Erin Bow

  • Oct. 28th, 2013 at 11:20 PM
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Fantasy elevates ordinary and eternal problems of youth into stories via the language of myth. It turns “No one really knows me” into “I’ve got a secret identity.” It turns “I don’t understand why other people act the way they do” into “I’m trapped in a faerie realm.” It turns “my high school must have been built over the mouth of hell” into “my high school must have been built over the mouth of hell.”

...There are certain things in life that are glorious, and they are glorious for everyone. There are more that are hard, and they are hard for everyone. We like to see these things retold, but with dragons.

Neil Gaiman

  • May. 13th, 2013 at 11:18 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: open book rose)
I like to imagine things... It's the power of concretizing a metaphor. Taking something and making it real and making it happen and seeing where it goes. It's a special kind of magic.

China Mieville

  • Apr. 14th, 2013 at 6:54 PM
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I refuse to play the wink-wink-nudge-nudge game with readers. I don’t like whimsy because it doesn’t treat the fantastic seriously, and treating the fantastic seriously is one of the best ways of celebrating dialectical human consciousness there is... The best fantasies—which include SF and horror—are constructed with a careful dialectic between conscious and subconscious.

Lloyd Alexander

  • Mar. 28th, 2013 at 9:05 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: open book rose)
[But] the adventure should hold something beyond the fairy-tale elements... The nature of fantasy allows happenings which reveal most clearly our own frailties and our own strengths. The inhabitants of Prydain are fantasy figures; I hope they are also very human.

Philip Pullman

  • Dec. 3rd, 2012 at 10:28 PM
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Allegory has to rely on a precise one-to-one relationship between story-element and meaning. A novel is more democratic: the meaning is not dictated or determined by the author, but is something that emerges in the space between the story and the reader's mind. Myth is a different matter. C.S. Lewis would say that a myth is a story that has the same force, the same effect, the same meaning, in whichever form we encounter it: it's independent of its telling. Again, a novel is something slightly different. A novel might tell a mythical story, but it would not need to be mythical in order to be a novel.

Ursula K. le Guin

  • Nov. 21st, 2012 at 11:57 PM
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It is by such statements as "Once upon a time there was a dragon," or "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" - it is by such beautiful non-facts that we fantastic human beings may arrive, in our peculiar fashion, at the truth.

Ursula K. le Guin

  • Sep. 7th, 2012 at 6:44 PM
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...In fantasy, there is nothing but the writer's vision of the world. There is no borrowed reality of history, or current events... no comfortable matrix of the commonplace to substitute for the imagination, to provide ready-made emotional response, and to disguise flaws and failures of creation. There is only a construct built in a void, with every joint and seam and nail exposed... A world where no voice has ever spoken before; where the act of speech is the act of creation.

E. Nesbit

  • Aug. 31st, 2012 at 5:10 PM
beth_shulman: (book: wizard heir)
When you are young so many things are difficult to believe, and yet the dullest people will tell you that they are true – such things, for instance, as that the earth goes around the sun, and that it is not flat but round.  But the things that seem really likely, like fairy tales and magic are, so say the grown-ups, not true at all.  Yet they are so easy to believe, especially when you see them happening.  And, as I am always telling you, the most wonderful things happen to all sorts of people, only you never hear about them because the people think that no one will believe their stories...

The Enchanted Castle

Ursula K. le Guin

  • Jul. 18th, 2012 at 9:31 PM
beth_shulman: (book: wizard heir)
Not being Shakespeare, some of us writers have to get to the heart of the matter by strange roads and roundabout ways. And to some of us, the disciplined use of the imagination is at the heart of the matter already.

Madeleine L'Engle

  • Jul. 4th, 2012 at 10:13 PM
beth_shulman: (book: wizard heir)
During the fifties, Erich Fromm published a book called The Forgotten Language, in which he said that the only universal language which breaks across barriers of race, culture, time, is the language of fairy tale, fantasy, myth, parable, and that is why the same stories have been around in one form or another for hundreds of years.

Someone said, "It's all been done before."

Yes, I agreed, but we all have to say it in our own voice.

Ray Bradbury

  • Jun. 6th, 2012 at 6:35 PM
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The ability to "fantasize" is the ability to survive.

Susan Cooper

  • May. 30th, 2012 at 7:23 PM
beth_shulman: (book: wizard heir)
I have been attempting definitions, but I am never really comfortable when writing about "fantasy". The label is so limiting. It seems to me that every work of art is a fantasy, every book or play, painting or piece of music, everything that is made, by craft and talent, out of somebody's imagination. We have all dreamed, and recorded our dreams as best as we could.

Ursula K. le Guin

  • Apr. 17th, 2012 at 12:18 AM
beth_shulman: (book: wizard heir)
We who hobnob with hobbits and tell tall tales about little green men are quite used to being dismissed as mere entertainers, or sternly disapproved of as escapists. But I think... sophisticated readers are accepting the fact that an improbable and unmanageable world is going to produce an improbable and hypothetical art. At this point, realism is perhaps the least adequate means of understanding or portraying the incredible realities of our existence.

