I would normally put this note into my sketchbook, but I seem to be without it today. So, my thoughts are pointed here today. While fetching my lunch today, I was reflecting on my reading preferences–specifically the types of books that I pick up. I’m embarrassed to admit it is predominately high fantasy and science fiction. I’m believe the embarrassment stems from the stereotypes of the genre’s audience—nerd with completion issues that seek shelter in basements while they while they play D&D and computer games. I know I only partially fit the stereotype, but to admit it causes a knee-jerk reaction from my stomach and my head to head to hang in shame. Nevertheless, I continued my analysis to find realize that it is not the escapism often portrayed in these titles that attracts me, but the world building. Just as in archaeology, the speculation of human reaction to problems and events with tools different than those in my environment. The allure then becomes building upon those unique tools to construct a whole economy, culture, and technology based on that. Historical fiction has many of the same elements, but the genre is limited as it does not have the same flexibility afforded to authors allowed to apply the mystical, fantastical, or the unrealized. Because of that, I feel the historical fiction genre is stymied and predictable compared to fantasy and science fiction. The human experience on our world is very relatable. The speculation into the unknown is why the world buildings is so attractive. I admit, such speculation is available for authors interpreting characters in fiction and even available to authors recording fact; however, the world building element is already constructed. The world exists—the only tool the author is given here is relationships and events. Is it possible that fiction writers lack the creativity to imagine beyond the current human experience?

Perhaps the fantastical is a crutch for weaker writers to use to create new works as they cannot creatively explore our world. It could be that science fiction and fantasy is the escape from mundane life that the stereotype portrays. Or is it the fiction writers that cannot see beyond our world and cannot imagine and create beyond what history has recorded—is the fantastical element a crutch or inspiration of creativity? I believe the answer to that is one’s personal opinion. Good and bad writers are published in all genres, it is up to us to find and endorse the good ones and then relate the elements that make the work enjoyable so other readers can understand and appreciate those titles too.