Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why Fantasy Holds The World Spellbound

Fantasy has a come long way and deserves the worldwide acclaim it seems to have accomplished. Burrowing its roots deep into the fabric of fairytales, myths and legends, the genre has exploded into mainstream literature and film and garnered worldwide appeal among fans from diverse walks of life.

It's likely no other genre or subgenre (since fantasy is by right a sub of a larger genre called speculative fiction) has even come close to attaining fantasy's level of success. A genre which has garnered fans from people encompassing all age groups.

What's more amazing is the genre's ability to stimulate interest across a multicultural threshold and sustain an appeal that stretches beyond and even obliterates the generational borderline. The generation in question transcends age to gender to time and space.

One assumes this level of achievement is possible largely on the basis that fantasy usually creates its own world and its own setting which somehow makes its plots not dated. The idea of a fantasy world gives the genre an edge. Although, we exist in a constantly evolving universe the plots of fantasy stories are allowed to maintain their original state and are controlled by their own peculiar (magical) laws.

Fantasy as a form of literature can be compared to the hip hop genre of pop music. In recent time, the music genre has pretty much infiltrated the camp of every other form of music. Today, there's hip hop gospel, hip hop soul, hip hop jazz, hip hop reggae, hip hop dancehall, hip hop whatever (that's not any type of music I know of). There's even a blend of hip hop called Naija hip hop-which is a fusion of Nigerian indigenous music with elements of hip hop.  Fantasy takes every other genre in its stride. Take a look at some of the subgenres spurned from this fantastical art.

Fantasy Subgenres:
By ThemeComic fantasyDark fantasyContemporary fantasyHeroic fantasyMagic realismFantasy of mannersMythicParanormal fantasySuperhero fantasySword and sorcery; 
By setting: Epic/High fantasyLow fantasyHard fantasyHistorical fantasyPrehistoric fantasy, Medieval fantasyWuxiaUrban fantasyParanormal romance; 
And by extension, Science fantasyJuvenile fantasyRomantic fantasy.
Courtesy: Wikipedia 

One would suppose a form of storytelling with themes and basic elements which are offshoot of folktales and myths should have such impact on both the worlds of film and literature. I mean its like growing up with MJ. You came into this world (If you're like me) to witness young MJ as a superstar, you grew up with MJ still doing his thing and wham! you're on your own footing the bills and MJ (who is not so young anymore) is still THERE doing his thing. I mean, he's gone now but you do get the picture, do you not? You don't expect an artist born yesterday to take the floor from an icon attached to your earliest memory of music.

Fantasy fiction is a little bit like that. A lot of grown ups bought Disney's Cinderella on the pretext it was for the kids (yeah, the kids, right). But deep within us all was a secret longing to see just how close to papa's description of Cinderella Disney's version really was. The basic ingredients of the fairytale: heroic children, ladies-in-distress, mythic creatures like dragons and the like, also make up the plots of tales of the fantastical. Plus, fantasy stories like the Arabian lit, A Thousand and One Nights guarantee that the genre will always have that multicultural appeal.

Fantasy has been around for quite awhile and without any doubt, is one of the first form of literature. The genre's constant rising popularity is a pointer that fantasy will forever have this world under its spell.
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