our lives for the entertainment of their own people, and like us, most of them probably think it utterly false.
“In a distant galaxy on a small blue and white planet circling a yellow star, a hairy species walking upright on two of their four limbs called humans were preparing for the last war. . .”