When I was growing up, reading was about literature and the age of the great American novel. The fictional realism of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Lee taught us what to aspire towards if we wanted to be writers. Maybe that’s why I didn’t read much as a kid or take the idea of being a writer seriously until my late twenties. I can’t stand realism.
It’s clear to me now that the age of fictional realism and the great American novel have dipped downward in popularity, and the age of fantasy is climbing upwards. What’s more, it hasn’t even peaked yet.
Media phenomenons like The Lord of Rings, Harry Potter, and now Minecraft, are fantasy worlds that ripple globally throughout human culture. Which is awesome. I was born for the age of fantasy. My first novel, The Alchemist’s Theorem, is pure, irrational, childhood imagination. I’m well trained for it.
People used to view fantasy as escapism. They saw it as the inability to deal with reality. Maybe that’s how it started, but I think science fiction and fantasy are now being accepted as sources of optimism and possibility about our future as a species. Our ideas and understanding of reality is a box, a set of constraints that limit our growth. Fantasy and science fiction are how we will manage to get outside of our box, because right now we really need to grow..
Minecraft is fantasy world building and it is rooting itself in an entire generation of kids. This is a good thing. They are good kids, and they are going to do great things, because thinking outside of reality and in the realm of fantasy is normal to them.