It can feel strange, even irresponsible, to write about fantastic worlds when reality seems so dire. Some part of me chides the rest, insisting that I should focus only on this world of pandemic, conflict, and oppression. But, perhaps it is precisely now that we need fantasy the most. Fantasy is the exercise of the imagination, and it is imagination that we will need if we are to transcend our problems. We must imagine a better world, where society is not predicated on exploitation and racism; where the law can be enforced without brutality; and where government represents all the people – not just those born into a privileged race, class, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. Without the ability to imagine something better, we may just trade one oppression for another, as has happened too many times throughout history. Without the courage to imagine, we might revert from our current insanity, back to the same system that ultimately resulted in the madness now standing in place of true governance.
The poet (and prophet) William Blake posited the Poetic Genius as the true God, and Imagination as the Savior. Who am I to argue with Blake? So I will write fantasy. I will write fantasy because Hope flows not just from Faith, but also Imagination. Our ancestors entertained each other with stories of fantastic worlds and beings, while dealing with diseases for which they had no cure, disasters for which they had no warning, and wars that seemed endless. The stories they told sustained them in their darkest hours. We exist because those who came before us could imagine a better future, and that imagination gave them the hope to endure.
Fantasy is serious business, for the most serious of times.