Ursula K. le Guin

  • Feb. 5th, 2012 at 9:05 PM
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Writers who draw not upon the words and thoughts of others but upon their own throughts and their own deep being will inevitably hit upon common material. The more original the work, the more imperiously recognizable it will be... A dragon, not a dragon cleverly copied or mass-produced, but a creature of evil who crawls up, threatening and inexplicable, out of the artist's own unconscious, is alive: terribly alive. It frightens little children, and the artist, and the rest of us. It frightens us because it is a part of us, and the artist forces us to admit it.

(The Language of the Night)

Terry Pratchett

  • Jul. 3rd, 2011 at 11:24 PM
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Imagination, not intelligence, made us human.

Neil Gaiman

  • Jun. 19th, 2011 at 2:07 AM
beth_shulman: (book: wizard heir)

I thought I’d talk about authors, and about three authors in particular, and the circumstances in which I met them.

There are authors with whom one has a personal relationship and authors with whom one does not. There are the ones who change your life and the ones who don’t. That’s just the way of it.

I was six years old when I saw an episode of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe in black and white on television at my grandmother’s house in Portsmouth... I went home to Sussex and saved my meagre pocket money until I was able to buy a copy of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe of my own. I read it, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the other book I could find, over and over, and when my seventh birthday arrived I had dropped enough hints that my birthday present was a boxed set of the complete Narnia books. And I remember what I did on my seventh birthday — I lay on my bed and I read the books all through, from the first to the last.

For the next four or five years I continued to read them. I would read other books, of course, but in my heart I knew that I read them only because there wasn’t an infinite number of Narnia books to read.

For good or ill the religious allegory, such as it was, went entirely over my head, and it was not until I was about twelve that I found myself realising that there were Certain Parallels. Most people get it at the Stone Table; I got it when it suddenly occurred to me that the story of the events that occurred to Saint Paul on the road to Damascus was the dragoning of Eustace Scrubb all over again. I was personally offended: I felt that an author, whom I had trusted, had had a hidden agenda. I had nothing against religion, or religion in fiction — I had bought (in the school bookshop) and loved The Screwtape Letters, and was already dedicated to G.K. Chesterton. My upset was, I think, that it made less of Narnia for me, it made it less interesting a thing, less interesting a place. Still, the lessons of Narnia sank deep...

C.S. Lewis was the first person to make me want to be a writer. He made me aware of the writer, that there was someone standing behind the words, that there was someone telling the story. I fell in love with the way he used parentheses — the auctorial asides that were both wise and chatty, and I rejoiced in using such brackets in my own essays and compositions through the rest of my childhood.

I think, perhaps, the genius of Lewis was that he made a world that was more real to me than the one I lived in; and if authors got to write the tales of Narnia, then I wanted to be an author.

If there is a wrong way to find Tolkein, I found Tolkein entirely the wrong way. )

J. R. R. Tolkien

  • Jun. 7th, 2011 at 6:42 PM
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Children are capable, of course, of literary belief, when the story-maker's art is good enough to produce it. That state of mind has been called "willing suspension of disbelief." But this does not seem to me a good description of what happens. What really happens is that the story-maker proves a successful "subcreator". He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is "true": it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arrives, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed. You are then out in the Primary World again, looking at the little abortive Secondary World from outside. If you are obliged, by kindliness or circumstance, to stay, then disbelief must be suspended (or stifled), otherwise listening and looking would become intolerable. But this suspension of disbelief is a substitute for the genuine thing, a subterfuge we use when condescending to games or make-believe, or when trying (more or less willingly) to find what virtue we can in the work of an art that has for us failed. (On Fairy-Stories)

G. K. Chesterton

  • Jun. 5th, 2011 at 1:30 PM
beth_shulman: (book: wizard heir)
Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.

Lloyd Alexander

  • May. 29th, 2011 at 11:19 PM
beth_shulman: (book: wizard heir)
Fantasy's hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.
beth_shulman: (book: wizard heir)
Despite his faults, Taran, hero and Assistant Pig-Keeper in The High King, somehow manages to find enough courage and wisdom to go through the most difficult and perilous ordeals. In an equally difficult and perilous undertaking, whether his author will manage to do the same is open to serious question. For a man who has loved the English language and tried to serve it well, at this point I can only ask: Where is it when I really need it?

...Beginnings are always frightening - for a child at the first day of school, for an author at page one of a manuscript. Beginnings are signs of life and a chance for growth. The actively creative garden is plagued with its own crab grass of anxieties, doubts, and difficulties. But, as handsome as laurels may be, they are uncomfortable to rest on.

I'm speaking in terms of beginnings instead of endings for this reason )

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