Thursday, July 26, 2007

Heather Asks About Unmentionable Genres

Heather of the slender, graceful backly regions (see the pic on her blog) has asked why fantasy and international novels are The-Genres-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Voldemort genres. I like that.

Well, obviously, on this blog, fantasy is not only named, but it's got a good Latin name that goes around the block twice before it's done breathlessly blurting out its components.

But Heather (who in my mind goes by the moniker of "Elfin Princess White-Wearer") posts this:

So why, if it is true that fantasy does not sell, does Tom Shippey say (as quoted in From Homer to Harry Potter, an excellent book worthy to be read by writers, especially those of the fantasy bent, readers, and Christians, and eventually I’ll get a review of it up here), “The dominant literary mode of the twentieth century has been the fantastic”? (I believe he includes scifi and horror in the “fantastic” category.)Some Christians have a hard time with the magic and sorcery, and I want to respect that. On the other hand, as Homer to HP says, myth is the “embodiment of truth.” They want to get back to the true meaning of myth, not as something false, but as stories that express the identity of a people and their worldview (cf. C.S. Lewis’ The Discarded Image, another must-read, by the way). The gospels, then, are myth. But I digress. I’ve talked about all this before. And Mike Duran also had a lovely post about it as well. Back to a semi-point (does anyone have a pencil sharpener, preferably a metal one attached to a wall that gives your hand blisters when you turn the crank or crank the turn and only occasionally works and makes a horribly annoying sound so that the entire class stares you down as you sharpen your pencil in the middle of a math examine?), with the groundwork laid by Tolkien, Lewis, and Sayers, with the advantage that fantasy has to address real issues in a way that get lost in contemporary, “real” literature, with the resemblance of the gospels to fantasy with the presence of the supernatural invading the natural, why is fantasy in the CBA world off the beaten path?

I think you nice folks should drop by and give your answer to that.

(Ditto with "international" novels.)


Beth Goddard said...

Hey Mir! I reread your last question several times. Can you dumb-it down for me? ROFL


Shannon said...

Yo, Beth! (I can say that because Beth and I are best buds ...)

Look at the last few lines of the quote ... she asking why Christian publishing continues to be such a stick in the mud about fantasy, when:

1) we have Tolkien, Lewis, etc., who are classics

2) fantasy has the power to reach people like no other genre

3) the Bible itself deals in the supernatural

That help? :-) :-) :-)

Beth Goddard said...

ROFL. Shannon, you know I'm only asking for alll the other dummies like me out there who are afraid to speak up!!!!


Heather said...

Sorry - I like my asides and digressions. And I happened to write that post late at night when I couldn't sleep. Never a good idea.
I love my new name!!! I'm keeping it. In fact, maybe I'll make it a pseudonym. If I can't write fantasy, maybe I can at least be a fantastical creature.

Jason said...

Good link Mir. Thanks for highlighting that one!