Much to pick apart here. This point in particular stayed in the mind:

…prior to any act of reading, we already live in a fantasy world constructed by advertising, branding, news media, politics and the built or prosthetic environment (in EO Wilson’s sense). The act of narcissistic fantasy represented by the wor(l)d “L’Oreal” already exists well upstream of any written or performed act of fantasy. JK Rowling & JRR Tolkien have done well for themselves, but–be honest!–neither of them is anywhere near as successful at worldbuilding as the geniuses who devised “Coke”, or “The Catholic Church”. Along with the prosthetic environment itself, corporate ads & branding exercises are the truly great, truly successful fantasies of our day. As a result the world we live in is already a “secondary creation”. It is already invented. 

Of course… of course! Wood for the trees with this one, for me. Our fantasy world is already built. Already constructed around us, our fantasies integrated with our lifestyle dreams. This makes the point of escapism somewhat redundant. Where’s the argument to be had? Are we therefore programmed to be escaping in most things we do? The car we chose? The image we want? The things we eat? The choices we make? And what are we escaping in the first place? The real world? People? The reality of emptiness? But if this is already escapist enough, from what are we turning?

How can fantasy literature be really useful, with this in mind. And how the hell do you fit it into a good story?

Perhaps more thoughts later.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

2 replies on “Worldbuilt”

Fantasy is necessary because you get to see dragons fire shit up. And brilliant, because you get to read about Druss figures hacking at bad guys with an axe. Because, let’s be honest, if you attacked the MD of Coke with an axe, you’d go to prison. The biggest fantasy in this lifetime is politics, politicians, and their straight faces when answering questions on illicit BJs. 🙂

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