Posted in Guest Post

What I Learned from Reading Fantasy

By Anne Cordwainer

Terry Pratchett once said that fantasy is like an exercise
bicycle. It may not get us anywhere, but it tones up the
muscles which can.


Here are some things I’ve learned from reading fantasy:

1. Any organization with a name like the High Council, the
Council of Elders, etc., is made of useless. Don’t even
bother with them.

2. If someone informs me that I am the Chosen One, I should ask what the job entails. If there’s a great deal of
hardship and danger, I might as well start training so I
can get it over with. On the other hand, if it involves
a lot of pampering, I should probably start thinking
about my last will and testament.

3. If someone informs me that I am absolutely and definitely not the Chosen One, I am. Nobody ever gets told that unless they have some kind of epic destiny.

4. If a member of some scorned group–beggars, madwomen, a low social caste–keeps popping up for no apparent reason, I should make every effort to be kind to that person. He or she is either royalty in disguise or something even bigger.

5. Anyone with irresistible sex appeal is probably a
vampire. Or worse.

Nyuk nyuk. Take that, Terry.

On the other hand . . . .

1. When an emergency calls for immediate action outside of the usual scope of government, government often isn’t the quickest way to address the problem.

2. If I’m stuck with a tough job, it’s more effective to
begin it than to complain about it. And if something
sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. If someone tells me I’m nothing, why should I believe
that person over someone who tells me I’m wonderful? Or over my own self-evaluation? I’ll create my own
“destiny,” thank you.

4. If I dismiss someone utterly because his hair isn’t
combed, because she smokes, because he carries a Bible,
because she’s overweight, then I’m dismissing an entire
human being based on a single characteristic. That’s not
only wrong; it’s dumb. An astonishing number of
successful and wealthy adults were high school outcasts,
and some of them still look the part.

5. If someone shows me beauty, charm, and charisma, but
never lets me see the human being inside, caution is
wise. When my judgment is clouded by an appealing
facade, that’s when I should rely on reason the most.
That person may or may not have a good heart under the
charming exterior–the charm neither guarantees it nor
rules it out.

Gee. It sounds a lot more sensible in real-world terms.

Thank you, Mr. Pratchett.

The Interview with Anne is up!!


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