I am pleased to have a fascinating guest post this week, written by a very supportive member of the writing community. Andrew McDowell writes fantasy fiction and contributes to short story collections. I loved his first novel, ‘Mystical Greenwood’ and enjoy his blog about writing.
Fantasy and science fiction take readers into worlds different from their own, offering supernatural and paranormal elements that are not found in everyday life. In fantasy, these elements often include magic and mythical creatures, whereas in science fiction there’s technology advanced to a new level (or taken/fallen to a terrible extreme, as in the case of dystopia).What is it about these fictional worlds that readers find so appealing?
Perhaps it is because they are so different that people are drawn to them. It is escapism. Reading, when done with pleasure, allows readers to be momentarily taken away from their own worlds. It makes sense, then, when life can sometimes feel too mundane. Having the possibility of magic or scientific advancement gives life flavor. Would people be inspired to learn more or imagine if all of life’s mysteries were solved? It was the need for such answers, to explain what could not be explained, from which sprouted mythologies and fairy tales all over the world.
But then again, we cannot totally escape from our own worlds. Perhaps, then, fantasy and science fiction, in offering us a form of escape, can be used to allow us to look at our reality and our life differently. Dystopian fiction is a fitting example—what would happen to humanity if science or the world itself went horribly wrong? One reviewer of my epic fantasy novel Mystical Greenwood described it not only as sword and sorcery, but also as an allegory of humans’ relationship with the natural world.
In conclusion, it is about seeking meaning. Mythology and modern religion have helped us find meaning in everyday life, and fantasy and science fiction take us a step further in finding meaning, and the best of these can not only do that, but also help us discover that meaning by shedding light on the present. Even to this day, there are unsolved mysteries and unexplained questions, and we’re still escaping into fantastical worlds. If we continue to have that, and if we desire something more, there will always be a need for fantasy.
Andrew McDowell became interested in writing at age 11, inspired by childhood passions for stories and make-believe. By the time he was 13, he knew he wanted to be a writer. He studied at St. Mary’s College and the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association.
In addition to his fantasy novel Mystical Greenwood, Andrew has also written poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction, and he is interested in writing drama and lyrics. He was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, when he was 14.
1. Cowan, Cameron. Why Fantasy is a Necessary Ingredient for Living | Everyday Power.
3. Flanagan, Victoria. Children’s fantasy literature: why escaping reality is good for kids (theconversation.com).
4. Lafevers, R. L. Why Fantasy Matters | WIRED.
5. Webb, Beth. The real purpose of fantasy | Books | The Guardian.
Thank you so much for reading Andrew’s guest post. If you are a writer or blogger and would like to write a guest article I would love to include it, so long as it is mainstream.