I’ve just returned from four days at the the World Fantasy Conference 2012 with my head full of stories, ideas and full-blown debates.
Like how to make real silver bullets (learn how on the site of author Patricia Briggs), just in case you come across a werewolf.
How the windigo – a mythical cannibalistic spirit – is seen as a metaphor for the capitalist consumption of Native resources on today’s reserves.
And how the popular plot line of “romancing the monster” in fantasy literature – for example, in the Twilight series – can represent our desire to believe that people are capable of change.
It may be stating the obvious, but writing fantasy literature is not really about the wonderful imaginary worlds and their creatures that we enjoy reading about. Because authors are of this world, inevitably when we write, we’re commenting on the reality in which we live every day.
One panelist at the conference commented that, “Writing fantasy brings me closer to reality.” So an examination of the monsters we write about can show us the monstrous side of humanity. The dark horror of a gothic novel comments on the mood of despair, decay and disease we may find ourselves in.
I like to write both gritty realistic fiction as well as speculative fiction. But no matter which one I’m writing, it’s always a reflection of the world that I see around me.