Rant: Revenge of the nerds

Fantasy isn’t for just for geeks, it’s the stuff dreams are made of…

Ciao Magazine recently published a rant (see here) in which the writer assaulted the fantasy genre and fans of this genre, making the assumption that things like The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones are “loved worldwide by those of a socially awkward nature.”

Other than the fact that this is a clear example of stereotyping that our modern society rightfully detests, it is complete rubbish.

Here’s why:

Let’s look at the belief that fantasy is only for fat, nerdy losers for a moment. If you do a simple Wikipedia search on The Lord of the Rings, you will quickly discover that it is the second best-selling novel ever written. Likewise, the adapted film trilogy has not only grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide, but also have a combined 17 Academy Award wins – with the last in the series currently tied first for most Oscars won by a single film. Clearly many people, not just the anti-social, love them.

There is nothing that unlocks one’s imagination as incredibly as a great fantasy can, nothing that can make you dream and desire the amazing and awe-inspiring.

And what about the argument that fantasy as a genre is innately inferior to science fiction due to a lack of reality? While I personally prefer science fiction to fantasy, it is, for the large part, in no way more realistic. The great sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke once said that “any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic” and most sci-fi operates as such

From the classic The Time Machine to modern giants like Star Wars or Avatar, the science involved is never explained, it is merely assumed that the audience will just accept it and move on. While some hard sci-fi writers, such as Clarke himself, make a point about technical accuracy, at some point all fiction requires the reader to wilfully suspend their disbelief for the sake of the narrative.

The fantasy genre often requires its audience to just accept the unbelievable, but that’s what makes it so magical (pun very much intended). There is nothing that unlocks one’s imagination as incredibly as a great fantasy can, nothing that can make you dream and desire the amazing and awe-inspiring.

And perhaps most importantly, it is a vital part of our collective human history. Modern fantasy draws heavily from ancient mythology, from creatures like dragons, djinns and vampires to abilities like magic. From the moment we became an intelligent species, man has endlessly created new fantasies and I think it is in our very nature to continue to do so. And it’s not just for fat losers.

Words: Max Kobras

Want to rant? Email info@ciaomagazine.com.au