Read On! Hope in Speculative Fiction

Speculative fiction genres – fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc. – are my preferred areas of reading. Recently, I read a quote from Neil Gaiman (a personal favorite) that helped me understand why I’m drawn to these stories. He said, “a world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels, and dreams, and a world in which there is hope.”

Much of what I read and watch in these genres include a heavy dose of hope mixed in with strange worlds, magic, terror, and fantastical creatures.

Fantasy books, movies, and video games tend to present a story where a seemingly ordinary person must save the world from an unfathomably dark and powerful evil. Many times victory depends on a journey and a gathering of friends who offer their support and skills to the hero’s task. Discovering hidden strengths, forming lasting bonds, and overcoming evil are all hopeful themes for me.

Science fiction works are similarly built, but there’s more technology and a lot more traveling through space (and sometimes time). Many times, the hope I find in these are themes that affirm Life isn’t the same for everyone (and that’s okay); we are all truly connected; the universe is vast and wonderful, but all species we encounter are basically like us in their core.

The hope in horror is both in the survival of the main character and the comfort of feeling afraid while I am in a safe, controlled environment. It’s like the thrill of a roller coaster. You’re convinced that Death is waiting for you at the bottom of that hill or that this will be the time the cars detach from the rails, but you also know you’re perfectly safe along the ride.

It may be that I find hope in these genres because I’m looking for it, but I don’t think I’m alone.

Speak Your Mind