We learn young that fairies are a flighty lot. Some stories present them as capricious, others depict the malice that lies in some fey. As a reminder to writer-me, I keep on my desk a marble plaque that reads: Don't Piss Off the Fairies. I mean, I have enough work to envision a story, write it well and find someone who wants to publish it, without fairies pulling my hair or worse.
Why these photos? Because when I shot them, getting down low into grass and flowers and dew, I thought of fairies. They reside in the hidden places, in the mysterious realms of our minds.
Without imagination people would eat, sleep, procreate and that would be it. No art. No stories. No music.
For me, speculative fiction is the ultimate delight. It's not that I don't love a gorgeous piece of literary fiction or admire a gritty reality story from time-to-time, but my greatest reading pleasure is found in fantasy, science fiction, dystopian and magical realism. Let me step out of this world into another where the dragons or demons or Terminators are terrifying but can be outwitted.
Sometimes the weight of our world with it's financial crashes, corporate crime, man-made ecological disasters, genocides and more can be too depressing to read about yet again in the news, let alone a novel. I think the draw of spec fiction is those same topics can be there but in alien format so we are eager to fight them with the protagonist. I think that's why fairy tales and other fantasy forms of writing, even allegory, have worked for so long. We step outside our own problems, anxiety and fear. And with the characters we find ways to cope, we conquer the unknown. It's a psychological tool presented in a fun package, if you will.
Do you think this is true? Do you read/write spec fiction and why?