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The Problem With Fantasy

I Like It As Much As the Next Man, But ...

I Like It As Much As the Next Man, But …

There is one problem with the fantasy genre. Because anything can happen in any which way, it is impossible to remember exactly what happens in a fantasy unless you have just finished it. There is a trivia quiz on Goodreads.Com of which approximately half the questions relate to Harry Potter or the Stephenie Meyer twinkling vampire romances. Now I have not read Meyer, but I have read all of the Potter novels. The trouble is, I can’t remember more than a few basic situations.

All those games of Quidditch, all those supernatural events concerning He Who Must Not Be Named, all those spells and magical devices and such—they have quite vanished from my mind. I ascribe this not to any rotting of my memory, but to the arbitrariness in the arrangement of events depicted in the novels.

The same goes for Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, though not quite so much, and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.

I think you you really like a particular fantasy novel or series, you will eventually have to read it multiple times. During the process, you will probably discover that it is almost like reading it for the first time. That can be good … or bad.


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