A Journey into Fantasyland

A Voyage to Arcturus Book CoverI am currently in my last semester of studying English Literature and have only my thesis left to write. Luckily, I got to choose my topic, and I decided to research fantasy literature. More specifically, I’m looking at the power structures and ideas about authority in different novels. To get really into the topic, I thought it would first make sense to read a couple of Fantasy classics. To solidify my knowledge of the genre, so to speak. As I read, I am occasionally going to blog about the different novels I’ve read – I want to preserve that fresh impression you get when you first put down a book.

My first two choices are rather on the fuzzy borderline between fantasy and science fiction. I won’t bother trying to distinguish the two properly, since knowing that a book is more science fiction than fantasy or vice versa won’t make my analysis better or improve my reading. Suffice it to say that one of the central elements in fantasy is metaphor or allegory: something usually happens in a fantastic environment that metaphorically relates to me as a non-fantastic human being. Science fiction can work exactly like that, but I would define a more direct approach as the main difference: A SciFi novel shows me not a metaphor but a sufficiently “real” technological development and the ethical concerns attached to it. That is as far as I will go in talking about this difference. I needed to, however, since the first two novels I looked at are both rather “spacey”. Continue reading