Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fantasy Or Reality?

All righty, here we are again at another installment of The Blog Chain.  This topic comes courtesy of Jenita, and you can read her detailed, focused answer at the link.  Because I'm going to warn you right now.  My answer will not be focused.  When are my blog posts ever focused?  So, do I prefer fantasy or reality?  And why?

Well, I'm writing a fantasy.  And my second project is slated to be a fantasy.  But does that mean I prefer it?

I don't.  I like fantasy and reality the same.  But the books I read tend more often than not to be fantasy because I prefer books that provide some form of escapism.  Something that doesn't relate to my life in any way (exception: Asian-American literature, and we'll get to that).  Of course, don't get the idea that my family is in dire financial straits and I'm in an abusive relationship and my parents neglected me as a child.  My life is totally fine, and I count my blessings.  

Still, a book should take me away somewhere, make me believe in the world it presents.  This includes fantasy (most obviously), and maybe some genres you wouldn't think of.  A good thriller. A historical romance.  Dystopic fiction.  That sort of thing.  I don't like contemporary stuff.  I hate to use this term, but I don't know how else to define it: chick lit.  I have read good chick lit.  I just don't go out of my way to read something that isn't recommended in that "genre" (again, I don't like the idea of chick lit being a genre, because there's no such thing as manly lit, so the term is stupid).  I had a wonderful high school experience, and I am incredibly NOT into things like Gossip Girl etc.

Ha, that was the worst answer to the question ever.  

Okay, FINE.  I guess, I prefer fantasy.  Harry Potter, Twilight, Percy Jackson, Narnia: all of this stuff is lovely.  To be specific, urban fantasy is better in my mind because it provides just enough reality to make me think, "Wow, I could almost believe there really is a Camp Half-Blood" or "Maybe one day I can find that magical wardrobe!"  I grew up with Harry Potter, and when I was eleven, I half-hoped I would get that Hogwarts letter.  (This right here is going to provide the anti-magic, psycho book-banning people plenty of fodder for labeling HP a product of the devil.)

Also, fantasy is good because it puts characters in situations where their true meddle is tested.  In drastic ways.  You don't get these drastic tests in reality-based books.  I will go ahead and incite some controversy by saying that fighting a dragon is harder than anything you'll encounter in a high school scenario.  Fighting a dragon who is your mother turned insane by a witch is EVEN HARDER.

I said earlier the only exception I have to this rule is Asian-American literature.  I am always on a hunt for this stuff (particularly Chinese lit).  For those of you who can read/write Chinese, I mean AA lit in English.  For example: The Joy Luck Club, The Fold, Wait for Me, Seeing Emily, etc.  I have a fascination for the AA experience and how it relates to my own.  Maybe because sometimes, I need to know other people understand what it means to grow up American in a Chinese household.  This is more than generational gap, people.  This is cultural, linguistic, moral gap.  Literary therapy is much needed.

And that's all.  My disclaimer, as always, is up top: "unorganized observations" and nobody wins at unorganized posts like I do.

Let's get this battle going.  Fantasy or reality?

See everybody else's less ambiguous answers:

Thursday: Moi


  1. I so agree. I like to write both equally. Reality is easier to write in a way ('cause I know more about it), but then in fantasy, you can just...make stuff up!
    I like reading anything that provides an escape. Fantasy and historical romance and classics (like Jane Austen and Wuthering Heights and The Age of Innocence) are my favorite genres. Usually, whenever I read (wait let's rephrase that: try to read) realistic fiction, my faith in humanity well...drops. So I have to go read Pride and Prejudice or Little Women or Percy Jackson to restore my faith in humanity. The sad thing is: when I read realistic fiction, I often find myself thinking, "Who cares!? Why does this matter?" While reading classics or historical fiction or fantasy, the question rarely crosses my mind.
    So there you have it. My opinion! Fantasy rules. :)
    One last note: We've all experienced reality. And quite frankly, it sometimes sucks. When I read something, I want it to be a new experience. So: fantasy (or history) :)

  2. I'm totally with you in the urban fantasy bandwagon. Urban fantasy tends to blur the lines and make it seem more believable to me, like you said. It's like a diet fantasy genre for those of us who like fantasy but can't deal with it all the time.

    Books based completely in reality tend to bore me to tears, unless they're from an author I like or in a certain genre.

  3. So yeah, I'm pretty much your polar opposite. I dabble in fantasy, but only if it comes highly recommended and I sort of love Gossip Girl.


    To be fair, I've never actually read the books, just watched the show, but I've read plenty of Gossip Girl-esque books and love them.

    One thing we do have in common is a love for all things Asian in lit. I love Amy Tan and have read all of her books. I actually enjoy fiction about any culture that I don't know much about...Indian fiction is a fave too. There's just something to say for reading a riveting story AND learning something in the process.

  4. So long as it's written well and interesting, I love it. That being said, I tend to lean towards fantasy when I write. :D

  5. Oooh, you read and write fantasy for the same reasons as me: escapism.

    That, and I am extremely shallow. Ha ha! No, really. I just don't like reading to learn new things. I love documentaries, searching the Internet, doing interviews, etc. But I don't wann read a NF book to learn something new. I just don't. Thus, ElanaJ = fantasy.

  6. Definitely fantasy. Write realistic YA? You mean come up with a plot that doesn't involve time travel or witches or demons or ghosts? That someone would want to read? Frankly, I'd be wasting my time and probably throw myself out a window...

    ps, I read a review for the fold and now i must read it. going to the library on my lunch break.