I recently read a review of a fantasy book I enjoyed. This review, however, came from someone who didn’t quite enjoy the book as much as I did, and their review included many complaints about the story. No way do I think that everyone should like the books I like, but one of this person’s issues caught my attention.
The review’s writer was annoyed that the book’s tech level was reminiscent of both Medieval and more industrial revolution-type stuff. Upon reading this, I deduced one of two things about this reader. Either they just wanted something else bad to say about the book, or they are unaware of one of the biggest characteristics of the fantasy genre.
Fantasy is just that, fantasy. It is fake, fantastic, imaginary, fictional, pretend. Epic fantasy in particular is whatever the author wants it to be. The world can function however the author wants it to. Magic can have whatever powers and impact the author wants. Seasons can happen (or not happen) in whatever order (or no order) the author wants. Technology can exist in whatever mode the author wants. The beauty of fantasy is that it does not need to follow the rules of the real world, thus a world that includes tech from various parts of Earth’s history is totally acceptable.
There you have it—something about fantasy. Something important to boot. I’ve talked to people who hold the belief that all fantasy worlds are “just earth with different place names and some magic thrown in.” My urge upon hearing this opinion is to pat those people on the head and tell them “it’ll be all right, child.”
Thanks for reading.
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