First off, congratulations to Melanie Simmons who won our giveaway of Karen Chance’s Midnight Daughter. Contact SB Frank to claim your book!

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsI’ve read some reviews lately (on other sites, to which I will not drive traffic by linking) that purport that fantasy books — and genre literature in general — lack merit for adults. They are merely a form of escapism for children, and like all childish things should be put away when one enters adulthood. As almost all the people on this site that I know any demographic data about are adults, it seems that there are a sizeable number of you out there that would disagree with that point of view. I’ve touched on the role of escapism in fantasy before, so today I want to take on the other side of the coin, and talk about the role that fantasy plays in dealing with important issues, or, to put it more lightly, “All I need to know, I learned from reading fantasy novels.”

I’ve learned a lot of things from reading fantasy novels, from the lighthearted “Beware of talking frogs,” to the more serious issues of sexism, racism, and oppression in general. Most recently, I was rereading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, which I haven’t read in twenty years, and was shocked to find that the issue of “same isn’t equal” that is one of the underlying arguments of my doctoral dissertation, is one that Meg argues so forcefully in the book. Somehow, those words have informed my world view as an adult, even though I couldn’t have traced them back to that source originally.

So, dear readers, What have you learned from reading fantasy novels?  Besides “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

Post a comment to this post and SB Frank will pick a random commenter to win a hardback copy of Emily Diamand‘s Raider’s Ransom. He’ll announce the winner on Monday, sometime after 5PM, when this drawing will close.


  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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