I’ve never been a great fan of fantasy fiction. I don’t like its expedience or its lack of boundaries – the way that rules can be endlessly changed to suit the author’s creative intent. It’s too geeky for me, too concerned with form rather than content, too preoccupied with creating a world and establishing the conventions that go with it to get to the heart of the characters – I think it’s often difficult even to find their pulse. For me, the magic is too overt – I prefer something a little more nuanced.
I think I might be with Oscar Wilde on this one. He once said, “The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible,” and I think he’s right, it’s the ordinary everyday mysteries of human behaviour that lend themselves so well to fiction and make the vital process of identification between the reader and the protagonist much easier to achieve. I know that all fiction is fantasy in one way or another, but some of it is too fantastical and anything overly esoteric just doesn’t cut the mustard with me.
Which genres do you particularly hate – or admire?