Why You Should Read Science Fiction and Fantasy

Artwork by Joe Slucher. You can find his artwork here. “Myth basically serves four functions. The first is the mystical function,… realizing what a wonder the universe is, and what a wonder you are, and experiencing awe before this mystery….The second is a cosmological dimension, the dimension with which science is concerned – showing you what shape the universe is, but showing it in such a way that the mystery again comes through…. The third function is the sociological one – supporting and validating a certain social order…. It is the sociological function of myth that has taken over in our world – and it is out of date…. But there is a fourth function of myth, and this is the one that I think everyone must try today to relate to – and that is the pedagogical function, of how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances.” ― Joseph Campbell, The Power of MythJust substitute the word myth with science fiction and fantasy and you will see four powerful reasons why you should be reading this genre.Modern myths consist of tales from the minds of Fantasy and Science Fiction authors. Storytellers like Ursula K. Leguin, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Steven King, Issac Asimov, Larry Niven, Orson Wells and many more write in the realm of fantasy and science fiction. Yes they get labeled into other categories such as Horror or Speculative Fiction, but these are nasty marketing labels which do a disservice to readers and writers. It only helps big publishers and their marketing as stated in this great article here. Why should you delve into the wonders of Science Fiction and Fantasy? I will give you several answers but first and foremost my answers will come from several sources. I believe my work and many others authors of this genre get unfairly stigmatized and downgraded into subcategories. It’s almost as if people want to stop dreaming and exploring. What happened to the wanderlust of youth? Where is your need to escape it all? Ask yourself that and see why you truly want to hide in the mundane world we all come to know and distrust. We need myths to give color to our lives. Here are several reasons why you should be reading Science Fiction and Fantasy.1. They truly are a way to escape the ordinary. Escapism is often an overstated coping mechanism we use to get through daily life. We all experience situations out of our control. Forced to do things we hate. Bogged down with constant demands and we slowly feel a part of ourselves slowly being cramped in. Stuck in our situation it does help our minds to escape where we are. Humans are curious creatures and we have a need to see over the mountain. With science fiction and fantasy we can reach the cold planet of Pluto in no time. Yes we still have our responsibilities. But for a short time we can move to another realm within our mind. No need to be reminded of the drudgery of everyday life. This article has some more reasons here.2. To gain a new perspective on life. Ideas and technology rapidly changes before our eyes. Sometimes it does feel so overwhelming we want to throw our hands up and dig into the sand. I say, seek out a new vision of what can be. Many science fiction authors have seen what our new world can be. Automated cars are here and now. Elevators to our earth orbit will be a reality soon. We will be on the moon again in full force. Colonization of Mars will happen in our lifetime. New types of social contracts with our fellow man are coming into play right now. Science Fiction and Fantasy both help us see new ideas concerning society. You can learn a new way to view social interaction from a fantasy novel about alien races. This increases empathy as well. Non-Fiction iterates what we already know exists. We need new myths so we can adapt as a species.3. To understand truths metaphorically. Myths and Fantasy are great lies that tell truth. If you have time today read this introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Leguin. Quote “In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we’re done with it, we may find – if it’s a good novel – that we’re a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have been changed a little, as if by having met a new face, crossed a street we never crossed before. But it’s very hard to say just what we learned, how we wer

Source: Why You Should Read Science Fiction and Fantasy


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