Before science was advanced enough to prove fantastic ideas wrong or impossible, many believed in mystical creatures. In the late 1600s, creatures such as witches and demons were a realistic threat to society. With today’s technology and proven science, we can all sleep soundly at night without fear of unnatural beasts of the dark. However, not all people and places of fantasy were scary; elves, unicorns, and fairies once dwelled on the minds of the optimistic and adventurous. Now that the world has been shrunken by science and technology, we turn to science fiction literature and films to keep our fantastic minds entertained.

Although we are seen clearly as a realistic and practical people, we all have a desire to have some sort of wonder in our lives. Since there is little in this world left to wonder about, we turn to Sci Fi. In reality, we are limited by time and space, whereas there are no limits to fantastic literature, comics and films. If all we have to think about is reality, where does creativity take place? It doesn’t.

Although we live to discover, it is the journey to discovery that we humans thrive on. Once things are discovered or revealed, we become bored. Our boredom with reality is what drives us to imaginary alternatives. Yes, we are aware that there are no such things as dragons or wizards; but in the worlds of Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins, these creatures are very real. In J.K. Rawlings’ Harry Potter series, a reader or viewer can latch on to characters and feel as if this world is but a box to us. Reading is the key to the closed chest of reality. We desire to be oblivious to the harsh facts of reality in order to keep our minds sane. Insanity may just be sanity at its finest.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

I love that you point to reading as nurturing these imaginary alternatives, but it exceeds even this with television, films, and board games and video games. I wonder if there is something more "participatory"-friendly in fantasy world-building as opposed to science-fiction world-building...can more people imagine themselves into a fantastic magical world more easily than they can a science fiction one (which they might quite enjoy, but feel more of a spectator?) I've never thought about this possibility before...