Best Fantasy Author
Contemporary Fantasy Books: A Portal to the Real Among the Strange
Within the fiction genres, there’s a lot that doesn’t really deserve much attention. Like pop music, genres are dismissed by academics as base, childish, and tawdry. Of course, they aren’t completely wrong in making these assertions. But in being dismissive we miss the gold for dross.
Consider, if you would, the music of the Beatles - just for the purpose of example. These songs are simple. They are childish, naive, and basic. They appeal to something uncomplicated. But they do it in a way that is earnest, and that taps into something ineffable about the human creature. Compare the music of the Beatles to Bach, and you won’t get anywhere. But to look at it for what it is is to hear that the fun and the joy that it evokes and see that it is more than the sum of its parts. That is what contemporary fantasy is all about.
I never set out to become the Best Fantasy Author or to make a million dollars from a few months of pressing letters down into my keyboard. But it became clear to me that contemporary fantasy had something hidden beneath the garage sale of power fetishism that we see in superhero movies and horror stories.
By making the fantastical live with the contemporary we shine a light on the absurdity of our dreams and the so-called “normal” at the same time. The contemporary is the normal as we accept it, and fantasy is normal as we think - in some dreamlike way - that it should be. At the end of the day, it is a dressing for all the great story forms that bring the modern human condition into play on its own terms.
Join me as I continue on this journey with my series on Detective Harmon Waite. I think there’s something golden waiting for all of us down that rainy road of the imagination.